Business Problems and Solutions

Is the Apple Watch Worth it? Thoughts from a Former Skeptic

Is Apple’s watch worth it? Yes.

I use it to track my habits and exercise and when to give my cat and dog their pills. The timer reminds me to switch off the garden sprinkler or hang out the laundry, and the little red notification dot – or lack thereof – helps me reduce my device time.

I’m at a point where I kinda feel naked without it. Except for showers. Then it just feels weird to wear it, as you’re meant to be in your birthday suit anyway.

Is an Apple Watch Worth It Contents

Why Was I Skeptical?

I already have three progressively smaller devices. They allow me to watch movies, read articles about antique fountain pens, and find DIY recipes for pet friendly weedkiller. I can even learn what the weather is doing outside my window, without having to actually go outside.

Do I need to add a fourth device, with similar functionality, to the mix? Not really.

For most of what the Apple Watch can do, I already have a substitute. I have an old heart rate monitor and a couple of analog watches gathering dust at the back of a drawer, and a bullet journal for daily to-dos and habit tracking.

The final nail in the coffin, the last technophobic driven excuse: I would have to upgrade my phone if I were to get a new watch. My phone – bought second hand and with me for over seven years – still does the trick. As long as I’m no more than 30 minutes from a power supply.

Besides, my phone’s primary use is to be ignored. Especially when someone has the temerity to call me. A more expensive chunk of silicone and glass won’t change that fact.

Why Did I Change My Mind?

A significant shift in lifestyle and a genuine need to be reachable at all times. Or at least between the hours of 7am and 11pm.

My wife drives a lot for work and works late into the night while on call. One particular night, the car broke down in the middle of nowhere and it was 20 minutes before I saw her missed calls. I don’t carry my phone or iPad everywhere I go, so it’s all too easy to miss important calls and messages.

Being notified of an incoming message via a soothing chirp and a fizz on my wrist, rather than having to carry around my phone in my back pocket and worry about forgetting it when I sit down, is very comforting. Not having to set the notification volume to match a transatlantic fog horn is also a big positive.

The crash detection and emergency calling is a neat feature too.

At some point, we’ll try the walkie-talkie feature. But for now, we’ll continue to shout at each other like lunatics through the walls.

The other drive to purchase a watch comes from my new healthy habit of exercising. I’m six months into a consistent streak of working out – something I’ve struggled with the last year or so (correction, the last decade) – and being able to track heart rate, calories, and time spent in sweating, puffing purgatory is appealing.

To turn these ideas and needs into reality, I bought a refurbished Series 8 from Apple. The dollars I saved instead of buying brand new went towards upgrading my phone. My first generation SE being too old to pair with the watch. Now I’m the owner of a brand new third generation SE with a battery that lasts all day. Bliss!

How I Use My Apple Watch

The apps I use the most on my watch are:

  • Reminders
  • Streaks
  • Timers
  • Workouts
  • Activity
  • Calendar
  • Sleep
  • Calculator

My days are more structured now, with repeating reminders and friendly notifications that appear when I close my activity rings. No more missed pet meds, forgotten laundry, or drowning the garden and wasting water because I forgot to turn the sprinkler off.

Positive behaviour changes from having an Apple Watch

My exercising is still tough to do some days, but now I have a purpose and a weird sense of accountability. I don’t want to disappoint my watch by not exercising.

Which brings me to three unexpected benefits.

The Apple Watch has helped me think and act more deliberately

I use the Streaks app to track my habits, whether that’s writing my book, exercising, or not biting my fingernails. The habit of marking these behaviours as complete adds a layer of thoughtfulness to my actions.

For example, as a reward for exercising, I get to push the exercise icon in the Streaks app and hear a happy little ping! When it’s time to exercise, it’s no longer a drag to get going, or wasted time debating with myself about the pros and cons of stepping on to the elliptical. Now, it’s a deliberate thought, “I want to exercise”.

My mind has tricked me into wanting to exercise, to get that tiny rush of dopamine from the completion reward.

My terrible habit of biting my fingernails has also seen a shift. Previous to the watch, the thought about not biting my fingernails would come after the act. Nothing deliberate at all. It was as subconscious and automatic as breathing.

But now, if I bite my nails, I have to push the Streaks icon, which resets the number of days since I last bit my nails, and listen to the sad, disappointed beep.

These days, when I go to bite my nails, I pause for a moment before the satisfying rip, and think, “do I want to push the button and hear the crestfallen chime?”

More often than not, that’s enough for me to lower my fingers from my mouth. Not always, but it’s been a surprising boon.

I check my devices less

The next benefit is a reduced amount of time spent checking my iPad and getting distracted.

No more worries about missed calls or messages. No more checking the device and then feeling guilty about reading the news or searching for that 1912 Waterman pen on eBay. I look at my watch and see if the red notification dot is there or not. No? Then no missed messages or calls. Yes – along with the chirp and fizzy vibration – and there’s a message.

If the watch is quiet, then no-one’s trying to get in touch. And I know no-one’s trying to get in touch, which brings a level of calm and serenity.

This all means I can complete my chores without a guilty break in the middle of them, or fret over important messages that have gone unread.

The Apple Watch allowed me to reduce my digital footprint

The third benefit is a reduction and simplification in the number of apps and services I use.

In my freelance days, I had apps and services galore, but since my shift to working for someone else, I no longer need half of what I installed or subscribed to. And I never got rid of anything, because, well, “you never know…” This is, of course, complete bunkum, codswallop, claptrap, and balderdash. I did know, I just didn’t want to take the effort to remove them.

Setting up my new phone was the perfect reason to unsubscribe and not install the apps and services that had fallen into oblivion over the last year. Like turning over to a fresh, blank page in my notebook.

Fewer apps means fewer syncs and setups. No more wasted time adding an event to my Google calendar, only to edit the event and mess with sync settings and notifications when things don’t work the way you thought they would.

The upshot is fewer apps means more use of Apple’s native apps. The downside is fewer features in some cases, but as my life is simpler than it used to be, it makes sense to have a simpler approach to my digital choices. And I don’t miss the features I’m not using.

It’s like having a wardrobe full of white shirts and dark trousers. It’s easy to know what to wear for work each day, leaving more brain power for the important decisions I need to make. Sure, it might bore some, but for me, I’m putting the right level of energy into the right actions. Like being deliberate with my positive behaviours.

Another way to think of it is, do I need a super-duper, high-powered task management app with projects and powerful filters when all I need is a simple shopping list? And no, I don’t need a fancy task management app and a shopping list app. All I need is one straightforward reminders app.

The and logic only applies to dessert when the choice is between ice cream or whipped cream. In that case, the correct answer is always, “and”.

Final thoughts about whether the Apple Watch is worth it

Thanks to the Apple watch:

  • My days are more organized
  • My digital life is simpler and cheaper
  • My pets get their pills when they need them – very important for their prolonged health and quality of life
  • We no longer run out of bread or milk – a global level crisis when it happens
  • I can see a healthy difference in my heart rate and stamina levels with the data tracking

The watch is both easy to use and fun to use. And when my other devices are just tools for work, or to avoid work through procrastination, it’s refreshing to have a device that helps me smile and enjoy life.

So, yes. The Apple Watch is worth it.

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