For a while now, on high days and holidays I've been making a habit of wearing a 'Sabbath Watch'.*
In a similar vein to switching off my iPhone and carrying a dumbphone on holiday, I'm finding that making the effort to deliberately disconnect from another device keen on distracting me or putting someone else's agenda ahead of my own, is good for me.
My day to day (semi-smart watch) provides me with just the right amount of useful data. It allows me to track my running via GPS, working out calories and heart rate. It can warn me of an upcoming storm, let me know the cooking time for a pizza and even navigate me back to a starting point if I'm lost. All good stuff. But in addition, it often vibrates to tell me of the arrival of a new message to my phone. Sometimes, this is useful. But on weekends and when I'm taking time to rest or just 'be' with friends and family it's annoying and it pulls me away from what I was spending my attention on.
So off it comes, to be replaced by my Seiko Automatic. Not the most expensive of manual watches, but still a beautiful mechanical marvel. Its clear traditional dial simply tells me the time and date. Sometimes I turn it over and spend a moment just marvelling at the tiny cogs, whirring along beneath the glass back. I love the fact that it's powered by movement, by me living. And sometimes I put it to my ear just to listen to the tiny beating heart tick, tick, ticking away.
Wearing it is an act of defiance, another two fingers gesture against being "connected", whatever that means. Just feeling the weight of it on my wrist subtly reminds me that this is real time, my time, not work time. Hearing it tick, watching the second hand sweep the dial, reminds me that it's alive and so am I.
I'm starting to realise that it's through making small, incremental changes like this that real change happens. So whilst it may seem daft to think that just wearing a dumb watch, or no watch at all, can help you to live a better life, I think it's proving to be not such an odd idea after all.
*the sabbath title, comes from the ideas of digital sabbaths, taking time away for proper rest better explained here by Courtney Carver