The mobile phone is one of the main culprits that cause procrastination. If fifteen years ago one would have pondered whether to sit at the computer instead of doing dishes, today you can throw yourself on a sofa with the phone in one hand and a soda drink in the other, avoiding bad postures and dishwashing detergent altogether. Here's where Forest: Stay Focused comes in.
You install the Forest app to have a reason not to touch your phone for a set duration of time. If you manage to do that, you will be rewarded with a beautiful green bush or with a tree. The point is to grow as many trees as you can by doing nothing on your phone, except resetting the counter once in a while.
The system allows you to cheat, however. Nothing is stopping you from minimizing the app. You even get a timer in the notifications screen if you do. Halting the counter is strictly linked to your input and honesty. I can't complain about this. After all, a phone is a phone. You might get a call, or have to write a quick message. None of the activities on your phone will disturb Forest from counting, so the app is as accurate as you allow it to be. The full version seems to allow whitelisting of apps. Does this mean that the free version is bugged or that the full version is more restrictive? I will never know.
Every tree that you have grown will begin populating a small patch of land for the day. You can review your buddying young forest as seen for the current day, month or year. When you set-up a time-out counter, you can also designate the ongoing pursuit, so in retrospect, you can also filter your past exploits based on activities.
Every time you grow something, you will also get a handful of coins. With every 500 coins spent you can unlock custom trees and bushes for making your forest look more varied. You can even get new sounds. Oh yeah, Forest also features ambiance soundscapes for those who like to keep their headphones stuck in their ears all the time.
This system is all well and good unless you work in front of a computer, where you can get distracted even without looking at your phone. Ah well, you can't cover everything.
The full version unlocks more features, including detailed statistics, achievements, and even a system that turns your purchases into real trees being planted somewhere far from where you are.
- Tasks are represented as trees in a growing forest
- You can assign tags to tasks
- Timeline view
- Tree store - purchase different looking trees and sounds
Forest works as long as you are honest with yourself. The fact that you can essentially cheat your way out the app without influencing the counter seems to defeat its purpose. However, for those who find themselves looking at the screen too often, Forest can be a nice incentive to leave it be and enjoy life for a few minutes.