Can you “ask for leave” from Apple Watch? Ridiculous, but also true

You can "ask for leave" from your watch.

In the latest release of watchOS 11, Apple has added more customization options to the activity record ring, including the new function of being able to pause the ring for a day, a week or even longer without affecting the continuous record medals.

This has quickly become one of the most highly praised new features of Apple Watch. Before this, there were posts on the foreign forum Reddit almost every few months asking Apple to add a training ring pause function to Apple Watch. Every post would have Hundreds of users participate in discussions.

Why does a function that allows you to "ask for leave" from your watch attract so much attention?

Turning people into data and turning sports into indicators are lazy designs.

Perhaps for people who don't have the habit of using Apple Watch for fitness, this is a very strange function – it's normal to take time off from work, but you also have to "take time off" while wearing a watch to exercise?

This is a bit ridiculous.

However, for many people who insist on checking in for fitness, the "asking for leave" function is a very practical function, because for many people, completing health goals has increasingly become a kind of "psychological pressure." A netizen on Reddit said:

This is definitely a "psychological issue", but if the Apple Watch had a rest day function, I wouldn't think it was self-deception and I could stick to it.

Many domestic netizens also said that they have developed a kind of "closed-loop obsessive-compulsive disorder" in order to achieve fitness goals:

Some users even said that they had to give up their Apple Watch because there was no rest day function:

The interruption of my winning streak due to illness made me realize that I was only shutting down exercise for my obsessive-compulsive disorder, not for my health.

Regarding these troubles, the famous psychologist Edward Deci calls them the "overjustification effect":

When extrinsic incentives are introduced into an activity that is otherwise driven by intrinsic motivation, it reduces intrinsic interest in the activity.

He once conducted such an experiment——

First, several college students were divided into two groups and the participants were asked to assemble a cube puzzle. The time the participants voluntarily spent on the puzzle was recorded as baseline data, representing their intrinsic motivation.

The participants were then divided into two groups: one group received a cash reward for completing the puzzle; the other group completed the puzzle as before but without any reward. Finally, all participants performed the puzzle task again without any external intervention, and the time taken was recorded.

The results showed that participants who received the cash reward spent significantly less time voluntarily working on the puzzle in the third phase, indicating that their intrinsic motivation decreased when the external reward was removed. In contrast, participants who did not receive the bonus performed similarly to Phase 1 in the third phase, with no significant changes in their intrinsic motivation. Show us the subtle influence of external incentives on intrinsic motivation.

In fact, everyone knows the importance of good work and rest and exercise, but the actual problem is that fitness is ultimately a difficult and correct thing. For most people, maintaining long-term exercise habits is not an easy task.

So Apple introduced a gamification design mechanism to transform the original abstract amount of exercise into a visual "ring", turning the originally boring exercise into a game task – closing three rings.

In order to strengthen the incentive effect of completing tasks, Apple has designed a large number of exquisite "sports medals". Users can also share achievements and compete with family and friends, thus forming an atmosphere of mutual reminder and common progress.

However, there is also a problem with this incentive mechanism: in the process, many people gradually begin to transform the intrinsic motivation of sports (health and happiness) into the extrinsic rewards of pursuing rings and badges. This transformation transforms exercise from a spontaneous, enjoyable activity into a task that must be completed to achieve a goal or clock in.

As time goes by, when rings and badges gradually lose their freshness, the effect of external incentives gradually weakens, and instead becomes a burden. Users will naturally lose their enthusiasm, just like the students in Desi's experiment.

When Apple observed the problem, the solution it provided was to let people "ask for leave" from the system. This seemed to provide a very humane option, but in fact it was obviously just a "lazy" behavior.

Because under the premise that the user's sports goals have been kidnapped by external motivations, the "leave" function is actually only a short-term avoidance of the pressure on the system. In the final analysis, it still does not escape the dilemma of being kidnapped by technology and mechanisms. Users are still driven by the reward mechanism of the system, rather than out of love for health and exercise itself.

This is undoubtedly a problem, but many manufacturers are trying to change their strategies to return users' focus to the body and exercise itself.

For example, brands such as Fitbit and Garmin have launched a comprehensive "readiness score" that integrates the previous night's sleep quality, sleep time, recent exercise intensity and frequency, etc., to help users understand their physical recovery status and preparation for strenuous activities. level to make more informed training and recovery decisions.

When the readiness score is high, users are advised to train at a high intensity as this indicates that their body is recovering well, whereas when the score is low, it is recommended to opt for low-intensity activities or rest to avoid overtraining or injury.

The purpose of this feature is to help users optimize their health and fitness plans, ensuring the right activities are performed at the right time, thereby improving overall health and performance. Some users said:

If it weren't for the Apple Watch's features like replying to messages and using Siri, I would still be using my Fenix.

Compared with Apple's open custom ring function, this approach puts the problem in front, uses data to speak, allowing users to understand their own situation and make independent choices, which is obviously a good solution.

In addition, the Gentler Streak Fitness Tracker, which recently won the Apple Design Award, also does a good job. Its biggest feature is the use of a green channel to intuitively display physical fitness levels and fatigue levels. The three tones on the path represent respectively Exercise intensity suitable for your physical fitness level. Use the position of the dot to indicate the relationship between the amount of exercise on that day and your physical fitness status:

  • Dark area above: Exercising too hard
  • Middle: The exercise intensity is very suitable
  • Below: You are already lying flat on the edge

▲ The empty circle represents that there is training on that day, and the filled circle represents that there is no training that day.

The reason for this design, according to official description, is that people's physical fitness level is not completely positively correlated with training. Even if you clock in every day, if the exercise intensity is not enough, your physical fitness level may not grow. Reasonably arranging the body's exercise and rest rhythm may be a better choice.

Therefore, Gentler Streak not only does not have the concept of exercise check-in, but also has a "rest today" function to remind users: whether to rest or exercise should be comprehensively decided based on their own status – follow their feelings.

Some users said that the reason they like Gentler Streak is that it has rest days and "sick/injured" options.

In fact, the reason why Gentler Streak is so well-received is that it is not a "check-in app" that forces exercise, but is designed to be a "barometer" of physical status.

By presenting the user's physical state in an intuitive way, it not only returns the initiative of exercise to the user, but also allows users to see their own growth in exercise, which is a good attempt to stimulate people's inner enthusiasm for exercise.

Return to natural daily life and resist the transgression of technology

In fact, whether we care about it or not, the relationship between technical systems and people has always existed, and has even been integrated with our lives with the development of technology.

In his book "The Philosophy of Technology", the American philosopher of technology Albert Borgmann divided reality into three types: natural reality, cultural reality, and technological reality.

Natural reality is some of the natural phenomena we see; cultural reality constructs a world full of meaning and value through language, art, religion, law, etc.; and technical reality is changed through tools, machines, infrastructure, information technology, etc. human living conditions and social structure.

These three realities work together to shape the face of our modern society and the way humans live.

But in many cases, when technology becomes our "daily life", it also gradually takes away the natural "daily life" in our lives.

For example, urban commuting simplifies the detailed journey into two "dots" on the map. Although social media has improved the efficiency of information exchange, it has also replaced face-to-face communication and the interest in in-depth reading to a certain extent…

This is not just a matter of watch or punch-in incentive design, but the result of technology penetrating into all aspects of life.

Another typical example is the recently released comedy movie "Retrograde Life". This movie about the life of a deliveryman not only has an endearing style, but also stars well-known actors such as Xu Zheng and Jia Bing. Even before it is released, you can often see some funny or heartwarming clips released by the official on short video platforms.

However, many netizens did not buy it after seeing it, thinking that this movie is likely to become a clichéd sensational film that does not look directly at the real plight of delivery workers, and is suspected of avoiding the important and trivial. For delivery workers in real life, in addition to the difficulties in life, the technical system represented by algorithms has also crossed the line. The company's excessive pursuit of efficiency has led to the result that delivery workers are "trapped in the system."

Obviously, technical systems are only tools and means to achieve results rather than ends, and the experience of being a human being is the most important.

In her book "Technology and Virtue: A Philosophical Guide to a Desirable Future," Shanon Vallor, professor of philosophy at the University of Edinburgh and artificial intelligence ethicist, calls the ability to "grasp technology" "technological virtues" and says:

How to live well with technology, especially those technologies that are still emerging, have not yet become fixed, and are seamlessly embedded in the human environment, is a special virtue that people in the era of deep technologicalization need to cultivate.

Just like in sports check-in products, how to return the product from an indicator that pursues efficiency to a tool for achieving healthy life and explore the real needs behind users' pursuit of medals is a proposition truly worth exploring.

Do you really care about that little medal? A better self is the best reward.

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