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Do You Really Need a Smart Watch?

I’m in a love/hate relationship with my smart watch. When I bought it in December, I was skeptical. Did I really need a smart watch? Everyone else in my new office had an Apple Watch or a knockoff, so even though I wasn’t sure what I’d get out of it, I decided to take the bait.

Reasons Why You Need a Smart Watch

1. Instant notifications help you stay ahead of the curve.

In the few months that I’ve been wearing it, it’s come in handy. I’ve seen emails and texts from my boss as soon as I got them, no need to fixate on my phone or listen for a text, afraid I might miss an important message. This makes me feel like I’m not missing anything, and that’s great.

I also get news updates, so I can stay on track with what’s going on in the world. For me as a writer, that’s especially essential, because it can give me ideas and help me see events that might affect the industry I’m writing about. I can see this feature being helpful for people in other fields like business or medicine, too.

A waitress friend even said, “I can see what’s going on and text people back even when I’m not supposed to be on my phone.”

2. Activity trackers give you insight into your health.

Apple Watches come with an Activity app that keeps track of steps, exercise, and standing hours. But this concept isn’t new. The wearable tech trend really started, at least in my opinion, with devoted activity trackers like the FitBit.

Really, what mine really does is shock me with how long I’ve been sitting down. Every so often, a get a buzz at my wrist, and a message on my screen says, “Time to stand up!” This has made me more aware of my activity levels throughout the day. Now, when I need a break, I go outside for a walk. I really think my health has benefitted.

My watch has also helped me keep track of my heart rate. Not only has it clued me in to times I’m stressed and need to chill a minute, it’s also showed me how much my resting heart rate has gone down since I started exercising more

3. Apps let you personalize your experience and get exactly what you need.

We all know there’s an app for everything. I mean, “There’s an app for that” was literally Apple’s slogan in the late aughts. Now smart watches can bring them into our lives more seamlessly.

Personally, I always have a million things to do. So I use the Today app by Neybox to send me gentle (okay, totally nagging) reminders to do the things I have to do. I’m also a big fan of weather apps like Dark Sky. With those, all I need to plan my outfit is to look down at my watch.

Being health conscious, I’m also trying to get more into mindfulness. My favorite app for this comes with the phone. It’s called Breathe, and it reminds you to do just that: chill out and breathe for a minute (or more).

Reasons You Might Not Need a Smart Watch

1. All those notifications are overwhelming.

If you’re like me, getting tons of notifications stresses you out. Research has even shown that there is such a thing as notification overload. We need to be able to disconnect.

So no matter how much I feel like my smart watch has improved my health and wellbeing, I’m mindful of limiting my connected hours. It’s gotten to a point where as soon as I get off work, I set my watch to “Do Not Disturb.” For me, the difference is immediate. I can go home, disconnect, and relax.

2. Looking at your watch all the time is just as bad as staring at your phone.

Have you ever been to a friend’s place for dinner, you found yourself talking, and everyone was looking at their phones? I have. That’s pretty rude. Luckily, by now we all have a good sense of cell phone etiquette, like how people in person are more important than staring at your tech.

These unspoken rules haven’t quite carried over to smart watches though, so be aware of how much and how often you’re looking at your watch. I’ve been called out for looking at mine too many times. Is there someplace you need to be? a friend asked. We were in paradise, on his boat in the Keys. I absolutely should have been present, not distracted by a screen.

Do You Really Need a Smart Watch?

I’d say yes. I love mine, but it’s also become clear to me that there’s a learning curve to living with so much technology. When it makes your life easier, definitely use it, but if it doesn’t, it’s okay to hit snooze.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Rebecca Renner

Rebecca Renner is a writer and editor out of South Florida. An avid swimmer, she loves reading and writing about the environment, and the state of Florida is close to her heart. Her essays have been featured in the Washington Post, New York Magazine, Pacific Standard and Glamour. She is working on a novel.