STAY AWARE OF IMPORTANT CALLS AND MESSAGES
Picture this. You're busy in the kitchen ─ chopping veggies, marinating meat, doing the dishes, whatever ─ and the phone rings. Normally, it's a toss-up between ignoring the call and hoping it's nothing important, or having to quickly wash up and make a dash for the phone. But if you're wearing a smartwatch, you can see who's on the line and decide if it's worth picking up.
The smartwatch also comes in handy when you're prepping for a dinner party and you don't want to miss important "Help, I'm lost!" messages from your friends, when your hands are full with groceries and your phone's not readily accessible, or when you're rushing to get somewhere and don't really want to be slowed down by any unimportant calls.
Plus, smartwatches like the new Samsung Gear S3 let you answer a call right from your smartwatch, so it's even less of a hassle.
It can be a bit rude or annoying for co-workers when sound alerts are left on, but the downside of silent mode is that sometimes, we end up missing calls and messages altogether when we're too engrossed in our work.
The smartwatch tackles that conumdrum easily. You'll never miss the notification because you'll feel the vibration on your wrist. It's especially useful when you're at a meeting ─ you can glance at the call or message, without having to attend to your phone and suffer annoyed glares from your boss.
SMART REPLIES AND SCRIBBLED MESSAGES
You're in the midst of a manicure, and your BFF texts you to discuss where to meet for dinner later. Instead of risking smudges on your newly lacquered nails to reach for the phone in your bag, select one of the suggested smart replies or scribble a handwritten message on your smartwatch's screen.
SKIP HUNTING FOR YOUR CREDIT CARD
It took me a while to get on the e-wallet bandwagon, but once I got to it, I realised it's so convenient I'd opt to pay that way every chance I could.
When I'm out, the phone is usually in my hand so it's seamless to continue paying with my smartphone than to keep the phone, fish for the wallet, take out the card, and awkwardly hold onto my wallet while waiting for the cashier to complete the transaction. The fewer things I have to juggle in my hand, the fewer things I stand to misplace.
Hence it's just a matter of following the same line of thought by extending this contactless payment to the smartwatch. You're already wearing your watch, so all you need to do is double press the side button of your Apple Watch (it's also as easy as long-pressing the Back key on your Samsung Gear), key in your watch pin, and tap the watch against the reader.
There's another reason you should consider setting up the e-wallet on both your watch and phone: As backup for the rare (but the possibility is there, admit it) occasion when you're left stranded without your wallet. If at least your NFC-enabled smartphone has an e-wallet already, you can still pay for your food/shopping and book a cab home on Uber/Grab.
FOR THE DISCOUNTS AND PERKS
Apple and Google have been working hard to get people to give their e-wallets a go, and we the consumers only stand to benefit. For instance, you get a 12 per cent rebate on your food bill at Crystal Jade when you charge to a DBS/POSB card via Apple Pay. And Android Pay has run several rounds of promotions with Fairprice to give $3 discounts if there's a minimum spend of $20. Just keep your eyes peeled for the promos.
GO FOR A WORKOUT OUTDOORS WITHOUT YOUR PHONE
It used to be that you couldn't really go for a run without your phone, if you want to track your route and distance. But smartwatches like the Samsung Gear S3 and Apple Watch Series 2 now come with built-in GPS that allows them to track your run even when there's no mobile data or wifi available. Now you can leave the phone behind and keep your runs lightweight.
DON'T WORRY ABOUT THE LAPS - FOCUS ON YOUR SWIM
If swimming is your idea of exercise, you'll want to go for watches like the Apple Watch Series 2 and Pebble 2 + Heart Rate, which are water resistant up to 50 and 30 metres respectively. The Apple Watch's built-in Workout app will also count your laps and identify your strokes; as for the Pebble, you can download apps like Swimio motion to track laps, or even race against a digital pacing buddy.
TIME ANYTHING, ANYTIME
The timer app doesn't seem very sexy, but it's become one of my go-to apps on the smartwatch. Gone are the mornings of reheating my breakfast repeatedly because it's gone cold by the time I remember to go back to the pantry. Gone are the oversteeped teas. I'm even flipping better steaks because I can keep a tab on how long I've seared each side.
GET OFF YOUR BUTT
We all know the perils of being too sedentary but let's face it, it's too easy to lose track of time when you're engrossed in your work, only to realise you've not left your office chair since lunch.
Your smartwatch can give that gentle nudge to at least stand up every hour. Even if you don't walk around anywhere, standing up regularly is a good start towards reducing your risk of obesity and improving your lifespan.
It's also a good idea to prominently display on your watch the number of steps you've taken each day. Sometimes, the reality doesn't quite hit home until the numbers are in your face. When you realise that, between cabbing to work and ordering lunch in, you've not even clocked a 1,000 steps all day, you'll feel a lot more motivated to try harder the next day.
WORK CALM INTO YOUR WORKDAY
You've probably heard of this already: Meditating is a great way to relieve work stress . The slow breathing exercises during meditation will help to put a leash on stress hormones like adrenalin and cortisol that wreck damage to your body.
Yet pretty often, we don't get round to it, putting up excuses like "I don't have time for it right now," "I'll do it later when I get home," or even "I don't know where to start".
So here's the thing. The Apple Watch comes pre-loaded with a Breathe app (there are numerous similar apps for Android smartwatches) that will remind and guide you through an easy, one-minute meditation. It's really discreet, so you can do it at your desk without anyone noticing, and the commitment is so little that you'll realise there's no real excuse not to bother.
I particularly like Breathe's haptic feedback feature. The watch vibrates during the "inhale" portion, and that allows me to follow the breathing exercise without even looking at the phone ─ nifty for getting some meditation in during my commute!
NEVER MISS A SONG YOU WANT TO LOOK UP
Any time you hear a song you want to track down, just fire up Shazam on your smartwatch (I like to keep the widget right on the watch face). The couple of seconds you save could make the difference between Shazam getting enough music sample to do a search... and not.
USE IT AS A REMOTE FOR YOUR SMARTPHONE CAMERA
It's perfect for wefies. You can tap on your smartphone to "press the shutter" on your shot, or use it to initiate a countdown timer.
FIND YOUR PHONE
Because we've all had instances where we can't find our phone, and the damn thing is in silent mode. Technically, you can go online (here if you've got an iPhone, and here for Android phones) to force your phone to ring, but that involves several steps and recalling your account password.
But if you've got a smartwatch, it's a lot less hassle. On the Apple Watch, for instance, I only need to swipe up and tap on the phone icon to get the iPhone beeping.