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I stopped wearing my smartwatch, and I haven’t looked back

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I fell in love with smartwatches when I got my hands on the first generation Moto 360, a beautifully designed and gorgeous smartwatch that runs Google’s first operating system for smartwatches. Since then, I’ve tried and reviewed more than a dozen wearable fitness devices, including the Apple Watch SE series, Amazfit GTR, and GTS series. And over time, I became totally hated the product segment.

I gave up smartwatches a few months ago, which is why I won’t be back anytime soon (unless for review purposes).

Data, data and more data

Apple Watch Series 8 displays its own app library.
Joe Maring / Digital Trends

I used to wear my smartwatch to sleep. And my daily routine after waking up was to check how many hours of deep sleep I got. This habit drew me first to the smartwatch and then to the app. I’ll barely be awake and immediately am bombarded with data – light sleep, deep sleep, REM, etc.

Once that was done, I used to check more fitness data – like the number of steps you took the previous day and the number of calories you ate. In the first 20 minutes of the day, I had already drifted to the screen.

Body composition on the Samsung Galaxy Watch 5.
Joe Maring / Digital Trends

As if that wasn’t enough, every time I raised my wrist to look at the time, I was once again face to face with increased information. Raise your wrist to check the time? Here’s how many miles you covered today. The day ended without much walking? Oh, here’s a bad notice about how you missed your goal. Working to close those activity loops? This is a badge for you.

Wearing a smart watch is vomiting data in your face. And most of the time, you don’t know what to do with that data.

Smartwatches may help some people stay fit or in shape, but no amount of closing my rings or sharing fitness data with friends motivates me to exercise more. In fact, I became more and more irritated every time I saw one of my friends closing their rings while I was sitting there eating a huge piece of pizza.

I don’t want to always be available for the tool

Apple Watch Series 8 with screen on.
Joe Maring / Digital Trends

Smartwatches are developed to be available to you when you need them and not the other way around. I noticed that the opposite was happening to me.

In a meeting and getting a notice? Here, let me swipe right to dismiss it. Going out with friends and getting a ping on your wrist? He’s your boss and he wants to get the job done tomorrow. Having dinner with family and getting an unwanted call? easy. Click on the red icon to finish it.

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There are two patterns here. Number one, not every notification is time sensitive. In fact, I will go on to say that most of the notifications you receive on your smartwatch are not time sensitive. Notifications can wait. You mostly look at them on your wrist and wipe them away. Number two, these notifications get in the way of living your life in the present moment.

Notifications on Galaxy Watch 5 Pro.
Andy Boxall / Digital Trends

When I have dinner with my mom and dad, I don’t want my wrists to ring. Let me eat my meal in peace. Let me hang out with my friends without having to constantly connect to the virtual world after work hours. Let me be attentive in the meeting without taking off from the conversation every few minutes.

It may sound cliched, but I like that people are present at what they’re doing at the moment—without being distracted by a little gadget buzzing on their wrist. For me, 1 out of 10 notifications might be time sensitive and need my attention. In an effort not to miss this notification, I subjected myself to nine useless notifications that distracted from what I was doing in real life.

You can always wear a smartwatch and turn off notifications. But did you really buy a smartwatch to do this? The fitness band was enough.

Live a stress free life

Casio G-Shock GA-B2100 Blue Watch.

With these annoyances, it was natural to get frustrated and give up on the form factor. I’ve turned into the good old G-Shocks and Tissots of the world. I no longer have to wait for a split second when I raise my wrist to tell the time. When I want to check the date, I only look at the information I need, not the data the watch wants to feed me with.

Now, my watch is working with me – and it’s meant to be like this. In the data-hungry world where we want to track every calorie intake and every step we take, sometimes it’s wise to take a step back and consider your choices. Are you always available for your smartwatch, or is it always available to you? If it’s your ex, you know it’s time to give yourself a break by all measures and get your stupid watch out — just like you did.

There is something liberating about not being a slave to data. I’m no longer in a hurry to close the loops. I don’t need to track every calorie I eat. I don’t care how much deep sleep I get. But at the same time, I’m living a healthier life because the pressures of the data on my wrist are no longer competing for space in my mind. I’m living a happier life, and I don’t have a smartwatch on my wrist to thank.

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