6 Uses of the Forest app: Plus 3 Tips to use it Better

A while ago I wrote a how-to article regarding the Forest app. There is no doubt that the Forest app is a great aid to personal productivity – to that end, I thought it would be helpful to share more about the various potential uses of the Forest app plus some tips about how to use it better so that you wouldn’t make the same mistakes as I did when I first started out using the app.

1: Prevent Giving up When Focus is Needed

Unlike a normal timer app that I can easily quit, the Forest app imposes a penalty on me when I tap on the “give up” button by adding a dead tree into my virtual forest – the removal of the dead tree will cost 60 Forest coins which will cost a hefty price of about 3 hours of focused time on the app (link to another article about maximising Forest App coins) to earn.

Screenshot of forest app, consequence popup of giving up on focus session.
– Before you give up on your focus session there will be a popup informing you of the consequences of giving up on your focus session.
Screenshot of forest app - how much coins it would cost to delete a planting record.
– It costs 60 Forest coins to delete a planting record.
Screenshot of forest app overview of focus sessions.
– Withered trees will show up in your virtual forest.

As shown through the screenshots above, this penalty to my virtual forest has on more than one occasion prevented me from giving up on my task at hand.

Forest app useful tip #1: when you start a session on timer/stopwatch mode, you have 10 seconds at the start of every session to give up on it without any penalty.

2: Help Make Focus Sessions Better

It’s tough to improve on something without knowing where I am going wrong. Thankfully, the Forest app has a feature that helps me highlight what went wrong in my focus sessions.

There were times when I decided to give up on my focus sessions despite the penalty imposed by the app. In such situations, the app assists in making my focus sessions better by giving me a space to write down remarks for every focus session that I engage in through the app – this allows me to input my reflections and improves my future focus sessions.

I’ve found 2 ways to add a remark to a session – while planting my virtual plant, and after I have planted my virtual plant.

Screenshot of forest app in-app
You can add a remark by tapping on the pen icon while your focus session is ongoing.
Screenshot of forest app in-app
You can also add a remark by going to the main menu and tapping on “Forest”. Tapping on any of the trees in your virtual forest will allow you to go into a list view, tapping on any session in the list will allow you add a remark to your session.

Forest app useful tip #2: you can better organise your focus sessions by tagging each focus session to a particular category – you can see from my screenshot above that this particular session is tagged as “Study”. This allows me to track how much time I’ve spent studying. It will also be useful for you to know that tags can be changed anytime, during or after the focus session.

3: Better the Environment

I can use the Forest app to better my environment and make a positive contribution towards climate change because the Forest app allows me to plant up to 5 real trees through the Forest coins that I earn.

If you just started using the app and is interested in making a positive difference towards climate change, then this could be a good motivation for you to put in the time to earn enough Forest coins to pay to plant real trees through the Forest app.

Each real tree costs 2,500 coins, so to complete planting all 5 real trees, you would require 12,500 coins. If you’re a new Forest app user, this will take you at least about 76 hours of focused time to get you there.

Screenshot of real forest page on the Forest app.
The “real forest” page on the Forest app.

Forest app useful tip #3: maximise the number of Forest coins you get out of each focus sessions by increasing the number of continuous minutes per focus session. For more details, you can navigate to the link here.

4: Reduce Digital Distractions

I can use the Forest app to reduce digital distractions that comes out of my phone (ie. text messages, emails) – the app does this by withering the tree I am planting when I navigate out of the app.

To my best knowledge, this setting is turned on by default. If by any chance your app doesn’t whither your tree when you navigate out of the app, you can turn it on by tapping on the hourglass/fire icon, and then toggle on “Deep focus” – this setting can only be toggled on/off before you start a focus session.

Screenshot of forest app in-app
Tap on the hourglass/fire icon as highlighted in the screenshot above.
Screenshot of forest app in-app
Tap on the deep focus mode toggle switch.

5: Keep Core Beliefs Front & Centre

Over my time using the Forest app, I’ve also found that I can use it to keep thoughts/ideas that inspire me front and centre as I go through my focus session.

Screenshot of forest app in-app
Screenshot of Forest app’s custom text that can be changed to something that is personally motivating.

The text that you see highlighted were custom text that I added myself for an extra dose of self-motivation whenever I feel like procrastinating.

To change the custom text, go to “Settings” from the main menu, then tap on “Custom Phrases” and add in the phrases that you want – you can add as many as you would like.

Screenshot of forest app in-app
First, go to “settings” under the main menu.
Screenshot of forest app in-app
Second, tap on the “Custom Phrases” setting as shown above.
Screenshot of forest app in-app
Third, tap on the plus icon at the top right of the screen.
Screenshot of forest app in-app
Lastly, add your favourite motivational phrases.

6: Visualise Your Focus Track Record

I also use the Forest app to visualise how well I am doing with my focus sessions – it allows me to take stock of how I’ve done for a predetermined time period at a glance. This feature allows me to reflect and make improvements on my focus sessions based on historical data.

To see your virtual forest at a glance, go to the main menu, under “Forest” and select the timeframe of either “day”, “week”, “month” or “year”.

Screenshot of forest app in-app
First, navigate to the main menu and tap on “Forest”.
Screenshot of forest app in-app
View your historical data trends through the “Forest” page.

Forest app useful tip #3: tapping on the arrow beside the word “Overview” in the “Forest” page will allow you to visualise your focus sessions based on the tags that you have created – this potentially adds another layer of evaluation to your focus sessions.

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