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My “Watch-Less” Experiment

Posted by on Jan 25, 2012
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Those of you who have followed this blog for a while know that I like to experiment here and there. One of the reasons I experiment is because I have preconceived notions about things, including myself, that every once in a while I need to challenge. Another reason is that I know I’m not the only one who has the certain habits, or something like them, so taking them on and then talking about them might help someone else address issues they have.


Yes, this watch is for sale :-)

As you can tell by the title, I decided to go without my watch for a while. Of course there is the history behind this, and a brief little story as well.

I learned how to tell time when I was three years old. I got my first watch on my fourth birthday while living in Japan, and it was unlike any watch anyone else had. Mine had a spaceship on it, which was really cool because the space age was very new at the time. Eventually I went from that watch to a couple of Timex watches, then a military watch that glowed in the dark if it got enough light during the day, and finally my first digital watch a year after I started college. Around 1982 I got my first programmable watch, which not only allowed me to set alarms, but allowed me to put phone numbers in it.

This is the same kind of watch I have now, and I’ve always loved my watches. I’ve always been kind of a stickler for time as well. Having a watch that I can program with all kind of alarms seems to work out well for someone like me.

Over the last couple of months however, I started thinking that maybe to watch wasn’t helping me do what I wanted to do. Oh sure, I could still time things, but I found myself resistant to trying to stay on schedule because of the watch. I would always look at it, it didn’t inspire me to want to do anything. I had taken to really only using it when I needed to time something; that’s not so cool.

I decided it was time for experiment. I wondered what would happen if I stopped wearing my watch after so many decades. Would I miss the weight? Would I start being late for things? Would I go crazy because I couldn’t look at my watch all that often anymore? Or would nothing happened at all?

I’m not going to make you wait for it this time around; nothing happened. I found that it was quite an easy transition going from wearing a watch all the time to not wearing one at all. One of the reasons is that I have so many replacements for a watch. My smart phone obviously has a clock function. Because I’m at my computer all the time it also has a time function. I don’t have a clock in my computer room, but I have a digital cable box that always has the time showing. When I’m in my car there’s a clock. Even at the gym there are two clocks, one at each end of the track.

Also, I knew that I could set alarms on both my smartphone and my Palm, and the smart phone also has a timer. In other words, overall I’ve found that I had so many other ways of checking my time that I didn’t miss my watch at all.

Of course there is a downfall. I find that I’ve been staying up later than normal, not thinking about going to bed until 3:30 in the morning, and a couple of times not until 5AM. No, that’s not a good thing, and I find that just because I go to bed later doesn’t mean I sleep any later, so I’m not sleeping as much as I was before. Still, as long as I’m working for myself that’s a small thing because I can always get a nap if I need one.

I know you’re thinking “why did he tell us all this”? All of us have preconceived notions about ourselves, as well as other people. When I wrote my post about modeling the other day, a couple of people said that there was no way they could see themselves ever being able to do the same thing. When I wrote my post some years ago talking about having to start injecting myself with insulin, a few people wrote that they could never see themselves being able to do that either.

People are always saying they can’t do this and they can’t do that, and even though every once in while their reasoning is sound, most of the time it’s people reacting with fear to something that they really don’t know whether they could do it or not. And most people, myself included, are afraid to tackle certain things that they feel are beyond their comfort zone.

I have used watches as a crutch for almost 50 years, and in my wildest dreams I never thought that I would be comfortable without having a watch on. Not that I will wear my watch again, but it’s nice to know how easy it was to break the bonds I had placed on my own mind, since that’s where most of our bonds lie. It makes me wonder what else there is that might be holding me back in some fashion that I can break to push forward.

Think about this; what types of things and how many things are in your mind that holding you back? Maybe make a list of 10 things that follows these two words: I can’t. Then pick one and resolve to at least test it; you might be surprised at what you’re capable of.
 

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25 Comments »

I wore the watch that I received for my HS graduation in 1978 until two years ago–my beloved Pulsar finally couldn’t keep up anymore, it continued to lose time. I thought at the time that this was a sign–I don’t really need a watch with my cell and the plethora of public clocks around.

Couldn’t do it. I got an inexpensive Timex Indiglo and kept right on. It has a clock face and a second hand and lights up–that’s it. Kickin’ it old school. Friugal and on time!
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Mitch Mitchell Reply:

You’re killing me Phil! lol I was surprised I was able to give mine up so easily, although I still have those few moments when I wake up in the dark, can’t see the clock, and I’m unsure where my phone is so I can check the time.

Sire Reply:

I have a digital clock next to my bed so I don’t have the problem. Did you know they have clocks that display the time on the ceiling? Great for old guys with failing eyesight ;)
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Mitch Mitchell Reply:

The problem is I’ve worn glasses my entire life. I have a digital clock on the headboard but I can’t see it unless I’m right next to it; eyesight’s too bad. And trying to scramble for glasses in the dark is problematic as well.

Sire Reply:

So having the time displayed on the ceiling in huge digits would be perfect for you. ;)
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Mitch Mitchell Reply:

Nope; can’t see it, no matter how large it is. I’m near sighted, so I need to bring things close to my eyes if I don’t have my glasses on, which is most of the time when I need to see many things.

January 25th, 2012 | 9:54 AM
Catwoman:

I think that the time of wristwatches are really gone. They could be used as fashionable accessories but for the original function, they aren’t up2date anymore. Watches are old tools with only one function, everybody has got some multifunction devices in their pocket with the function of a watch. So why take another device on the wrist?
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Mitch Mitchell Reply:

You’re probably right Catwoman, and I’ve definitely gotten over the need for a watch. However, I still am holding out for the day I can purchase a gold Rolex with a black face and diamonds and not flinch at the rice. lol

January 25th, 2012 | 10:40 AM
Anna:

As being a woman – the wristwatch is everything else but watch. Of course it serves as a jewelery . And I think that they will never be old-fashioned , until there women:):)
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Mitch Mitchell Reply:

Anna, as jewelry I can see it. Needing it to tell time… maybe something else entirely.

January 25th, 2012 | 12:19 PM

I have always wear watch in Europe and after that when I move in China. In Thailand I rarely do that as it is very hot outside and I quite often drive motorbike which makes my wrist feel uncomfortable. However even this uncomfort I wear wrist watch when I go outside. Since I moved to work from home, I just look at the system tray on my PC and I have set 3 different timezone to appear. Never really need alarm clock to get up, since the time I was in the army, I wake up around 6:00 AM every morning.

Mitch Mitchell Reply:

Carl, that’s way too early for someone who goes to bed as late as I do, but working for oneself does eliminate that time thing often.

Carl Reply:

Honestly I also go to bed pretty late, however I think that the habit build in childhood and after that during my army year have build this into my bio clock. For school I used to get up 6:30 AM every morning. In the army it was 5:00AM. And you know when you are on duty there is about 2 hours bed time. One more thing, usually when I wake up in the morning, ideas kick me out of the bed quickly.
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Mitch Mitchell Reply:

You could be correct about those habits Carl, since my habit has always been to go to bed later than anyone else.

January 25th, 2012 | 8:38 PM

I gave up wearing a watch a long time ago, probably almost 15 years now. It used to stress me out because I would find myself constantly checking it.

I was always aware of the time and I’d find myself getting irritated when I was running late, especially when I was stuck in traffic.

When I stopped wearing it I found that I was just more relaxed in every way.

Although I have to admit that every now and then I miss my old Casio.
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Mitch Mitchell Reply:

Great stuff Jack. It’s funny how much more free I’ve felt since I stopped wearing it, although I do have to remind myself to carry my phone around with me to set my alarms when I’m cooking something, since the kitchen is on the other side of the house from my office. lol

January 25th, 2012 | 9:34 PM

Great post, Mitch! There is so much more to the post than what the title implies :)I enjoyed your “watch” story. It’s always nice to hear someone share stories about childhood. I don’t always wear a watch but I can still track time using my cellphone or laptop. I agree that most of the time, we follow time very seriously that we get into the habit of doing the same things over again. And we become comfortable with these habits and we feel distracted or afraid to try new things. Every once in a while, change is good and getting out of your shell allows you to discover much more!

Mitch Mitchell Reply:

Thanks Mae. It’s amazing what we discover when we challenge ourselves, including the possibility that it wasn’t much of a challenge at all.

January 26th, 2012 | 7:59 PM

The challenge you have at the end of the post is really worth-trying. I’ll work on my list now.
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Mitch Mitchell Reply:

It would be interesting to see what you came up with Liz.

January 27th, 2012 | 12:24 AM

Would I miss the weight? :D Surely you jest my friend?

Like you I’ve had my fair share of watches and lately I’ve been apt to buy a digital watch that also acts as a remote control for the TV. It can turn the on and off, change the volume and even the channels. It also actually keeps time ;)

I went without a watch for awhile when the band broke. A bit of a nuisance but no major drama.

As for ‘I can’t’s don’t get me started ;)
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Mitch Mitchell Reply:

Ah Sire, you and I will have to talk! lol A watch that changes the channels on a TV; that’s a new one on me. I wonder if it works with cable boxes. As for the “I can’t”, well, it’s probably not for everyone but if you ever decide to challenge yourself, give it a shot.

Sire Reply:

I assume so Mitch as there is a setting on my watch for cable although I have never tried it. I’m going to have to see if I can find the instructions so I can learn how to set it.
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January 27th, 2012 | 2:29 AM

(Okay, lets try this again, first comment went to Never Never Land)

I stopped wearing watches a few years ago, when like you, I noticed all the replacements everywhere I was. Including my cell phone. I think it’s funny when people pull out a cell phone to check the time. Like people who used pocket watches long ago.

Now, why do you still use the Palm? Your smartphone has all the capability (if not more) than a Palm has. I think you need to challenge yourself again. :D
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Mitch Mitchell Reply:

Scott, the Palm works better in many ways. One, I can hear the alarm for whatever I set for the week but if I have to use the actual calendar function I can’t hear it. Therefore, the daily alarms I have set for the entire year would be missed; the Palm is much louder. Also, the Palm works better in setting the different types of alarms via color, such that I have business, personal, tasks, etc. I can put them in different places on the Palm; can’t do that with the phone. And I can set the Palm to go off weeks or days in advance yet still be set for a particular day, and I can’t do that on the phone either.

So, the Palm is still much more versatile overall; that plus I trust its address book way more than I would putting everything on my phone.

January 27th, 2012 | 2:31 PM