Forest App Review: Best Gamification For A Productivity Tool

forest app

Thanks to one of the best gamification systems devoted to focus, Forest is one of the most popular personal productivity apps. That’s why the Forest app has maintained the top position for years in the app stores. If you haven’t already given it a shot, in this article, you will learn what Forest App does and how it could help you stay more present and committed during your work.

The app gives the chance to build a virtual forest whose trees will grow only if the user puts his smartphone aside for thirty minutes of forced distance to your phone, the primary sources of distractions in your life.

Forest App: The Smartphone Addicted Escape

The total dependence on smartphone is now an issue that affects many people. The Forest App’s gamification mechanism is effortless and could work as an antidote. The app allows building a virtual forest whose trees will only grow if the user puts their smartphone aside: up to 120 minutes of forced distance to devote oneself to real projects and combat sources of distraction. 

If the temptation were to turn into reality, we would witness the death of those same plants that will wither before the eyes of their creator.

In most users, this triggers a sense of guilt for not being able to achieve the goal.

Once the focus session is completed, the trees end up in a kind of tiny virtual forest inside your profile. The virtual forest exploits a dynamic of ownership and social interaction. In fact, it is possible to see and compare the forests of one’s friends, triggering the healthy competition spiral.

How to survive the attention economy?

It is not simple to get 60 minutes of pure concentration to study, read a book, or do other cognitive intense activities. Nowadays, you know the outcome. You start a task and interrupt it after a few minutes due to new messages on Whatsapp, notifications on Facebook, emails, the perfect YouTube video recommendation. Smartphones have become the main enemies of concentration.

We live in the attention economy in which the leading web companies compete to get the biggest possible count of eyeballs minutes. Have you ever looked in your smartphone settings about how much time you spend on apps?

How Forest works: the Pomodoro Proctuvity Ultimate Upgrade?

Forest allows you to count your productivity time thanks to a timer that resembles the Pomodoro Technique. The name of the technique derives from the tomato-shaped timers used in the kitchen to monitor cooking times.

The Pomodoro Technique is straightforward, requiring only four steps:

  • Choose an activity to complete
  • Set the timer (usually 25 minutes, but it could be more, or even less)
  • Work without distractions until the timer has sounded
  • Take a break and start from step 1

Forest App Free Version VS Forest App Pro

The primary purpose of Forest App is a simple timer that allows you to take advantage of the tomato technique. Why should you pay for an application that offers a simple timer? Every smartphone has the same function inside the alarm clock app, and it’s free.

The first reason to subscribe to the paid pro version is the fact that once you set the timer, you cannot leave Forest. You can’t pick up the phone to watch Instagram or reply to messages. Your smartphone must stay on Forest; if you close the app, you lose the challenge.

If no more ads are not enough, consider the UX: the customer experience that the app managed to create through gamification is simply astonishing. Forest is not a simple chronometer; it can motivate people with different gamification tricks.

How Forest exploits gamification effectively

The case study is fascinating for the gamification applied to personal productivity. Let’s go into detail and see how gamification is used in Forest.

Quest to overcome

The tomato technique is in itself a challenge to be overcome with different levels of difficulty. You can set a minimum time of 10 minutes and a maximum time of 120 minutes. The objective and the rules of the quest are clear: stay focused for the set time. If you leave Forest, you have lost the challenge.

Rewards and Punishments

Completing the concentration session (Quest) gets you prizes:

  • Grow a seedling
  • Get virtual coins to use in the app

A more extended concentration session involves more coins and a larger plant. For example, 10 minutes of concentration make a bush grow, 120 minutes a century-old pine. 

In this way, the users have rewarded: longer concentration sessions guarantee more coins and cooler plants.

If the user breaks the rules of the game and uses apps other than Forest, the plant dies. You literally see your seedling die. The emotional impact of his dying seedling is strong–nobody wants to see his virtual seedlings die.

Once the timer is set, a progress bar is displayed with the remaining minutes. In this case, the progress bar exploits the Zeigarnik effect and the theory of sunk costs to motivate users. People like to complete the tasks they started. We don’t want to leave things in half.

It also bothers you to start a 30-minute challenge, invest 20 minutes of your time trying to overcome the challenge, and waste time invested in reading a message.

Once the progress bar is completed, or the challenge is broken, there is a positive or negative reinforcement seen in the previous point (reward/punishment).

Forest App Shop: Virtual Currency and Forest Store

The virtual currency attainable with each completed session can be spent in the store. In Forest’s virtual store, you can buy plants and bushes’ new specimens. In this way, one’s garden is not only filled with pines but also with mushrooms, cherry blossoms, or tree houses. 

The skin gives the player a sense of progress and allows you to compare your garden with friends. A garden with different plants shows a higher state of growth. 

Virtual currency can also be spent to purchase audio tracks to listen to during concentration sessions.

Plant a real tree: your forest could grow in the real world, too!

You can also plant real trees tanks to your focus points! This feature is perfect for late gamer, that is for users who have been using the app for a long time.

At some point, as the months go by and with different concentration sessions, you will be able to purchase all the skins for the trees and all the audio tracks. What will the virtual currencies serve in the app at that point? The answer is breathtaking: to plant real trees.

With 2500 coins, it is possible to plant a real tree in a forest existing in the real world. In this section, you can see the number of trees the user has planted, the number of trees planted by their friends, and the number of trees in the community.

Forest, therefore, allows you to regain concentration to carry out essential tasks for your future. With consistency, coins can accumulate that can improve the planet in which we live. The ability to plant trees gives Forest a more significant meaning than just personal productivity. By using the app, you enter a community that, in its own small way, can impact the world positively.

Statistics & feedback: forest app stats menu

The statistics are of fundamental importance to allow users to notice a continuous improvement and to give real-time feedback on the concentration. In Forest, you can “tag” sessions to monitor how your time is used. For example, you can see if more concentration sessions have been done for work or study.

Group sessions

You don’t always work alone. Many tasks are carried out in the company of collaborators, friends, or other people. Forest allows you to create shared concentration sessions where multiple players collaborate and compete to build a forest.

Badge & Achievements

There are simpler challenges for the initial stages of the game in which we try to make the use of Forest a habit (plant trees for 3/7/30 days in a row). More complex challenges for users who have been using the app for a long time (reach the top 100/50/10 worldwide). And challenges that allow you to enable social dynamics with your friends inside the app (add 5/15 friends, share your results on social media 15 times).

What desires and needs is it able to satisfy forest through game design techniques? What kind of motivation stimulates gamification in the app?

The app is certainly able to give a sense of progression. The user can perceive an improvement in his concentration. Real-time feedback, new types of plants, growth of one’s forest, challenges, and statistics allow you to see continuous improvement of your profile.

Forest gives a meaning, a reason, allowing users to plant real trees with coins accumulated inside the app. The desire for possession and collecting is also satisfied through the possibility of unlocking different plants and creating your own virtual garden. Forest also fuels the dynamics of social influence and competition through confrontation, rankings, and group challenges.

Forest App Latest Update: Forest v.4.12.0

What’s new?

The changes of this last update are the cancellation of the time limit for trees and bushes, a new interface for the Forest Store, and new species free of charge for a limited time. Also old and no more available event-limited trees will return

Where do trees go?

The app keeps track of the minutes dedicated to the job by offering the opportunity to observe the results obtained: from the bushes, the result of shorter study periods, to the trees, born from long moments of concentration, not forgetting the dry trunks, an exemplification of sagging. And if you can’t give up on some apps, for example, for business reasons, Forest grants the possibility to create a whitelist of exceptions that will not affect the growth of the forest. An excellent idea. Grow your own productivity Forest Garden!

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