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Why I’m No Longer Wearing My Smart Watch

*Disclosure: This post may contain affiliate links. These are at no additional cost to you but I may earn a small commission. I do not add links to any product or service I haven’t personally used.

Chances are that you are one of the 214 million plus users of smart watches. And this number doesn’t seem to be showing any signs of slowing down. But this blog post isn’t about the smart watch industry. If you are interested in learning more, you can read more smart watch statistics here.

No, this blog is about why I decided after five years to stop wearing my smart watch. First let me take you back to when I bought it…

I’d taken up running again after a break of 15 years. I’d been told by a physiotherapist that I would not be able to do high impact exercise due to my coccyx being pushed out of place by falling up some stairs, but that’s a story for another time. I’d joined a local running club and gradually got back to running, slowly building up to 10k runs on a regular basis.

Then I decided to train for my first half-marathon. I had wanted to raise money for a mental health charity having experienced depression and anxiety for much of my life. Running felt like a good way to do this. I gave myself an added motivation. Once the half-marathon was completed I would treat myself to a smart watch so I would no longer need to carry my phone with me when I went running.

I went to the Apple Store on Regent Street in London a week after completing my half-marathon and purchased my smart watch.

After getting the watch, I was relieved that I no longer walked around with my phone in my hand and could leave it in other rooms or in my bag and still get notifications for messages and phone calls. I felt a freedom from constantly being attached to my phone.

This freedom was very short-lived!

Now, don’t get me wrong there are some pretty good uses for smart watches. Monitoring your heart rate. Monitoring the number of steps you take each day. Monitoring the weather. Pretty much anything your phone can do, can also be done by your smart watch.

When I bought my smart watch, my intention had been to use it for recording my runs and monitoring my exercise levels. What quickly happened was that I became addicted to seeing the numbers against the calories I’d used each day, how many steps I’d taken and how many flights of stairs I’d climbed. This addiction was made even worse when my sister-in-law also got a smart watch and we would ‘compete’ virtually to meet our exercise targets each day and week.

But that wasn’t all.

I’d set up notifications on my watch to tell me when I had a message or an email and so my watch was constantly vibrating with announcements. This ended up creating a habit whereby I’d get a notification on my watch and then immediately pick up my phone to take a further look and respond.

Nothing really wrong with that right?

As time when on, every time I picked up my phone to look at the notifications, I then started to scroll on social media. One app at a time. This crept up more and more until I was on my phone for nearly six hours per day. Now, that may not seem like a long time compared to some people, but that was six hours too long for me.

I started to turn off notifications from my watch, to actually just use it as a watch. But that didn’t break the habit I had of picking up my phone and scrolling through social media. I found myself downloading the latest social media apps even though logically they were nothing more than a distraction. Every one else was doing it so it was okay wasn’t it?

The problem was that I was trying to build up my coaching business. And at times when I could have been working towards that goal, I was busy looking at other people’s travel posts and pictures of their pets. It wasn’t helping me to run my business!

Earlier this year I went back to basics in my business. I wanted to build strong foundations for a sustainable business that would not burn me out. I made the decision in March that I would stop wearing my smart watch. That I would only wear it to the gym or if I was out for the day. I would stop wearing it on a day to day basis.

It was difficult at first because the urge to check my watch was so automatic. I used to tap the screen to look at the time and this automatic reaction carried on even when I wasn’t wearing the watch. I ended up tapping my arm in the place where my watch had been! That really brought into perspective just how attached I was to wearing this watch.

Whenever I had my watch on it wouldn’t matter if I left my phone in another room or in my bag, because I would still get a notification on my phone of any messages, emails or phone calls. This was no longer the case. What I found was that the times I left my phone in another room and went to my home office to work, I was much more focused and got through my task list much more quickly and easily. My phone was not a distraction and neither were the notifications on my watch.

I started to leave my phone in the living room whilst I was working more and more. I enjoyed not being disturbed by my phone. I enjoyed not having its presence demand my attention like it used to. The freedom I had been looking for from my phone when I first purchased my smart watch was finally available to me. And it all happened whilst not wearing a smart watch.

My phone usage has decreased dramatically by at least 40%. I have started reading more often rather than scrolling on my phone. I answer messages and phone calls when I have the capacity and desire to. I don’t feel as if my phone is ruling my life like it once was.

I know that my phone and social media usage was not nearly as time consuming as it is for some people. That was the fact that kept me a slave to my phone for longer than I needed to be. One of the things that keeps on coming up with my clients is that they don’t feel they have the time to pursue the activities and dreams they desire, however, when we look deeply into their day to day, scrolling on their phones takes up most of their free time!

If you are finding yourself in a similar situation, where there are dreams or goals that you are putting off because you ‘think’ you don’t have time, help is at hand. Below are three tips that can help you to reduce how much time you spend on your phone. I now use these tips to change the way I use my own phone.


- Set clear goals and boundaries

What about your phone or social media usage is bothering you? Is it the time you spend on your device? Is it the type of apps you are using?

Whatever it is set yourself some goals that you want to achieve, for example, less time on your phone. Once you have that goal, it’s time to set boundaries. You may need to put your phone in another room whilst you’re at dinner or working. You may need to leave your phone outside of your bedroom so that you are not scrolling before you sleep.


- Practice awareness

There is a setting on your phone that can tell you how many times in a day you pick your phone up. When I first looked at this I was shocked at the number. Before you pick up your phone, take a breath and ask yourself why you are picking it up. Are you looking for information? Are you feeling bored in an interaction with someone else? Is it just a habit when you have nothing else to do.

Becoming aware of why you are doing it and then stopping yourself before you do it can help you to reduce your time on your phone.


- Do something else!

Is there a project you have been putting off, or didn’t seem to have time for? Have you let your hobbies take second place to your scrolling?

Try and do things that are not dependant on your phone. Go for a walk. Do an activity that needs you to leave your phone behind. Start that side hustle you keep putting off.

A word of encouragement. Don’t give up at the first sign of difficulty or failure. Habits take time to become ingrained. They also take time to break. The best way to guarantee success is to go slowly.

As useful as technology is, it is can also be addictive. We are a society that is constantly switched on and slaves to our devices. If we want to, we can find another way. You get to choose how much you use technology and how you want to use it. If you would like support in breaking or creating habits, book a discovery session with me.

Much love,

Harmesch x

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