We’re very happy to have a guest review by MBBS student and Learning Advocate, Ele Clancey. If you are interested in reviewing an app for the blog, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Name: Forest: Stay Focused
Devices: Available to download on smartphones, android, windows phone and IOS. Can also be downloaded via Chrome and Firefox as apps/add-ons. The Android app version was tested on a Nexus tablet.
Available from: Play Store, Apple Store, Chrome, Firefox.
Price: Android version – free, there are in app purchases. IOS version – £1.99
Type of information: Forest helps you to put down your phone and focus on your work.
For: Anyone who wants help staying focused on a task.
- Main pros – you get to choose how long your break is following a 25 minute study session
- Main cons – on the free version, there are ads each time you have grown a tree
Ever find yourself taking a quick phone break, only to look up 20 minutes later still scrolling through Facebook? Then Forest could be the app for you.
Forest is an app for those of us that need a bit of help staying focused during a study session. You simply plant a seed when you’re ready to start working and in the next 25 minutes it grows from a sapling to a mature tree. There’s one catch – if you click away from the app, the tree dies.
This app is a simple way of getting an uninterrupted 25 minutes of work done at a time. You can choose in the settings whether the tree dies if you click away from the screen. This is useful if you download it on a tablet, and need to use your device for studying. However, I would suggest that downloading it on your phone and selecting the option where you can’t click away from the screen yields best results.
Of course, the aim is to grow not just a tree, but a forest each day. You are able to track your progress and earn points for the number of trees you grow. Once you reach enough points, different kinds of trees become available to you. While you’re studying, motivational sentences scroll across the top of the tree encouraging you to keep going – it may surprise you how many lapses of concentration you have!
Unlike other time management apps this one doesn’t give you a prescribed break, which means you get to choose how much time you take off and just plant another seed when you’re ready to get back to work. Some people may prefer the structure of a timed break, but I enjoyed being flexible with my time off.
This app was very easy to download and use, and I didn’t find any glitches with it. As I downloaded the free version on my Nexus tablet, there are adverts that appear each time you grow a tree. I found this a bit distracting, but it means that the app comes at no cost to the user.
Overall, I would say this app could be a useful tool for those of us who struggle to concentrate sometimes. I especially liked that the number of study sessions you do are related to the size of forest you grow, which motivated me to stay focused and accumulate trees.
If you are an SGUL student interested in getting more information and advice about time management, visit the Study+ time and task management page on Moodle (SGUL log in required)
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