How Apple Watch helps you get work done

Here's a short collection of Apple Watch tools and how to use them to be more productive.

Apple, iOS, iPhone, Watch, Apple Watch, watchOS

Apple Watch offers several tools that can help you get things done more efficiently. What follows is a short collection of those tools and how to set them up to be most useful.

Reminders on Apple Watch

I use Reminders on my Apple Watch for almost everything – from cooking times to project deadlines to scheduling calls. All it takes is one push on the Digital Crown to summon Siri, and I can then speak the request: “Remind me to attend the group Zoom meeting Friday,” for example, or “Hey Siri, set a timer for two hours,” to help you focus.

What’s great about this is that once you set the Reminder, you don’t need to think about it again. The limitation is that you will only receive one reminder notification at the time you set, but you can change this on your iPhone.

NB: Reminders can be a useful way to take notes that sync across all your Apple devices, but enterprise workers may already have access to a more well-featured Microsoft app, OneNote.

To add alarms:

Open your iPhone (or any synced Apple device with the Reminders app), and open Reminders. Find the reminder you want to edit. Tap it and an i appears; tap this to change the date and time and set other available parameters. It is limiting that you cannot export Reminders into Calendar for more control over alarms, though third-party apps do exist for this (Due and Things are worth a look).


It really doesn’t matter whether you work from home or in an office, Activity is your friend. Take it from me, years of frantic writing on deadline while sitting in a chair gave me a life-long problem with repetitive strain injury; a little more movement and exercise would certainly have helped alleviate that.

This is why I make so much use of the Activity feature. Set targets, meet them, gather awards – and use the hourly reminders to stand up. Your body will thank you. For even better results, use Activity in conjunction with fitness apps such as 7-Minute Workouts or Walk At Home. Take a look at some more ideas of how apps can help you work effectively here.

Notifications and Mail

You can receive notifications on Apple Watch.

  • The good thing about this is that you’ll never miss a notification from an app.
  • The bad thing, however, is precisely the same – you can end up with your Watch festooned in notifications – some of which may make more sense on your iPhone than they do on Apple Watch.

You can limit this:

Open the Notifications section on the Watch app on your iPhone, and then scroll down to the section marked Mirror iPhone Alerts From: Here you can uncheck all the apps you don’t want to receive Notifications on your wrist from on a per-app basis.

You may want to do something about Mail. I’ve already described how to use the VIPs feature in Mail to ensure you don’t receive notifications for any but your most important emails on your devices.

Once you’ve set this up, you can open Watch>Notifications>Mail>Custom and switch all your email account notifications to "Off," leaving only the VIPs set to "On." In the future, you’ll only receive notifications when emails arrive from your most important people.


You don’t need to interrupt your workflow reaching for a computer or a mobile device to send a message – just use Siri and dictation on your Apple Watch. Press the Digital Crown to access Siri (unless you have Hey Siri activated on the device, which I don't recommend), name the person you want to send a message to and say what you wish to say.

Unfortunately, Siri won’t let you send an email in this way. But it will let you dictate a reply to a Mail or WhatsApp message; just scroll to the bottom of the Notification screen and tap Reply.

Apple Pay, the ultimate contactless payment system

On the Apple Watch, Apple Pay is the ultimate contactless payment system. Because it is tied to your iPhone and activated with its own passcode, the system doesn’t require you to authorize payments using Touch or Face ID.

[Also read: Why you need an Apple Watch at work]

How is this helpful?

As we endure the pandemic, even remote workers need to safely pay for groceries, and as people are forced to return to work, Apple Pay on the watch lets you pay for public transportation fast – and it also means you won’t need to search for phone or wallet.

To add a card to the Apple Watch:

Open the Watch app on your iPhone, go to My Watch and tap Wallet & Apple Pay. Tap Add Card and then follow the instructions to set the card up on your device.

Useful Apple Watch tips

A handful of useful tips to help you use your Apple Watch more effectively:

Cover the screen: The fast way to turn off whatever app you happen to be in.

Double press the Digital Crown: Swap between the watch face and your last used app.

Control Center: Swipe up to access Control Center, where you can easily flick Do Not Disturb on and off, a quick way to set the scene for better focus.

Rotate the crown: While your Watch display tends to remain dim until you move it toward your face, you can take a sneak peek at what’s there by winding the Digital Crown forward to illuminate the screen.

You may also want to take a look at: 12 Apple Watch tips for busy people.

Please follow me on Twitter, or join me in the AppleHolic’s bar & grill and Apple Discussions groups on MeWe.

Copyright © 2020 IDG Communications, Inc.

It’s time to break the ChatGPT habit
Shop Tech Products at Amazon