Giving Up a Smartwatch Made Me Feel Free!

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!

Giving Up a Smartwatch Made Me Feel Free!

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!

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About the Author

Zek has been a gadget fiend for a long time, going back to their first PDA (a Palm M100). They quickly went from researching what PDA to buy to following tech news closely and keeping up with the latest and greatest stuff. They love writing about ebooks because they combine their two favorite activities; reading anything and everything, and talking about fun new tech toys. What could be better?

2 Comments on "Giving Up a Smartwatch Made Me Feel Free!"

  1. Absolutely LOVE this! The line “Adding ANOTHER buzzing device doesn’t actually make me more efficient” really sums it all up for me!

    I had a Garmin VivoSmart and then a VivoActive – each with smartwatch capabilities. The VivoSmart would buzz and give a one-line snippet that would send you off to look at your phone, whereas the VivoActive has a larger screen and you get much more information and the ability to interact (but not reply).

    Since my phone was never more than ~3 feet from the watch, it really was just yet another thing to bug me.

    AND – because it was on my wrist it was right there and SO easy to look at. Definitely felt rude by looking at it – with my phone I have different tones / buzz patterns for notifications so I know if I need to look or can just ignore (which is honestly >90% of the time). With the watch I would ALWAYS look.

    Good riddance.

  2. I’ve placed my Apple Watch on the shelf, and I’m going back and forth between the Withing’s Activité and my old trusty dumbwatch. I like being able to count my steps and quantify my sleep, but I’ve decided that’s all I want my watch to do for me.

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