I've been a fan of the Apple Watch for a long time. I've used a Series 4 for a couple of years, and it's been great for helping me be productive as someone who has worked from home for a while now.

In September, we saw two new versions of the Apple Watch, the Series 6, and the SE, both of which brought some great improvements. I've been using the Series 6 since, and in addition to the improved always-on display, the battery life has been a game-changer. If you're someone who received one over the holidays, you might be curious about some of the ways it can help you be productive as well. 

Here are seven reasons the Apple Watch is the perfect device for starting off right in 2021.

1. Focus

One of the most challenging things this past year, for many people, is that it's much harder to focus when you're working from home. Add to that the constant stream of notifications that show up on your iPhone or Mac, and it can be hard to get anything done. 

The Apple Watch is a great way to filter those notifications. Unlike the iPhone, you're a lot less likely to look at your Apple Watch, get distracted, and suddenly realize you spent the last hour watching unrelated YouTube videos. You can also turn on "do not disturb" on your Mac, but still get your most important notifications on your Watch, making it easier to focus without constant distractions.

2. Get In Shape

Say what you want about New Year's resolutions, but by far the most common are to exercise more or to lose weight. If that's you, the Apple Watch is a great way to help measure your progress and keep you accountable. Beyond just the "close your rings," motivation, the integration between the Watch and Apple's new Fitness+ is really good. So good that you might actually stick with your resolution a little longer this year.

3. Stay Connected 

The flip side of managing your notifications is that in many cases, you do want to be connected. Even when you're trying to focus, there are still people you want to be sure are able to reach you. The Apple Watch makes that easy, without the distraction of using your iPhone.

In addition, Apple introduced Family Setup, which makes it possible to link multiple Apple Watches to one iPhone. This means the Apple Watch is a great way to keep connected with family members who don't have an iPhone, like a younger child. 

4. Siri Reminders

I've long said that my favorite Apple Watch feature is the integration between Siri and the Reminders app. Basically, you can simply say, "Hey Siri, remind me to send the proposal when I get to the office," and she'll know when you get there and give you a friendly reminder. 

Sure, you may not be going to the office much right now, but it's 2021, and that means there's hope that we'll be getting out a lot more often this year. By the way, I know Alexa can do that, but most people aren't wearing her on their wrist. Even if you are, I still think Siri is more convenient since she automatically syncs with your iPhone, iPad, and Mac.

5. Timers

Like reminders, I find the Apple Watch great for setting timers. This is a really useful feature heading into the new year, especially if you've decided to be more productive with your schedule or routine. If I'm working on a project, or writing, I'll use Siri to set a timer on my Apple Watch, and then shut everything else off. 

There are apps you can use for this, but inevitably, I just forget. I always have my watch with me, however, and there's really nothing more simple than saying, "Hey Siri, set a timer for a half-hour." 

6. Unlock Your Mac

It's not really a secret that you can unlock your Mac with your Apple Watch. It is, however, especially convenient if you spend a lot of time on Zoom meetings. I try to make it a habit to get up and walk away from my computer between meetings, and not having to type in my passcode every time is a nice touch. 

By the way, not only can your Apple Watch unlock your Mac, you can use it to authorize passwords or ApplePay transactions. You can even use it with apps like 1Password, so that instead of remembering all kinds of passwords for all of the sites you log into every day, you simply confirm using your Watch. 

7. Track Your Sleep

I get that sleep tracking is something most people aren't sure why they would use. Then I tried it. Let's just say that after using it, I'm a big fan. The truth is, most of us aren't getting enough sleep, or aren't sleeping as well as we should. Unfortunately, it's easy to ignore until you're staring at your sleep habits in an app.

One of the reasons it's really good on the Apple Watch Series 6 is the battery life is really good. I usually charge my Watch for a bit before bed, then I put it on and wear it until the next day. If you're not sure if you would want to wear a watch overnight, I find that the normal Sport Band is very comfortable. 

In addition, I'm a big fan of the silent alarm, where your Apple Watch will tap your wrist when it's time to wake up. It actually works really well, and the side benefit is that you don't have to disturb anyone else--which is especially helpful if you're an early riser.