A little over a year ago I bought a smartwatch. I’d wanted one a while, and when Pebble announced their Round I jumped on it. I wasn’t really sure what I expected from a smartwatch. I figured maybe I’d know when my phone rang (and I do), or that I’d use it to control my SmartThings (do that too). But I know I didn’t expect it to change my behavior so much.
Breaking the Technology Loop
I used to look at my phone frequently. It’d buzz, and I’d see why. And while I had it out I’d check Facebook, Twitter, Reddit, and so on. Basically, I’d get sucked into a technology loop. But with my Pebble, I get the vibration on my wrist, check the message, respond if I choose, dismiss the alert, and go on with my day. I don’t have to take my phone out of my pocket, and I don’t check all kinds of other stuff just because I’m looking at a screen.
That’s only part of my technology loop avoidance though. When I started getting alerts for my apps on my wrist, instead of on my phone, I started to realize how annoying some of them could be. And how much I didn’t need them. I started turning off notifications for my apps. It made me prioritize what I actually cared about enough to get on my wrist.
The other behavioral change is movement. I was never under any delusion I was an active person. But I really had no idea how inactive I was. I was getting 5,000-6,000 steps in a day. At this moment, my 30 day average is 10,600 steps a day. Am I losing weight or anything? No. It’s not enough movement to see that kind of change. I do feel a lot better though, and I don’t feel so stiff in the mornings. So that’s a big improvement.
The Pebble Round, which has fewer apps than its traditional counterpart, is pretty much the most basic smartwatch you can get before it’s considered a fitness tracker. And even with its limited functionality, I can say it’s made some positive changes in my day-to-day routine. And I’d have to think this would apply to any other smartwatch as well.
Update: Sadly, the Pebble is no more.