Don't Jump

My Problem With Smartwatches

January 25, 2020 | 2 Minute Read

I got an Apple Watch to monitor my health; notifications got in the way.

I’ve had an Apple Watch for a little while now. I got it mostly to help me monitor my health and send some of that information to my medical aid as part of their rewards program. The more I move, the more points I get, the more benefits I enjoy.

Seemed like a great idea, I love gadgets and a smartwatch that lets me auto-login to my MacBook, tell me how well I’m sleeping, how my heart is doing, how many steps I take; you get the point; seems like a great idea. Let’s not forget all those juicy points from my medical aid.

It had the reverse effect, I started getting frustrated with all the buzzing on my wrist. Did something happen on Twitter? Buzz! Did someone send me an email? Buzz! Some text message spam? Buzz! Incessant interruptions that I could not ignore. I’d be in meetings and the cry for attention would buzz on my arm and I’d naturally look, others in the meeting would ask if I needed to be somewhere as though I was checking the time. How much longer is this boring meeting going to go on for sort of thing!

The Solution

So I did not just stop using my watch, instead, I decided to just cut out the noise. On the Watch app on the iPhone, you can simply turn notifications off, either completely or select the apps you want to allow to grab your attention.

Initially, it felt extremely strange, instead of looking at my watch for why I was being buzzed, I was not looking at it for why it was not buzzing anymore. Is my watch dead? No, just less needy for attention. It’s been a week now and it’s amazing, I can sit through a meeting without distraction, continue to code without being torn away.

So as much as I wanted to use the device to help improve my health, the notifications got in the way. I found I ignored the “important” ones in all the noise of the rest.

I highly recommend carefully choosing what you allow to take your time and attention.