I’ll start by stating that I still have my Apple Watch, and I still enjoy wearing it.
With that said, I stopped wearing it about 90% of the time.
Why I originally got the Apple Watch
When it first came out, I needed to have it. Partly because it was the new gadget from Apple (which by default makes me want it). But I also saw a lot of practicality to it. It’s a fitness tracker, it provides alerts when paired with your phone, it can track your sleep, it can save your life, and something else… oh, yeah — it’s an accurate and capable means of knowing what time of day it is.
It lived up to all of those expectations — it did those things, and did them well!
But it also came with some side effects and downsides, like:
Phantom Notifications — These are real. When you *feel* your watch buzz, and look at it only to realize there are no new notifications. After a couple years of being duped by my own brain, I started to realized that these phantom notifications may actually be early warning signs that my relationship with my watch may have been becoming unhealthy. Think about it. My brain was looking forward to notifications SO MUCH that it was literally tricking me into thinking I felt a physical vibration on my wrist. That’s messed up! (P.S. It also happens with my phone, but we’ll get into that later)
People Thought I Had to Go *All the time* — Speaking of notifications… Checking a notification on your watch looks — to an outside observer — that you are concerned about the time, and need to be somewhere else. This is a huge conversation disrupter! And because it becomes an unconscious reaction to look at your wrist the second you feel a buzz, this is a very difficult habit to break. Again, unhealthy relationship with a piece of tech. For anyone who caught me looking at my Apple Watch during a conversation, I wasn’t checking the time — chances are, an Instagram account probably just shared a new hilarious video of a Monkey and a Dog running round on a beach.
It was kind of annoying, and a bunch of extra effort — When I was convincing myself to buy my first Apple Watch, I convinced myself that it would be no problem at all to simply plug it in every day. Yeah, it only lasts for *about* 1 day, and has to charge for 1-2 hours (HOURS) to stay powered up for that amount of time. So, I could plug it in while I slept (but then I couldn’t track my sleep), or while I showered, or while I was sitting at my desk. Sure, any of those things could work — and most of the time they did. But it was always additional mental weight. As in, I had to use my brain to consciously keep track of this wrist accessory’s charge status. I realize this seems like a very small thing — and it is. But small things often add up over time (The first layer of the hoarder’s vintage newspapers is not the problem — but the habit of stacking them up is what causes issues). Getting rid of this ‘mental weight’ is basically the equivalent of throwing away newspapers after you’ve read them. It doesn’t seem like a big deal — until it is.
Speaking of which, a dead Apple Watch a can severely alter your day — If you’re workout isn’t tracked and documented, does it actually count? If you can’t track your sleep, how will you know how refreshed you are in the morning? Is it even worth wearing if you have to put your watch in power save mode and can — gasp — only use it for telling time? This may say more about me than about the watch itself (which can be said about this whole article, really), but I have skipped workouts after realizing my Apple Watch was dead. Why would I bother? It wouldn’t be counted in MyFitnessPal, and therefore, I wouldn’t get “credit” for it. Worst of all, my friends wouldn’t be alerted when I finished my workout. What possible benefit would I have gotten without it? Even if I go through with a workout sans Apple Watch (like a fricken caveman), it’s not the same. I get actual anxiety about it, and I know my workouts are not the same.
It gets kind of boring — I don’t have a super wide range when it comes to fashion. Typically my business casual outfits are a rotation of 4-5 outfits, and on the weekends, I’m a jeans and T-shirt wearer. But there’s something about being “forced” to wear a particular accessory everyday that kind of irks me. Even if I didn’t *want* to wear my Apple Watch, I felt like I had to — to avoid a whole day’s gap in my chain of biometric data (How would I know what my average heart rate was during that business meeting?!). So I wore it every day. Missing out on a whole world of Timex’s and Casio’s (actual depiction of my current watch budget).
So when do I wear it?
I like it for 3 things:
1. Working out
3. Rotating in as a casual watch
After I break my dependence on NEEDING it to work out, the Apple Watch can still serve as a valuable tool for tracking workouts. Just like a Fitbit, Garmin, or other fitness tracker, it can be a fun and useful way to quantify my activity. The difference is that I will be working on breaking the cycle of anxiety and dependence about working out without it.
Just like working out, it’s interesting to see data from sleep sessions. Especially when you’re having troubles sleeping, or are feeling exhausted during the day, this is a good way to collect some data for further understanding what’s going on at night! But again — you don’t need to wear it EVERY NIGHT.
Rotating in as a casual watch
It’s still a watch. It’s durable, waterproof, and can be customized with a watchface that fits your style/personality. That makes it a solid watch that can be worn without the weird technical dependency that comes with wearing it every day. I’ll usually wear it on the weekends, or when I’m running errands, or if it’s rainy (or I plan on swimming).
It’s not a bad device — it’s the dependency that’s the problem.
I stopped wearing it in order to break my dependence and to relieve some mental weight — not because it’s a terrible device or a life ruiner. I still like it, and will probably never not have a smart watch. But given everything I’ve mentioned so far, I never see a smart watch becoming part of a ‘uniform’, or a mandatory accessory for daily use.