Now, this might not seem like big deal to most of us, particularly those of us who have strapped a watch around our wrist for the better part of our lives, but scientists are impressed (or amused). According to their research, certain portions of younger people are literally finding that wearing a watch is a tool to better manage their time.
This is particularly interesting in the face of everyone becoming increasingly — and voluntarily — tethered to technology at every turn.
Apparently the growing movement for younger people to acquire a watch is their way to keep their so-called “smartphones” from controlling their lives. While there is also an element of fashion rooted in this trend — the urge to be different will always exist in youth — some are actually beginning to appreciate the singularity of checking your watch versus taking out your smartphone.
And they are right.
Think of what happens when you take out your smartphone to check the time. What do most of us do next? Simply put it away? No, at least for me, I’ll use the time to gently activate the screen and check my email or maybe a social media notification. Before I know it, my simple act of checking the time is consuming minutes instead of the few seconds that checking my watch would have taken. In a way, checking my phone for the time generally leads me down the proverbial rabbit’s hole of curiosity.
I was sitting in a friend’s office recently when he made a similar observation.
He explained how he thought people were becoming tethered to their technology and allowing it to dictate how they use their time. Phones vibrating in coat pockets, emails dinging for attention across the room — each one demanding attention like a spoiled 3-year-old child.
After our meeting, as I walked down the street back to my office, I found myself demonstrating he was absolutely right. Rounding the corner of the block, I instinctively reached into my pocket to grab my phone and check the time. After getting the information I needed, I soon found myself being sucked down the rabbit hole and checking my email. After quickly glancing over the dozen that had arrived during my meeting with my friend, I closed the email app only to notice a little red indicator of a social media app. Boom, before I knew it, I — along with my attention — was needlessly sucked down the hole where I would stay for minutes.
The next morning I did something unusual — I put on a watch with a purpose.
Granted, I love watches, but for the most part I’ve considered them an accessory for the better part of the past decade. Cool to look at, but destined to be relegated to the technology scrap heap. But now I find myself enjoying the simplicity of purpose and how, if I’ll allow it to do its job, it can actually help put me back in control of my life.
Woolsey is publisher of the Times-Georgian.