Whether you're working on an essay, writing a book or trying to complete some other project, staying focused on what you need to do can be hard. Forest is an app from Seekrtech, a company that invites you to "gamify your life". The app is ostensibly a Pomodoro style timer tool, but it goes far beyond the famous tomatoey helper.
As you might have guessed from the name, the app is linked to trees. Trees are your incentive to keep doing what you are supposed to be doing. When you start working, you plant a tree and it will grow as you work; if you lose focus, it will die.
Keep focused for a long enough period and you can start to build a bigger and bigger forest. It might sound a little silly at first, but it's a fun side of the gamification approach. As an added bonus, the company behind the app will also arrange for real trees to be planted in the world if you choose to spend the virtual currency you can earn in Forest. For anyone environmentally minded, this is a nice little extra.
The idea behind Forest is fairly simple. The growth of a tree acts as a timer when you are working on your computer. If you pick up to phone, unless you are using one of the apps you have added to your "allowed" list – there could, after all, be mobile apps you need to use for whatever you are doing.
In addition to simply growing trees in the app, you can also earn rewards and unlock achievements the longer you stay focused. Forest can even be used if you are working as part of a team, and you can tap into the app to stay focused collectively.
But whether you are working alone or not, Forest gives you a neat breakdown of how you are spending you have been spending your time on a daily, weekly, monthly or even yearly basis. You can also see how your phone screen time breaks down, and you might be surprised about what you learn about your working and non-working habits.
The Android version of the app is free, although if you want to synchronise across multiple devices you will need to pay for the Pro version. Sadly for iPhone and iPad users, there is no free version available.
A great, fun way to keep on top of what you need to do. If you are someone who struggles to stay focused on the task in hand, Forest can give you a little extra incentive to knuckle down and get the job done.