The Forest App: A fun way to focusBy Jackson Bryant | 02/05/2017 10:05pm
I, like a multitude of college students across the nation, suffer from a widespread disease known as distraction.
The instant gratification brought about by the world of technology and smartphones has been both a blessing and a curse relative to my academic career. In the blink of an eye I have been able to obtain homework help, discover the answer to a burning question and quickly email a paper to a friend for proofreading. In the same amount of time, however, I have often found myself whisked away from my task at hand into a seemingly endless realm of Instagram photos and Saturday Down South articles.
As I was browsing through the productivity section of the App Store, searching for virtual tools to aid me in time management, I stumbled across the Forest app. The app contained a subtitle that simply stated “stay focused, be present,” two pieces of advice which I often fail to obey. I reasoned $1.99 was a worthy price to pay for an improved state of mind, so I purchased the app and put it to its initial test as I began to write this post.
The Forest app provides a simple interface in which users can choose from a variety of animated trees to “plant” for a specific period of time (I set my interval to the default setting of 25 minutes). For each interval that is completed without closing the app, the user’s “forest” increases in growth as a reward. On the other hand, users are punished for closing the app by the death of their precious new creation. While in use, the app’s screen rotates with various phrases, ranging from motivational proverbs to humorous commands such as “Don’t look at me!”
Users are also given the option to listen to peaceful sounds of nature while working, with different variations available for purchase. Additionally, the app includes the opportunity for creation of a Forest account, which presents users with the opportunity for competition among family and friends.
I was able to successfully complete my goal of remaining focused for 25 minutes as I composed this article, and was greeted by a warm rush of dopamine as I saw a lone tree spring upward into my new green forest. I will definitely continue to utilize this handy and clever productivity tool as the new semester begins, and the extra motivation certainly aided me in finishing this article in record time.