The case for Apple Watch sick days

My main feature request one week ahead watchOS 7 announcement
Published on June 15, 2020 in Reviews
Read time: 2 min

Sometimes you need to rest and reset
Sometimes you need to rest and reset (credits)

I’ve originally written this blog post during last Xmas holidays. It has been sitting around for maybe too long and now I’d like to share it. It is pretty much a feature request before Apple announces watchOS 7 at WWDC next week. The original blog post follows.

Apple Watch is a great daily companion. I was very skeptical at the beginning, but I’ve decided to go for it on a whim during the Amazon Prime Day last August. Since then I’ve worn it daily, and for 3 months nightly, too (Sleep++ is a great app for tracking your sleep, by the way).

It was great

Keeping track of my day and having that massive amount of data summarized in the Health app just felt great. I felt like I could finally fully monitor my health and lifestyle by looking at clear logs of my activities numbers. And I have to say it fixed some of my routines, made me stand up (and away from keyboard) more often, and helped me squeeze more out of every day. My Move strike kept getting longer and longer.

But after some time, I’ve started being afraid

I was afraid of losing it because of any hitches that may occur, of a day when I’d just not make it. We’re not robots, so setting a daily goal and working for it is just not enough, and because of dopamine running into ourselves, the more we push the more we’re into it. A sick day may ruin it all and even stop our dopamine hike to a dramatic low, letting will fade away with it.

Ok, ok maybe that’s too much, but the point is sick days just happen. When you’re sick the last thing you’ll think of is your Move goals, yet it’s likely to be the first ones as soon as you feel good again. Also, stopping a strike may not be good for your will on the path towards the better you ads keep telling us. The same applies for lazy days or whenever you just need a day off.

Any room for improvements?

Of course, it is. I’d like the next major version of watchOS to feature sick days or days off. I’d expect you to have a finite number of those days each month. You may mark a day as a sick and the strike is suspended, or that day simply won’t sum up, but at least it won’t be interrupted. Another possibility is to automatically lower the daily goals to an acceptable value (adjustable by the user?).

And as you can set incredibly low goals even today, it’ll always be up to you to be honest with yourself.

What to do now?

Until Apple improves this aspect, the solution is simple: just plan ahead, when you can, and don’t be afraid to lower your daily goal on days you are sick.

During last Christmas holidays, I had two weeks off. I had decided to dedicate them to friends and family ahead of time. I set a daily goal 1/3 lower. It was reasonable for me (and I’ve overcome it more than a couple of times) but it let me enjoy those days without thinking about move goals or training. That said, don’t cheat with yourself. Instead, keep it up!

Thanks for reading.


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