Forest is one of those productivity apps that really needs no introduction. Chances are, if you enjoy productivity timers at all, you already know it well. Also, you’re a big nerd. But you’re in (debatably) good company (with me)!
Seekrtech, the Taiwan-based company that develops Forest, has a lot of promising apps that I intend to get my grubby reviewing hands on someday, but Forest is the one I discovered first. How Forest works is quite simple: when you set a timer, you plant a tree. The tree grows while you work. If you abort your session early or break one of your rules—like accessing a website you’ve blocked—your tree dies.
The idea is to grow a whole forest of trees, bushes, and other fun plants. You’re given a few generic trees to start but can unlock more by earning in-game currency from focus sessions—or by paying actual money. But come on, who does that?
Put simply, I love Forest. I use Forest even more than I use BrainFocus. Its biggest draw for me is that it’s multi-platform. I can have multiple Forest growing sessions going on my phone and my desktop browser. Because I have an almost pathological propensity for fucking off, this is extremely important for me.
What’s more, Forest doesn’t just grow virtual trees. Forest has partnered with Trees.org to allow users to plant real-life trees by spending in-game currency.
Not the Best, but a Definite Fave
There are some drawbacks to the app. The first and most damning is that, while Forest does allow you to sync between platforms, it’s only available in the Pro version. The good news is that said Pro version is a one-time payment of about $2 USD. Buying the Pro version also unlocks a lot of other neat features, like detailed statistics, and kills ads. Some of the money is also put toward planting real trees. It’s more than worth it, in my opinion.
Second, you kind of have to have the mobile app to get the most out of it. The browser extensions are more supplementary than they are unique versions. I found that extremely frustrating at first since I wanted it more for my laptop than my phone, but I see now that using both in tangent makes the experience even better.
Finally, there are loads of things you can unlock within the app with the in-game currency but, unless you pony up real money to buy some, items can be prohibitively expensive. The newest tree release is 2000 coins, which can take a very, very long time to earn.
Honestly, though? None of that bothers me. The app is great at what it does. It’s also incredibly fun and charming. I genuinely enjoy using it and I keep going back to use it.
There’s a reason Forest is one of Google’s top productivity apps: It’s damn good.
Pros: Cross-platform, ability to block apps/websites during work sessions
Cons: Unlocking things can be prohibitively expensive (unless you pay real money), cross-platform cloud sync costs money, no desktop app