Goals: Modeling and Making Tech Work at Home

Jason and I went away for the weekend and used part of our Saturday relaxing and planning over coffee (me) and iced green tea (him) at Panera. He had his calendar out, looking at the list of things he wanted to get done this weekend – planning for a couple of trips, booking hotel rooms and flights, going through our mail that had piled up, maybe reading for a while.

I had a stack of post-it notes and my phone – and my own agenda: figure out how to act on a couple of goals I have for myself.

One of the most important goals I had was regarding technology. I know that I am far too attached to my phone and computer. I know because I see how much my son uses his tablet. I know because I am apt to pick up my phone and check it more times than I should. I know because I may have binge-watched 3 seasons of Bones in far less time than I should admit to.

All this technology is useful though. Or it can be. It keeps track of all of our calendars (which is incredible). I can share grocery lists and to-do lists with Jason. It allows me to keep in touch with friends and family from far away. I can listen to audiobooks or read books I’ve downloaded and find answers to burning questions and fill a few minutes with Scrabble games or Voxer messages. I can schedule messages to students or reply to their questions via email.

But as wonderful as this technology is, it sometimes allows us to check out of our lives right in front of us.

So I have been wanting to set some limits on how much I’m using my technology when I’m home with Jr Librarian so I set a good example – a much better example than I have been. But how do I do that and still be able to maintain some of the really useful features that I use throughout the day – like my reminders and alarms and alerts?

The limits, in my mind, should be relatively easy. Jason and I talked it over – and I think using the computer/phone at home should be limited to a couple of blocks during the day: before school (from when I get up to 7 am), lunchtime (12-1 when I’m home), and evening (7-8 pm). I’m thinking that I should be drafting out my blog posts and other writing on paper in my notebook and then typing them up during one of those blocks.

We even decided that the binge-watching on Netflix can happen…as long as I’m on the treadmill AND moving while I’m watching. (We decided that the positive modeling of me getting my butt in gear and exercising was more important than me staring at my computer while I’m doing it.)

Having access to our calendars and Keep lists should still be easily done as we’re planning to set up a Raspberry Pi TV display calendar for our kitchen in the very near future.

I guess what I have been puzzling over is how to keep up on alarms/reminders, potential missed messages/calls. I appreciate the alerts for those things – and I would be okay with knowing they are there so I can see if they need to be handled right away or can be put on the Bullet Journal list of things to do when I next get on my phone or computer.

We happened to be wandering around at a Best Buy also this weekend, looking to see if we could price out some things that we were looking for. I stumbled upon the smart watches. I might have rolled my eyes about these before, but I’m starting to see how one might useful.  It would allow me to triage some of those notifications and set alarms without actually having enough on there to be distracting.

I’m sorry, smart watches, for questioning your reason for being several times over the past year or so. Apparently you can be useful.

So here’s the thing: I am looking for one that wouldn’t be too complicated or wildly expensive. The one I have been looking at is an Android Wear watch – which makes sense as I have an Android phone. The one I specifically have been investigating is the Asus ZenWatch 2 which is currently pricing at $129.99. It seems to be able to do most everything I’m looking to have it do: keep track of steps, manage alerts/notifications, as well as take/send text messages and Google Now reminders. I read also that there is a way to set up rules using IFTTT. Handy.

So what I am wondering is…has anyone else gotten one of these smart watches? If so, what do you have and how do you like it? Do I have reasonable expectations…or am I just going to be frustrated that I have another $129.99 gone on a gadget that doesn’t quite live up to my expectations for it? Or is it just better to post my available “online hours” and everything outside of those hours can just wait?


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