Why I Am Not Buying An Apple Watch

by Site Author

The reviews are in, and the Apple Watch seems to be a hit. Beyonce has one. So does Katy Perry. Your co-worker—the one who always waits in line for the new iPhone—he has one, too.

I was an iPhone early adopter, and everything in my life runs on a Mac. But I’m holding out on the Apple Watch.

It’s not the expense of the watch that bothers me, or the responsibility of charging yet another device each night. I’m just worried that the Apple Watch is going to add even more interruptions to my life.

These days, technology unchecked constantly interrupts me. My e-mail program rings with each new message and my smartphone buzzes every time a friend Snapchats, Twitters, or What’s-Apps me. By some measures, the average office worker is interrupted every 3 minutes. New devices, like a computerized wristwatch, only add to the din.

And there’s growing evidence that those interruptions can make us less productive. A team of researchers at George Mason University recently designed an experiment to measure the effect of interruptions on performance.

They gave one group of undergraduates a simple assignment: write an essay in 24 minutes. The researchers gave a second group of undergraduates the same task, but with one complication. The second group was given 27 minutes to write the essay, with the extra 3 minutes consisting of short interruptions dispersed throughout their writing process.

The experiment’s interruptions were contrived—the researchers would suddenly stop the students from writing, and would ask them to solve simple arithmetic problems. The researchers hoped that such random, sudden breaks simulated what it’s like to stop writing and read an e-mail or a new text message.

In the end, the researchers collected all of the essays and had them reviewed by judges. The judges were “blinded”—they didn’t know which essays were written by which students. But, on average, the judges gave scores that were 17 percent lower to essays written by the students who were interrupted.

All of this is to say that constant interruptions take an enormous—well, 17 percent—toll. Those text messages and e-mails interrupt our train of thought, but the best work is produced by a train that is allowed to travel until it runs out of steam.

Of course, the Apple Watch comes with benefits—some early adopters swear that they’re exercising more than they used to because of the watch’s fitness tracker. But those benefits come at a cost: the watch is yet another source of interruptions and distraction.

Me, I’ll stick to a laptop and a phone. And even then, I now take care to disable those devices’ notifications and sound effects. My goal—despite this frantic digital age—is to retreat when I can, and to truly focus.