A month not tracked

In 2012, I started a job as the lead product developer for a company that made devices for people with special needs. Starting that job coincided with the launch of the Raspberry Pi and the sudden influx of smart devices.

I started wearing a Fitbit soon after and have been wearing some sort of fitness tracker every day since then. Fitbits, Apple watches, pendants, chest monitors, Oura ring… you name it. I’ve worn it. For more than a decade. Until now.

For the month of August, I’ve worn nothing. My gold wedding ring is back on, and I have an analog watch.

My monthlong experiment revealed something interesting. Nothing changed. I still exercise, use discipline in my sleep, eat the right things (usually), and get up to move often. I might even be MORE healthy because I’m NOT relying on something external. I’ve got to do the work of keeping track of myself.

That friction is a good thing, although our “app for everything” mindset may lead us to believe otherwise.

We’re conditioned to think that we NEED these devices to be healthy, but we don’t. They only work if they cause you to take action. And that action really shouldn’t be a flex on social media. I don’t care how far your run is every day, and deep down inside, no one else does either—especially relative strangers on the internet.

It’s got me thinking about what other things in my life I’m making assumptions. Places where what I really need is careful attention and some old-fashioned discipline.

Idle time and compound interest

You get a minute of idle time. That moment when you feel the urge to pick up your phone is an opportunity to do something else with that energy. If you look at your phone 60 times a day, is it compound interest or compound debt? Compounding is powerful. 365 hours is 9 work weeks.

Don’t have time to learn Spanish or guitar or any new skill? Can’t call an old friend because you’re too busy?

Are you sure about that?