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My wife recently received a digital wrist watch (Casio Baby GShock) as a gift. She is a teacher and uses the watch for (other than quickly telling the time) timing her lessons, other presentations and administered tests. I helped her set the time and date on the watch and then explored the features.

The watch has a countdown setting, stopwatch and several custom daily reminder alarms. It also has a calendar with date reminders and a simple data bank. It's nothing special. My initial reactions were that it's a straightforward and efficient tool. (I had forgotten just what digital wristwatches could do.) I find it an appealing tool. The watch was simple to use after about 15-20 minutes with the instruction manual and some tinkering.

It made me wonder about how a digital watch could be used to replace and/or enhance features found in organizational software (mobile and desktop) in a more efficient way. Examples might be the Pomodoro technique or maybe using the data bank to store peg words.

Does anyone currently or even recently have experience with using a digital watch to help improving productivity they would recommend compared to software alternatives?

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Watches are a neglected tool. My biggest issues are that most of them take a (relatively) long time to do simple things, and that most make noise whereas I usually want a vibration.

My mutewatch solves both of those problems, although introduces some new ones unique to it.

I had high hopes for my motoactv but there's no SDK yet.

I had an earlier version of WatchMinder, and may try the latest incarnation (the first was almost completely unusable, and the directions were... atrocious, I had to rewrite them so I could understand it). For all its warts, for some types of things it's currently unbeatable.

My current hopes are pinned on what I consider "crossover" devices like the wimm, but they need to be smaller.

At one point I'd hacked a bracelet that was mostly for countdowns, with a few different modes for setting them. I hope to Kickstarter it within a month or two, I just have to rebuild it.

Update 9 Oct 2015

  • No Kickstarter ;)
  • Dropped MotoACTV for a couple of different smart watches, which I'm still largely unhappy with, but the current crop will probably satisfy most of my needs.
  • Still using bands for fitness tracking and they're getting better. Looking forward to my Angel.
  • A couple of WIPs will replace the WatchMinder, which I no longer use.
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With that type of watch I can not think a case, in everyday use, where it would be more usable and productive to use watch, compared to mobile phones. Mobile phones are always with us and with smartphone boom and apps for them you can do almost everything. And good thing about smartphones is that they are very easy and fast to use with touchscreen, have many use cases, sync to cloud, have apps for everything, have many sensors and notification posibilities, etc. But, new types of watches are coming, like this They combine both worlds.

That kind of watch that you were speaking about is very good for some prolonged outdoor experience. For example if you like to camp or hike and go in nature for a few days smartphone battery just wont last that long and it is not that reliable (for example what if it is raining). There are cheap watches nowdays with barometer, compass, altimeter, heart rate monitor, advanced alarm features that are very useful in such situations when you go out of civilization for a few days. Good example of company who make such watches is Suunto

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I disagree. The advantage the watch gives is that it's just there, you don't have to dig around in a pocket to retrieve it or go look for where you set the phone (both of which have become more common now that smartphones have big screens). – Brian Knoblauch Nov 8 '11 at 20:05
I agree with Brian - I always have my watch with me, and it is never at risk of running out of battery. The same can not be said for my mobile phone. – Rory Alsop Nov 28 '11 at 11:37
@BrianKnoblauch Please read the question first. "Does anyone currently or even recently have experience with using a digital watch to help improving productivity they would recommend compared to software alternatives?" If you want to use watch to improve productivity, I assumed you are in a working or home enviroment, and in that case my answer is perfectly fine. And it works for at least 1 person,me... – Saša Šijak Nov 29 '11 at 6:51
I did read the question. Perhaps you should go back and read it again yourself. "She is a teacher"... – Brian Knoblauch Nov 29 '11 at 12:32
And some of us don't carry mobile phones everywhere, nor do we have a reason to do so. – HLGEM Aug 20 '13 at 19:50

I'm a 21 year old student who had never worn a watch regularly until about six months ago. I now hate to leave the house without it and usually try to keep one in my car. Having my watch on my wrist whether it is a digital or analog makes it so easy to see the time. On my digital I can easily set alarms, up to three on mine, to remind me of things during the day. My time management has definitely improved someone due to having a watch. Part of that is just the development of time-awareness which I didn't have at the same degree as before.

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The comment by Sasa Sijak, made me realize that it is indeed better to rely on a simple digital watch rather than your smartphone if you are on a nature trip. Your battery will be exhausted searching for signal!! Just when I thought the digital watch was going to be obsolete soon! You still need a good old watch to rely on for certain things.

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