Watches: still pretty useful

Some time ago, I posted on Facebook that I didn’t know why anyone would ever wear a watch, because the clocks on phones had made watches unnecessary. Shortly after that, I noticed that I was constantly pulling out my phone when I was teaching or taking class, and it looked extremely rude, like I was checking my text messages, when I was actually only being mildly rude, by checking what time this horror would be over.

That is the problem with having a timepiece. When you get bored, you instinctively check the time, and it’s one of the most obvious and least subtle indicators into your psychology that you could possibly give. When a person checks the time, you know that they’re thinking about the next thing they’re going to do. A person who’s engaged isn’t going to care what time it is (unless they have some pressing engagement afterwards, and even then…)

And if you check the time again and again? Tsk, that means you want time to go faster.

I thought I’d saved myself all of that by not wearing a watch, but it turns out that I’d just made it more obvious. So I got a little digital watch that I’ve been wearing for the past year. And it’s been excellent.

I’m naturally a very punctual person. I don’t know why. I just get to places on time. It’s been that way since college. I don’t know how people end up being so late to stuff. If I have something coming up, then I’m always aware of it. In order to be late, I’d have to sit around dawdling and doing nothing. In my mind, that’s what perpetually late people are like. They know someone is waiting for them, but they’re just hanging around in their rooms, checking their email or something. In reality, it’s probably just that they don’t have a good sense of how long things will take.

So the pleasure of wearing a watch is not that I know what time it is: it’s that I can limit interaction with my phone. It feels like every time I use my phone for anything, I am creating the possibility that I’ll be sucked into it for half an hour. So if I can limit the number of phone glances in a day, then I can increase my productivity and overall mental well-being. That’s why I kind of feel like this Apple Watch might be worth having. If you can get your texts and emails displayed on your wrist, then it’s also possible to limit the constant checking for those. As I learned from having a Kindle, there is a benefit to having a device with limited functionality: a device that only does the most important thing that you need it to do.

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