For the majority of people, their smartphone has become an external appendage. They wake up, check their phone. They leave somewhere, they take their phone. Before going to sleep, they check their phone.
I’m no different. My iPhone is a bottomless vortex of entertainment, knowledge, and connection. Billions of dollars have been made off of smartphones and the apps that are contained within them, with each app, engineered and optimized to be “sticky”. Stickiness that can naturally lead to an unhealthy addiction.
Tristan Harris recognized and documented this issue in his great Netflix documentary The Social Dilemma. In order for companies to improve their engagement metrics, they end up hiring armies of PhDs to make their apps as addictive as possible. As a result, through various design decisions, we feel an insatiable pull towards our phones. Color, notifications, app design, all of this is rigorously tested to ensure the app keeps users hooked.
Recently I’ve started relying more on my Apple Watch and ditching my iPhone at home. With the watch, you don’t feel the same pull to consume because naturally the screen is much smaller and the device isn’t set up for mindless scrolling. Instead, you can interact with the watch in a much more mindful way. Below are three ways that I use my Apple Watch to have a more conscious relationship with technology.
When I go to the gym, I want to work out - not be distracted by a text thread or the temptation to mindlessly scroll in between workout sets. My personal setup is to use a pair of AirPods pros with Apple Music and track my workouts using the Stronglifts app. Both apps can run independently on your watch and don’t require a nearby iPhone.
Every day I try to walk 10,000 steps. While walking, I enjoy listening to either podcasts or an audiobook, which in both cases can be synced to your watch so you can take a leisurely stroll while enjoying some engaging audio content.
With Apple Pay enabled on your watch, and many stores now accepting it, you can safely leave both your wallet and your phone at home whenever you go to pick up groceries or a cup of coffee.