Photo: Cochrane Lay

HEALTH

Can a smartwatch give me a break from my phone?

Most people check their phones 28 times a day but, thanks to work stress, Sam Baker’s tally is more like 128 times. Can Apple Watch help her relax in just a week?

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By Sam Baker on

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I've known for quite a long time now that my relationship with my phone is, well, let’s just say, a bit intense. It's years since I became aware that my wake-up routine looked something like this: turn off alarm (on phone), check weather (on phone, not out of window, God forbid), check texts (on phone), check email (on phone), check Twitter (on phone). Get up, turn on BBC Radio 4 (on phone). And repeat, more or less...

If these were the only things I did on my phone, it would be one thing, but this ritual is the tip of the early-morning iceberg. By the time I get on the train about 30 minutes later, I have checked all of those things again, plus The Pool's overnight performance on Google Analytics, and I will have downloaded all the latest news on my news apps of choice (about 10), in order to read them all on the train to work.

It's hardly surprising that I can't live without my phone. After all, my work depends on it and, since we launched The Pool, my work *is* my life. So, it's no exaggeration to say my phone is an extension of my right hand and I couldn't function without it. It frees me up, enables me to work from home the occasional Friday and start work on the train instead of in the office. In fact, it's fair to say that The Pool wouldn't exist without the smartphone, because our idea fully coalesced when we were standing in a coffee-shop queue, watching everyone stare at their phones.

Yes, I admit, I'm tense and have a tendency to be snappy and chew the inside of my mouth constantly, but that's just the stress of life in a startup.

Apparently, most Brits check their phones 28 times a day. Twenty-eight! I know! Who are these people who can exercise such self-restraint? And what are they doing with the rest of their time?

And then, I read some research that brought me up short. Apparently, most Brits check their phones 28 times a day. Twenty-eight! I know! Who are these people who can exercise such self-restraint? And what are they doing with the rest of their time?

I made a joke of it at the time but, in truth, I knew perfectly well that I checked my phone too often. And was over-influenced by it. Just as doing weights for 15 minutes three times a week had altered both my body and my mindset for the better, my obsession with checking my email and social media was achieving the opposite. It enabled my stress and I needed to do something about it. 

So, when John Lewis asked if I'd like to try Apple Watch for a week to see if it could wean myself off the constant phone-checking in just seven days, to help me relax more and stress less, I jumped at the chance. I admit, I wasn't 100 per cent convinced that adding more tech to my life would reduce my dependence on, erm, tech, but if it meant I would stop grinding my teeth in my sleep so loudly I wake up the cat, I was up for anything.

So, here I am, Apple Watch on my wrist, phone in my bag where I can’t see it (honest), determined to see if seven days of this can turn me into a less tense person.

Apple Watch Series 3 is available at John Lewis, with prices starting at £329

@SamBaker

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Photo: Cochrane Lay
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