An Apple Watch, with a few configuration tweaks, quickly becomes more than a fashionable gadget. Here's how I've set up my Watch to serve as a potent business aid throughout a typical day, including everything from commutes and meetings to conference calls, on-site appointments, and hours seated at a desk, depending upon the day.
Some things are overthought. Stick to an uncluttered, easily readable Face. Simplicity is especially important when seeking information quickly, such as occurs glancing at the Watch throughout the day. I've found the Utility Face works best in the office, thanks to its easily read numerals and contrasting date. Customized to display Activity progress, battery charge, and my next appointment, I've found this configuration most useful.
Once you configure the Face, turn attention to sounds. Receiving audible alerts throughout the day is a surefire way to annoy coworkers, interrupt meetings, and otherwise distract colleagues. I recommend muting the Alert Volume, found within the Watch app's Sounds & Haptics section. I enable Cover to Mute, however, thereby enabling muting inbound phone calls by covering the Watch face. I also enable Prominent Haptic and set the Haptic Strength to maximum to ensure I feel the Watch's silent vibrating alerts, especially since I wear the watch slightly loose.
The next step in preparing an Apple Watch for the business day is to load appropriate applications. If you leverage too many apps, the battery life may suffer. I load only those apps I need throughout the business day. As a result, my Watch's battery frequently survives two full work days before requiring recharging.
These are the applications I've enabled within Glances: Calendar, Weather, Activity, Battery, and WSJ.
The Calendar, obviously, reminds me of appointments. Calendar details also provide critical information, including street addresses and conference call information, both of which I've found handy when away from my Mac and needing to confirm a client address or the number to call to join a conference bridge. Weather helps me plan how to dress and determine whether an umbrella is needed, while Activity reminds me to take breaks during days I'd otherwise remain sedentary at my desk. Battery ensures that my Watch receives charging, when necessary, while WSJ keeps me current on breaking financial and business news. Of course, based on the apps you need for work, the formula may change.
Alerts, set from the Watch app's Notifications menu, are a double-edged sword. They are incredibly helpful in notifying you of phone calls and instant messages, for example, but it you set too many Notifications, the alerts quickly become a nuisance. Because you likely don't wish to be notified of every social media update that's posted or every headline, be selective when enabling which applications generate Notifications and what type of alerts are triggered.
What works for you? Have you found other methods of maximizing an Apple Watch at the office? Post your comments below.
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Erik Eckel owns and operates two technology companies. As a managing partner with Louisville Geek, he works daily as an IT consultant to assist small businesses in overcoming technology challenges and maximizing IT investments. He is also president of Eckel Media Corp., a communications company specializing in public relations and technical authoring projects.