David Smith, the prolific developer behind apps like Watchsmith and Widgetsmith, is out with a new Apple Watch app today. “Ian’s Awesome Counter” is a new application for Apple Watch that Smith says is “designed to help you be more focused and aware of yourself.”
In a blog post on his website, Smith explains that this app started as too he created to help his son, Ian, manage and regulate his attention.
My son, Ian, can sometimes have difficulty with regulation and management of his attention. We’ve tried several different strategies for helping him with this. One of the strategies that we found most successful was giving him regular prompts throughout the day and ask whether he thought he was on task and staying focused. This increases personal awareness and gives us a scaffolding against which we can measure progress.
Initially this took the form of a repeating countdown timer and a hand clicker. This worked pretty well, but was rather cumbersome to maintain. Then something rather dramatic happened to push forward this strategy.
Back in 2019 my family and I visited Neuschwanstein Castle in Bavaria. While we walking across the scenic bridge that overlooks the castle, the clicker we were using at the time slipped out of our hands and bounced unfortunately over the edge of the bridge and down the steep ravine beneath us. Yikes!
While on the trip, Smith says he and Ian worked together to create an early version of an Apple Watch app to simulate the hand clicker methodology, and now he’s releasing for everyone. “Getting regular reminders to evaluate if you are on task helps nudge you to be more focused,” Smith explains.
“Ian’s Awesome Counter” is designed purely for the Apple Watch, and you can get started by configuring how often you want to be prompted. Smith explains that if you turn on notifications, you’ll receive a notification asking you if you were on track for that time period.
You can set when the prompts should begin and end each day, and set a goal for how often you want to be “on track.” You can also view your performance over the last week in the History view of the app on Apple Watch.
For people who struggle with time and attention management, “Ian’s Awesome Counter” could be a wonderful solution. The backstory behind the app makes it all the more interesting. As David notes in his write-up, it’s also perfect for the age of Family Setup on the Apple Watch, which allows parents to manage Apple Watches for their kids.
But of course, “Ian’s Awesome Counter” can be used by anyone who is looking for ways to improve attention management, including adults. I’m looking forward to implementing into my daily routine to see how it can impact my focus and attention throughout the day.
You can download the app on the App Store for Apple Watch for free.
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