Can a smartwatch help me get more of a life outside work?

Photo: Cochrane Lay

Frankie Graddon realised that work and play were melding into one when she forgot her friend’s birthday. Can roadtesting Apple Watch this week give her more perspective?

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By Frankie Graddon on

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It was a Monday night, I’d left work late and met my boyfriend in the local pub for two-for-one burgers (our treat when it’s too late to cook properly). We each moaned about our day, ate our burgers, checked our phones and replied to emails. We walked home, I wrote my to-do list for the next day, did more emails, checked social media, added some more stuff to the list and got into bed. It was 11.30pm. I lay in the dark, work still buzzing around my brain, squeezed my eyes closed and tried to shut everything out. Just as I was drifting off… “Oh, God,” I sat up. “It’s Sarah’s birthday.”

The only thing I was thinking about was what I had to get done the next day – my personal life had totally fallen by the wayside

I have been friends with Sarah since our first day of art college – we were sat next to each other during the induction, her last name being Hall with an H, mine Graddon with a G. In our second and third years, we lived in a manky flat near Bermondsey together. I have been on holiday with her family and she’s slept next to me in a tent at Glastonbury. I count her as one of five women I can call whenever, for anything. And I forgot her birthday. (Actually, to clarify, we’d already celebrated together at the weekend, but I’d completely forgotten to message her on the day itself – something we always do.) It was December and work had been manic in the Christmas run-up. The only thing I was thinking about was what I had to get done the next day and the day after that – my personal life had totally fallen by the wayside. And, if I’m honest, it wasn’t even just a December thing. Over the last few years, I’ve increasingly felt like I don’t have much of a life outside of the office, the line between work and my personal time steadily fading. Forgetting my friend’s birthday was a lightbulb moment – I needed to sort it out and regain a bit of balance.

Frankie's Apple Watch face

It’s three months since that moment and my New Year’s resolution to leave work on time has already failed miserably. So, when John Lewis asked us to trial Apple Watch for a week, I was interested in the functions and apps that could help me reclaim my evenings – and make me stick to it. I desperately need something that will get me out of the office and doing something unrelated to work in the evenings. I need something that keeps me organised and on top of things, but also makes me get away from my desk and out into the fresh air. And, most of all, I need something that will remind me of important events – no more missing birthdays. Can Apple Watch do all of this and make me feel better in just seven days? It’s a tall order. Maybe a PA is more what I need?! Still, I’m giving it a go and shall report back.

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


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Photo: Cochrane Lay
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