Like most modern gentlemen reading this publication, I too begin my day with a multitude of items on my to-do list – rarely if ever do I complete all of these tasks I set out to. In an effort to improve how efficient I am, I tried to isolate where exactly my time was evaporating. I quickly stopped lying to myself, and concluded it was my mobile device: “Just a quick scroll through Instagram before I continue this Design Theory paper”, “Ooh that WorldStarHipHop Top 5 Streetfights video can’t be more than few minutes…” and so on and so forth, until I had stretched a simple task much longer than it had to be, simply because I let myself be distracted.

I asked my roommates if they had any tricks, and one suggested I check out the application Forest to supplement my attention discipline. He even went so far as to state that the success he had achieved on his most recent O-Chem test he could largely attribute to the app instilling concentrated periods of studying in him. Obviously I was fascinated, and checked it out immediately.

Forest goes back to the basics – rather than organizing your tasks through some efficiency algorithm, or feeding you self help tips that you already know, Forest simply asks you to set a timer, with the button “Plant” to initiate the timer. A seed on your phone screen appears, and begins to grow into a a tree, its final size corresponding with how long you’ve set your timer for (between 0 & 120 minutes). If you exit the application before the tree has finished growing, and let yourself be distracted, your tree dies and you must begin growth anew. This makes for a simple and incredibly effective tool for when you really have to buckle down. A quick glance over at your phone and now the idea of killing the tree, and your progress, isn’t worth checking for that Snapchat update – you’re in it to win it and that means staying focused.

The number of trees, and types of trees (different trees corresponding with different periods of time) are tracked and presented in a calendar. Your successfully completed time periods can be viewed in the form of day, week, and month breakdowns, and show the forest you’ve grown. I sincerely recommend this application for anyone who lacks discipline when it comes to their mobile device and remaining connected. Whether you’ve got an O-Chem test or are running a hedge fund, this is a forest that helps you grow your productivity.