Once a year for the last few years, I’ve done a light “detox” from tech. This usually coincides with the annual Winter Break that I take. My family’s birthdays are all in the same week as Christmas so we typically just take off the last couple weeks of the year.
The detox is usually short lived, mostly serving to highlight what habits and notification patterns I picked up over the year that I hate. The first year or two, it meant reading paper books instead of my Kindle, putting away laptops and only using a desktop PC, and avoiding sites like reddit.com or similar.
More recently, I’ve acquired a couple of wearables that have become part of my daily uniform. Most notably, I’ve had some model of an Apple Watch for 3 years now. I love the Apple Watch and the vast treasure trove of health data in it, how it helps with navigation in Apple Maps, and the fitness tracking features.
Every year though, during the detox, I realize that my Apple Watch is a focus destroyer. Despite my aggressive curation of notifications on both the watch and my iPhone, I still find myself drawn to poking at it for information I don’t really need. Most of the time, I don’t need to know about the weather more often than once in the morning so why do I care about the weather complication on the watch face?
So this year, going into my winter break, I dutifully set aside my Apple Watch and kept my iPhone mostly on Do Not Disturb.
I started watching the show Devs and noticed that Nick Offerman wears a Casio F-91W in it. I decided to pick one up as my previous one got smashed. I’ve owned a few of them over the years and am quite fond of them. Lightweight and cheap, they make for great travel watches because thieves couldn’t care less about them.
So now I’m a couple weeks into wearing it daily and it’s been great. I’m not habitually staring at my wrist repeatedly or checking for notifications. I turn the ringer on for my phone and set it aside in the room I’m in. I’m able to better focus on deeper work like reading and writing.
It’s not a beautiful watch in an aesthetic sense, but the simplicity of its form and function are beautiful. It tells me exactly what I care about most - time in 24 hour notation, the date, and the day of the week. It’s exceptionally thin and light, making it almost unnoticeable. It’s not a statement or an art piece. It doesn’t typically start conversations because it looks and is cheap. So in a sense, it is a watch in its most utilitarian form.
I’m going to try wearing it or a similar watch for the entirety of 2021 except for my workouts.
To be clear, I love my Apple Watch. It’s a great fitness gadget and I’ll continue to use it during workouts. But I think I’m going to wear it less during the work day and leisure time.
I’ve been on a slow and steady crusade to recapture my attention span and to build a better rhythm of deep work. This one seems obvious as it’s the third or fourth time I’ve experienced this.
Here’s a short list of cheap watches that are lightweight and comfortable that I have owned or do own:
Posted on 2020-12-30