In March of 2022 I returned to tracking my activity. For me, what gets tracked gets optimized. I created the simplest tracking worksheet that did what I wanted and I set about keeping track. There are things I loath about my current FitBit; I can’t quite entirely disable the notifications. And touch screens don’t work with sweaty fingers, which leads to frustration just when I’m exhausted. I’ve never had an Apple Watch, but maybe it was time?

When I bought the phone last year, I went all out. I got the 1 terabyte model (a ridiculous amount of storage space, in hindsight), because I expected to have the thing for a while. But I’ve come to resent this phone.

~ Chris Bailey from,

I went to the Apple Store to arrange for a battery replacement for my iPhone, and I intended to spend my waiting time examining watches. I spent an hour exploring and testing, and picked one out. I bought it, booted it up, synced it to my Apple ecosystem, and strapped it on. I went on my way with a new phone battery and $700 in conspicuous consumption on my wrist. Intending to lean into wearing and using the watch as much as possible.

And for the next two days I wanted to rip it off my wrist and smash it with a hammer. I spent endless hours trying to disable this, silence that, adjust this feature, avoid setting up that other feature… All because I wanted the Watch’s better GPS tracking of distance covered, and better biometric measurements. I struggled with trying to sleep with a digital screen strapped to my wrist—there is no digital screen that will ever exist, which is permitted in my sleep space. Alas, the Watch is the antithesis of calm technology and it was clear I was never going to change its DNA.

On the third day, I carefully put it all back in its packaging as best I could. I drove all the way back to the Apple Store. I knew Apple had a 7-day, no questions asked, full money back guarantee. I handed it back to a rep. They of course asked, “Was there a problem? Or something you didn’t like?” My reply—

“Meh.” And then I left.


I struggle with distractions

To say that I “struggle” with distractions is a HUGE understatement.

Some time ago, I saw the following idea — sorry, I forget where — and I wanted to share it. (I’ve no idea if/how you would do this on non-Apple-IOS devices, sorry.) Ready?

Move EVERYTHING off of the home screen.

This is not the lock screen on my phone — THIS IS THE HOME SCREEN. When I unlock the phone, this is what I see. Nothing. The frequent-apps/dock is empty, and all the apps are ‘rightward’ in other screens. And they’re just in a jumbled mess because I never swipe off this screen.

Instead, I swipe down and type in the search field.

Perhaps you’re thinking, “so what?”

It changes your life. I spent weeks (after making this change) waking up my phone, staring at this screen and thinking, “wait, why did I wake up my phone?” Now I think, “what’s the weather going to be?” wake the phone, swipe down, type ‘w-e’ touch weather app. Etc. Wake the phone, do exatcly what I want, close phone.

Yes, this does still require a small bit of discipline to not double-tap Home and swipe through the running apps, but I never was a big user of that anyway.

If you’re paying close attention, you’ll note my phone is in “do not disturb” mode at 1:30 in the afternoon. That’s another pro-tip. Add EVERYONE you’d ever want a call from to your VIP list. Disable the “ring through” feature (where multiple calls from the same number can push through do not disturb). Then schedule DND from 11:01 to 11:00 daily. <<= …read the ordering of those times carefully.

(…and sorry, no, that is not the one-secret-minute when you could actually call me.)

Any time I’m expecting a call from someone random — car’s in the shop, plumber is expected around 9am — I just turn off ‘do not disturb’. As a bonus, I immediately realize how many junk calls I used to get. I don’t have a problem remembering to turn it back on, and I get a fresh reminder of how delightful it is to have the phone screen my calls.

These days?

My phone now NEVER rings.

Except when it does! …and I discover that it is now always someone I would like to talk to.