I’ve been trying monthly experiments on and off this year and since it was over a month ago that I tried to do one again in September. I find it easier to give up and fast rather than to create a newer habit even if it were like getting back to Journaling which was a good habit I have lost consistency at. Months such as June and July were failures as I tried to create newer habits and I took a break from trying experiments in August. April and September were a success as I chose to give up on things I would regularly use such as the Apple watch or the TV.
In September, I chose to give up the TV because I was trying to put more time into reading and I thought I could skip watching tv and use it for reading. I was looking to do more active thinking than mindlessly watching something. Not that you can’t be actively thinking or learning while watching a movie/tv show, I was watching tv at the end of my day mindlessly because I am watching to unwind before bed. So I gave up tv for the month of September. The only thing I was allowed to watch was a youtube video for learning/infotainment on the iPad or on the computer. To add in for clarity reasons, my tv is internet-only and there is no cable. I prefer watching movies/Stand-ups/funny videos than watching series on Netflix/PrimeVideo.I prefer watching something for an hour than continue to binge for hours on end.
I would call this experiment a mediocre success. Success because I didn’t turn on the tv at all except for briefly live streaming the apple iPhone event for about 30 mins, but I got bored and went to bed. Mediocre because I didn’t capitalize on reading with the time created by not watching tv. Reading time did improve but didn’t dramatically improve as I imagined it would.
The first week felt empty like I had more time to fill with reading. I spent the time better in those first few days to switch to reading on the Kindle. By the second week, Parkinson’s law kicked in and work expanded to fill time rather than create the time for reading as I had hoped for. So as soon as work finished, I would go out for coffee or catch up with a friend or just go window/active shopping and would come back home on time for bed. The actual time that was freed up got filled with activities that I didn’t have in the first place. I was hoping to use that time for reading but eventually, it got filled up with activities that I didn’t plan for.
I didn’t feel the urge to watch tv for over 3 weeks until a new movie got released on Netflix of an actor I like to watch. Once this thought to watch that movie kicked in, I had occasional thoughts to watch this movie and eventually I was looking forward to watching the movie on Oct 1st when the experiment would have ended.
I learnt a few things about myself during the experiment and it was fun to try it out. I like to watch movies that I think I will enjoy, but I don’t miss watching on a daily basis. I didn’t need to open up Netflix/PrimeVideo to see what was new on a daily/weekly basis. So that’s how it’s going to be moving forward. Open these apps on the tv when know what I want to watch.
Parkinson’s law exists and can be a pain. It’s better to allocate time into buckets one needs for priorities one makes, else something will fill that time. That something may or may not be what you enjoy or want for yourselves. That’s my take doing this experiment. Have you tried any experiments?
I decided to give up on the Apple Watch for a month at the start of the month, and today is the last day, and I wanted to reflect on what I learned and write them down for my future self.
TL.DR➖ I definitely do miss my apple watch, but not enough that I plan to keep buying the subsequent versions as and when it launches.
I’ve worn it so long on my wrist I don’t remember a time when I didn’t have it on me. I bought the Apple Watch first-gen and ever since had one on my person, so roughly close to 6 years. It’d be such a long time that I could use a break for a few days, that is when I realised, instead of few days, let me make it a month and understand what I enjoyed and what I didn’t about going Watch free for a month.
The first few days were a little odd, and I missed the Watch a bit more than I had expected; I didn’t expect that I relied on the apple watch so much for so many things daily. I used it to keep tabs on my time, especially when I was in the kitchen trying to cook or juggling time-sensitive tasks due to work timings. So having a timepiece on myself was very useful, so even if I don’t need an apple watch, I definitely need a Watch on me to stay on top of time. The mornings are always the rush, but once I am off my work, the lack of knowing time is kinda liberating. So I’ve mixed feelings here, but given how much of life revolves around work and punctuality is essential, I will need a Watch for myself.
Not trying to stand up every hour to complete the stand goal was a relief. While the stand goals are reasonable from a healthy perspective, it is more interruption than anything. I would instead prioritise the activity goal than just the stand goal. I pride myself on completing all the 3 goals/rings that I have set for myself. So it’s really going to be hard for me not to achieve this when I get to wear the Watch again tomorrow. I think my compulsiveness to meet would win with this battle of giving up on apple rings even if I feel interrupted during focused work. I may even disable the goals, but I doubt I will stick to them.
Notifications are the Boon and the Bane of all the smart devices, and Apple Watch is no different. I definitely missed them during my drives in the car. A quick glance on the Watch is always better than pulling the phone out, especially when your hands are right there on the steering wheel. I definitely like that not having them during work helped me stay focused on my work with lesser distractions. While I definitely feel there wasn’t a lot of context switching during the work hours without the Watch on me, I definitely did get some anxiety on some notifications, i.e. food delivery notifications which I didn’t want to miss during work hours. There was some random checking of the phone to check if I missed any of them on some days. So what I want to do here when I get back to the Watch is to review the notifications and tune them just enough to reduce the anxiety while maximising distraction-free time, especially during work hours.
I didn’t do any run workouts this entire month, nor were there any plans for running or tracking workouts, so I didn’t miss any apps in any fashion. Had I been running, this no watch month would have been impossible, to begin with.
If you know me, you know I try to track everything. Sleep is one among those that I track, and not having the apple watch was kind of a let down in this space. I used to track sleep on my Watch even before Apple released its own version of sleep tracking. I liked that my morning alarms were just a wrist buzz. Even though I have a pleasant tone to wake up to, I find it jarring to wake up to an alarm and tapping the wrist to disable the vibrations on the Watch was a lot easier. I really look forward to waking up to the tapping of the Watch starting tomorrow.
In all, it was a fun experiment to learn a few things about my likes and dislikes with the Watch. 30-day hiatus helped me understand what I used my Watch for and what could be improved for the years to come. Trying these 30-day experiments is also fun, and I would like to try some more such experiments. If you tried something similar and enjoyed it or hated it, please let me know in the comments. If you have any ideas for such experiments, do share them with me.
credits: Photo by Brandon Romanchuk on Unsplash