watch your time

It been over a year since I acquired my Apple Watch. After several months, I could confidently state that it improved my productivity. After a year, I can also report that it has greatly improved my awareness of time and distance.

I use the timer constantly. This is easy to do. It requires only two quick touches on the watch face. Or you can tell Siri to set a timer, just like Cookie Monster does in that terrific commercial.

I have mine preset for 15 minutes. I time all description of events in 15 minute increments. I’ll time myself when driving—“Let’s see how far I can get in 15 minutes.” Yesterday I went much further than I had predicted for the first 15 minute leg of my drive to the North Hills. But I underestimated the time required on the second leg of the trip. It is also worth knowing exactly how long it takes to perform certain chores, especially when they must be done before you can leave for work or do whatever comes next.Cliff's watch

As a lawyer, I often time my work at the keyboard. If the phone rings, I can pause the timer. If I want to take I break, I can time that too. While similar features exist on the phone, I find that the easier access on my watch translates into more usage.

All this might seem like a bit too much, almost an obsession. But let me tell you from experience, time awareness and productivity go hand in hand. If you are constantly asking yourself “where did the time go?” and can’t come up with a satisfactory answer, perhaps you should perform a little time study.

Before I had an Apple Watch, I used to be unaware of the arrival of text messages. Unfortunately, some people use texting as their primary means of communication. (I have learned that such people often don’t answer a phone call, but will immediately respond to a text.) When a text arrives, I usually don’t hear the beep on my phone, especially outdoors when my phone is tucked away in the leather pouch on my belt. But I always hear the ding (or feel the buzz) on my watch.

When a text message appears on my watch, I can glance at it and respond (or not) instantly. I can flip the screen to a list of preset responses and touch one. Or, if necessary, I can dictate a response by touching the microphone icon. It’s all over in the time it might take to dig out my phone and locate the latest text message.

I can also take phone calls on my watch while driving, keeping (except for a touch on the watch face) both hands on the wheel. This has proven to be a very useful feature. I can respond to a call with a text message like “I’ll call you back” with a flip and a touch. Or, if necessary, I can take the call and continue to drive safely. As we all know, certain calls cannot wait.

I have received and sent text messages in response to calls and texts while in meetings without people at the table being any the wiser. A slight buzz on the wrist alerts me to an incoming call or message, whereupon, I respond with a screen flip and a touch. It’s like sleight of hand. Nobody sees it, nobody hears it—nobody gets mad.

And then there is my favorite: Apple Pay. On the Apple Watch, Apple Pay cuts the time required for a point-of-sale card transaction to the absolute minimum—often as little as a second. This might not seem like much of a time savings until you try it. A year later, check out clerks in the grocery store still express amazement. I have used it at least 100 times and still enjoy the rush I get when I hold my watch up to the electronic sensor. Bing! —“Approved.”

For good cardiac health, I have decided to walk an average of 10,000 steps per day, the number experts recommend. The Apple Watch counts steps automatically, all day, while collecting a host of other health-related measurements. It works flawlessly, even when I forget my phone.

A few seconds here, a few seconds there. Maybe it doesn’t add up to that much. And maybe the time I save is squandered elsewhere. But it feels great. And I believe, with some objective evidence, that I am only getting started on my quest for productivity.

If my Apple Watch helps me to avoid being late for court just once, I call it golden.

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