I came to a realization recently – ironically while walking my dog – that ever since I got my first FitBit a few years back, I’ve been leading a very step-focused life. And if I’m being honest with myself, this is why my creative drive has taken a steep dive these last 4-5 years. Let me explain.
The FitBit – and by extension, most health-focused smart watches (such as my Gear S3 or Samsung’s latest offerings in the Galaxy Watch / Galaxy Watch Active) – have as their main feature a step count. They’ve branched out to include heart rate monitoring and other fun stuff, but the main draw is that these are smart devices that track your steps in a better way than those simple pedometers.
At the basic level, most of these devices try to encourage you to reach 10,000 steps (even though that’s an arbitrary number and there are probably better numbers to reach; but that’s not important right now) every day. On top of that, in both the FitBit and Samsung software ecosystems at least, there are communities where you can add friends and join challenges (most of the time the challenges are to earn the most steps, but there are other kinds as well). I would say that the goal is to get the wearers more active in general.
This is overall great for me; I do feel motivated to move more and be more active. I wouldn’t say that I was a complete couch potato prior to putting on a FitBit, but this is the point I’m getting at; I’ve found that my main driving force every day seems to be “put the watch on to make sure I capture all my steps – I need to get my steps!” This extends to make it important enough to wear my watch at night. Tracking sleep is useful, sure, but the truth is I’m more worried about catching those steps between the bed and the bathroom in the middle of the night.
I used to read a lot more often during the week at work. Now, I go for a walk more often than not (unless the weather is particularly bad). Especially if I see a low step total by lunch time (anything less than 3000 is cause for an extra walk), I feel the need to take a short 20 minute walk around the block. I’m not complaining entirely; I mean, it’s usually nice to get out of the office and enjoy the fresh air, even in the winter.
But I think it’s also leaving me frustrated creatively. Why don’t I take some time to read or create something instead of going out at lunch? Sometimes I try to do both, but it doesn’t always work out. More importantly what I’m trying to do is let go of my attachment to my smart watch. Oh I’ll wear it every day, but I’m trying to be less worried about my step totals. Perhaps one way around that might be to find a watch face that doesn’t put my steps right in my face.
I’m also going to be lowering my daily step goal. Right now it’s set at 10690 or something to that effect. I’m not going to lower it to something ridiculously low like 2000, but I think I’ll be able to find a sweet spot that allows me to hit it consistently (although not necessarily every day, to keep it something I can work toward).
I feel like this kind of change will help steer me away from being worried about making sure I have enough steps during the day. That’s the first change here. The next step to increasing my creativity is probably unrelated to this, so I won’t get into it (plus, I don’t know what that is right now).