Planting the Seeds of Productivity


By MATP Staff Member Laura Hall

If you know me, or follow my blogs, you may have noticed that I have an affinity for assistive technology and apps that assist with focus and productivity.  I think this is because I live with anxiety, and in times when I feel anxious, overwhelmed and stuck, I  search for things that will get me moving again.  It is a theme that comes across in many of my blogs including:

Screenshot of dead sapling with text reading "Oops! You can do Better Next Time"

Oops! You can do better next time”

I recently found another productivity app that seems to have me moving in the right direction again.  Forest is a simple productivity tool or the iPhone, Android, Windows, and Chrome, whose purpose is to keep you from being distracted by your phone and other things.  You start with a tiny sapling, and  press the “plant” button.   The point is to pay attention to a task by leaving your phone alone for a 25 minutes (default, you can increase the time) or the tiny sapling on your screen dies.

If, however, you succeed in focusing on a task for the entire length of time, you can plant your tree in a field.  Over time, the field becomes a grove, and the grove becomes a forest.    The app also allows you to schedule breaks, tells you when to get back to work.

Screenshot of Forest's planting a real forest screenEach time you focus for 25 minutes you get 9 points, and you receive more points for focusing for longer periods of time.  You can use these points to “buy” different types of trees and bushes for your forest.  Best of all, if you accumulate 2500 points, you can redeem them for a donation to Trees for the Future to plant a live tree!

The app also allows you to tag your activities during planting sessions, allowing you to keep track of work, sleep, exercise, etc.  You can also connect the app to your Facebook account, share your progress and compete with friends.

There are many devices and apps for productivity; to-do lists, timers, reminders, goal achievement.  Many of these are mentioned in a webinar we held on “AT to Achieve Your New Year’s Resolutions”

It’s a simple, silly concept but sometimes you need just that bit of fun to nudge you in the right direction.   I planted two trees while completing this blog…hooray!


What do you think? Let us know!