My wife recently challenged me to turn off my smartwatch. Instead of letting me discreetly stay connected, I was constantly reacting every time it buzzed, even if I didn’t check my phone. It was interrupting dinner, playtime with my son, and distracting me during meetings. Surprisingly, I’m not the only Gear Diary person who has disconnected from their smartwatch!
Even before Sarah threw down the challenge, I was starting to consider disconnecting my Pebble. It’s a fine idea if you need to discretely see notifications all day long, but I work in front of a computer, an iPad, and my Nexus 6. Adding ANOTHER buzzing device doesn’t actually make me more efficient. Meanwhile, when I am home, I’m either available to look at my phone, or I’m unable to act on any notifications because I’m playing with my son, cooking dinner, etc. So aside from giving me a quick heads up about the notification I’ll be seeing in a few minutes anyway, the Pebble wasn’t adding anything for me.
On some level, I think I liked having the Pebble constantly notifying me because it magnified the importance of EVERYTHING. Traffic on the way home? Yes, of course, I need that an hour and a half before I leave work. Someone on Gear Diary posted in Slack? I must read this right away! Facebook, text messages, news alerts, suddenly everything seems so much more important if it’s passing through the gatekeeper on my wrist. But that also makes things stressful, because I feel the need to check as soon as that familiar vibration starts, and it wasn’t healthy. The only reason I could even justify the Pebble at this point is for the silent alarm feature, but I could probably just wear it at night for the discreet alarms. In fact, the alarm feature functions independent of any connection to my phone, so this gives the Pebble a whole new, less intrusive purpose!
I asked the Gear Diary team if they had experienced similar reactions to smartwatches, and a few of us did. Judie said she stopped using her Apple Watch because she felt rude constantly checking the notifications, and Dan said he hasn’t missed his Apple Watch while moving between a regular wristwatch and his Withings Activité Pop (which tracks steps but has no smartphone notifications). Perry and Greg are still using their Apple Watches, and Travis is still rocking his Pebble. We will have to see in a few months if this “smartwatch detox” sticks for those of us who gave them up, and whether anyone is still using their smartwatch of choice in the future.
One side effect of the Pebble was that it did make me miss wearing a watch. After Snowmageddon clears out of New Jersey, I’ll get the batteries replaced in the watches I left behind for more technologically advanced pastures. And if anyone has any favorite watch styles, share some thoughts in the comments! One thing is for sure: it’s a lot more peaceful on my wrist, and I like it that way!
Have you found yourself jumping off the smartwatch bandwagon? Share your thoughts below!