Wearable technology: where have you been all of my life?

I was lucky enough for Christmas to receive a Garmin Vivosmart wristband.  I do love a gadget and was intrigued to receive this one.

Out of the box this wearable band has been just brilliant.  That said I do not propose to write a review of it here.

Instead I wanted to comment on this fact: wearing this band and having my phone notifications, selectively, connected to it via Bluetooth has made me more productive than I could ever have imagined. Additionally, it has helped me better manage my anxiety.

Anyone who knows me knows that I am addicted to checking my phone.  If there was a notification there that I had not checked, before my Vivosmart, it would irritate me and make me anxious until I checked it so I oft found myself during the day checking my phone constantly.  Of course, in a job that is reading, analysis and writing intensive that is a productivity killer.

This wearable device receives notifications as they appear on my phone and flash on my wrist accompanied by a gentle vibration.  Rather than stopping what I am doing and checking my phone now all i need do is glance at my wrist and see if I need to stop what I am doing and read what has been sent to me.

Whilst this presents, still, a break in my concentration that break is fleeting rather than minutes and I find myself avoiding those emails and messages that aren’t urgent until I have a break from the task I have been working on.  The fact is that I get about 150 emails a day on top of multiple social media notifications and text messages.  Those that need to be answered immediately probably number in the single digits so by not checking my phone anywhere near as much as I used to I am finding myself with more time coupled with getting things done swifter.

I know some of you will think this is crazy and the fact that I can not stop myself from checking my phone is a fairly appalling character trait I have.  You are right: it is BUT it is part of my make up and personality.  Not knowing what I have received, particularly in my emails, is an ongoing cause of anxiety for me which is also being mitigated against, along with the improvement in my productivity, because now, frankly, it is easy to know what I have received.  This is a massive positive for me and my mental health.

This Vivosmart wristband was a wonderful Christmas gift.  It may well be a life changing one too!

An Epiphany: Yes I do have time … if I choose to

I have gone through a particularly busy period both at work and personally and have found myself uttering the words “I just don’t have the time” with some regularity.

As anyone who follows my twitter feed (@shumpty77) will know: I read a lot of articles or blogs focused on improving productivity and work life balance.  I figure that there is no advice in this area that is wrong because of the breadth of the subject matter and, frankly, any tips is a good tip.

I was out walking last night (it is the festive season and my weight inevitably balloons during this period so I am trying to make a preemptive strike against that) when a thought struck me.  Mentally, I had been running through everything I had to get done today: both from a work perspective and a personal perspective.  Thinking negativity I was lamenting to myself that “there just aren’t enough hours in the day” when the thought that struck me was this: life is about personal choices and thus everything that I have on my list of things to do is there because I have chosen it to be there.  Therefore I have two choices, either:

  1. Accept that I have put myself in the position of having too much to do and stop whining about; or
  2. Reconsider my personal choices and match those choices with the time available to me.

In the short term, because I have myself loaded up my “to do” list I have to accept that I am just going to have to get through everything and stop whining about it.

in the long term though, my epiphany has led me to realize that, really, I should never be in a position where I utter the words “I just don’t have the time” because ultimately, and fundamentally, I chose that which I commit to doing both from a work and personal perspective.  The only person at fault if I become over-stretched for time is myself.

I am going to focus moving forward on avoiding getting to that position because, effectively, to be there means that I am over promising and under delivering to those who rely on me both at work or personally and I find that utterly unacceptable.