Forest: An app to keep you focused

Aren’t gadgets wonderful? Phones, tablets, computers – there’s no end to the ways we can amuse ourselves digitally.

…and that can be a problem if you want to get something done.

It takes a stretch of focus to create something new or even just take care of the day-to-day details of life.  If you’re constantly checking you phone you might be missing out on any number of real world opportunities, even if it’s just the opportunity to let your mind rest a bit.

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Enter Forest – the app that aims to help keep you focused by making NOT using your phone / browser / etc into a game.

Set a timer and work on something else – a tree slowly grows for each chunk of time you set aside and that becomes a forest.  You have the opportunity to ‘give up’ which results in a withered tree in your forest.

I’ve been using forest for a few days now. I think it’s helped me to not be constantly glued to my phone screen, although it remains to be seen if that will stick.

A feature that I would love to see is the way to track use of ‘time wasting’ apps vs ‘productive’ app.  Instead of manually setting a timer when I wanted to focus, I’d love to see something that was more automatic in its representation of phone time.

Ideally that would mean that the forest grows whenever the phone is not in use, but growth is stunted with regular use and you could set ‘toxic’ apps like Facebook that would kill off trees for use beyond a certain time limit.

You can grab Forest for free on iOS, Android, Windows Phone, Chrome and Firefox.  The free version shows ads, but you can pay to have them removed. You can also ‘whitelist’ apps that remain useable without killing the timer.

If you have trouble focusing and find yourself wasting too much time on your phone this might be the app for you. Check out forestapp.cc for more info.

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