Note status: :herb:

I’ve been wanting to write about some ways that my smartwatch has helped me deal with the fact that I perceive time differently than most neurotypical people. It’s an example of what Aimi Hamraie has called “ADHD technologies.”1


I use the timer function often—especially when I’m doing any kind of presentation, instruction, or other public speaking. Timers are actually one of the main reasons I initially saved up for my smartwatch. I’d previously used my phone as a timer, only to be occasionally chided by instructors that they found my “checking my phone” during instruction sessions distracting.2

The two most obvious benefits of a smartwatch timer:

  1. it can silently and insistently inform you when your timer is up
  2. it uses the cultural assumption that if you glance at an electronic device on your wrist, you’re checking about time

Timer Apps

Here are the timer apps I use the most:

  1. Apple’s built-in timer is great and displays well in many different faces
  2. Due lets you have multiple timers simultaneously.
    • For instance, you can set a 2 hour timer in Due to remind you of when you need to start making dinner. Then simultaneously you can set a 25 minute timer in Due to keep track of a pomodoro burst of work/focus. On days when you’re really scattered, you can even set smaller simultaneous 5 or 10 minute timers to help remind you to stay on task.
    • Due also can sync between your watch, phone, and computer. Super handy in case you’re not always at your computer!
  3. Time Timer is one that I’ve just started using in the last few days. It displays time “backwards,” by highlighting the time remaining rather than the time elapsed. The same company makes a range of physical timers as well. This app version is currently free during the pandemic. I tend to get up and walk around when I’m thinking. Sometimes it’s to get the wiggles out, sometimes because I truly get distracted, and sometimes because I go look through my bookshelves trying to find a book related to an idea I just had. So for me, a timer strapped to my wrist feels far lot more reliable than a physical one.

Calendars & Time

Here are some things I’ve found about setting up the basic look of the watch, outside of timers or other functions.

Built-in Watch Features

  • putting the date prominently with one of the large complications
  • using the “World Clock” to display digital time in analog faces

Other Apps

  • watchsmith’s week & geometry elements
    • “Week 32” week number complication
    • Geometric representation of the year, highlight today’s dot out of 365 dots in 12 rows… i.e. a geometric representation of the day, which lets me perceive the relative proportions of elapsed and remaining time way better than just looking at the representation “August 27” ever could
  • upcoming calendar events in complications

Changes I Forsee / Todo

- [ ] add images
   - [ ] Watchsmith's week number
   - [ ] Watchsmith's geometric calendar
- [ ] decide if I want to split this into smaller notes
  1. For more on that, check out my About ADHD technologies note. 

  2. Yes, there are more levels to that than I care to go into here. 

:seedling: = emerging note
:herb: = established note
:evergreen_tree: = evergreen note