Why I Ditched My Smartwatch
When less is more
It was my dream watch. Or so I thought.
It could do everything: track my steps, calories, sleep and intensity minutes. It monitored my stress levels, blood oxygen saturation, and even my
“body battery,” an estimate of how much juice remained in my tank. It enabled me to control my music, set timers and find my wayward smartphone. It even told time.
No more. My dream watch turned out to be a nightmare. I took a sledgehammer to it, figuratively speaking, putting both it — and me — out of our misery. Where did our relationship sour?
It started with the sleep tracking. Every morning, I’d wake to a sleep score that was alarmingly low. “You slept poorly last night,” my watch scolded. I felt like a failure before I brushed my teeth, a successfully completed task my smug watch failed to acknowledge. Scrolling down, I learned of the dire consequences of my below-par sleep: “Your body did not recover very well,” my watch noted. “You will likely feel tired today.”
My watch was right. I did feel tired that day, but was it because I was truly tired or because my annoying watch had planted the idea in my mind? It’s hard to say.
“I slept terribly last night,” I told my wife.
“How do you know?” she asked.
“My watch told me.”
She shot me that look, delivering an unspoken message: Are you going to trust a piece of technology strapped to your wrist or your own body?
She was right. I had outsourced my sense of well-being to an alien device. Who is to say whether my sleep was restorative or not? Or, to put it another way, if I feel like I had a restful night’s sleep, isn’t that what matters? There’s a reason the scientific study of happiness is called “subjective well-being.” Objective data can be useful but ultimately it’s our subjective experiences that, taken together, determine our happiness.
Buying a piece of technology to temper your addiction to another piece of technology is silly — like eating brownies to temper your addiction to muffins.