Time To Put Down Your Phone

Every morning, I put on my watch. It’s a chunky metal analog, too big for my wrist, a little like something your grandpa might wear.

I’ve noticed that watch-wearing has become uncommon among my peers. Almost everyone has a smartphone these days, after all. Why bother with a watch when the time (and anything else you ever might need) is already in your pocket?

Phones have been displacing wristwatches for a long time now. But on Monday, Apple turned the tables, announcing the launch of a wearable iPhone-like device called the Apple Watch. For once, a watch seems poised to displace our phones.

The Apple Watch certainly seems convenient. It has many of the same features as the iPhone, right at your wrist whenever you need them.

Make no mistake, I have no interest in donning my Andy Rooney hat and ranting about kids these days. iPhones are incredible tools, but they need to be used mindfully. Disconnecting once in a while is important for emotional and physical health, and I worry about the potential effects of having glorified computers strapped to our bodies all day long.

But what really bothers me is the idea of even more idle moments wasted. After all, who among us hasn’t pulled out their phone to check the time and ended up mindlessly scrolling through Instagram—not because it’s enjoyable, but because, well, it’s there. The days pass quickly when we’re distracted, which we seem to be most of the time. (And let’s be honest, do any of us genuinely have no time to read, as we claim, or are we spending all our spare time in the social media loop?)

I say this all empathetically. The iPhone, by design, is very hard to use in moderation. Intentionally disrupting its hyper-usefulness in small and intentional ways—using a planner, for example, or wearing a watch—increasingly seems to be a healthy and necessary thing to do. Now that our devices can do just about anything, it’s on us to determine their limitations.

So that’s why I still put on my clunky old watch every morning—and after the Apple Watch comes out, I plan to do the same.

Caroline Ferguson
Editor in Chief