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Use “Forrest” To Plant Some Trees With Your Focusing Time and Power

Use “Forrest” To Plant Some Trees With Your Focusing Time and Power
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Motivation is difficult to maintain with the enormous amount of distractions that we encounter every day. We want to stay productive, but that can be impossible to do if we can’t maintain our focus.

Luckily, we are spoiled for choice when it comes to organizational apps. Applications such as the Hourstracker can help us to determine how much time we spend on each task we perform throughout the day. This knowledge can help us to make better use of our time, and complete those tasks more efficiently.

Efficiency does not always lead to productivity

As helpful as these tools may be in theory, we are not so inclined to use them because they are so professional. We spend so much of our lives staying on track and being professional that sometimes it’s nice to partake in something a bit more light and fun. On a real note, professional style apps can be boring.

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In order to stay motivated and feel motivated to use the apps, we need a little push from a more whimsical direction.

Cue, the Forest App.

    The answer to your motivational issues lies within this one app. Forest makes staying motivated fun, which is not an easy feat to achieve.

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    The point of the application is to train you to put your phone down and stay focused on the task at hand. But the playful nature of the app will make your achievements that much more satisfying, because it’s fun!

    Forest also keeps track of how many times you broke your focus to check on your phone, to give you an idea of how long you can stay focused for as well as the progress you are making.

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      So here’s how it works

      So you’re probably dying to know at this point how to app actually works. What groundbreaking and fun technique could it possibly have? The answer: planting trees.

      You got that right. Planting trees. Every time you want to stay focused, you plant a tree on the app and allow it to grow while you work. If you manage not to check your phone for 30 minutes, you will end up with a fully grown tree. The size of your forest depends on the length of your motivation.

      If you lose motivation and habitually reach for your phone which is bound to happen (at first) your tree will die. Forest plays on your emotions by giving you a sense of responsibility to the tree. You will feel inclined to stay away from your phone and stay focused on your agenda. The balance of the trees life is in your hands!

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        Although the application does provide their stats in the form of graph and charts, it is much more fulfilling to see it in the form of your own personally grown forest, nurtured by your motivation and achievements. You will be surprised to see how quickly you become invested and care for your little forest.

        If you want to take it a step farther, you can plant real trees through the app as well. For a small fee you can grow an actual forest of your own. You can feel good about knowing that you are giving back to the earth while giving to yourself as well.

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        And don’t worry. This isn’t a forever kind of thing. When you’re done with your tasks and want to reconnect, you can close the app just like any other. But when it’s time to lock it down and get things done, open up the Forest App. Plant some trees and allow your forest to flourish as well as your achievements.

        More by this author

        Brian Lee

        Chief of Product Management at Lifehack

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        Last Updated on July 21, 2021

        The Importance of Reminders (And How to Make a Reminder Work)

        The Importance of Reminders (And How to Make a Reminder Work)
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        No matter how well you set up your todo list and calendar, you aren’t going to get things done unless you have a reliable way of reminding yourself to actually do them.

        Anyone who’s spent an hour writing up the perfect grocery list only to realize at the store that they forgot to bring the list understands the importance of reminders.

        Reminders of some sort or another are what turn a collection of paper goods or web services into what David Allen calls a “trusted system.”[1]

        A lot of people resist getting better organized. No matter what kind of chaotic mess, their lives are on a day-to-day basis because they know themselves well enough to know that there’s after all that work they’ll probably forget to take their lists with them when it matters most.

        Fortunately, there are ways to make sure we remember to check our lists — and to remember to do the things we need to do, whether they’re on a list or not.

        In most cases, we need a lot of pushing at first, for example by making a reminder, but eventually we build up enough momentum that doing what needs doing becomes a habit — not an exception.

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        From Creating Reminders to Building Habits

        A habit is any act we engage in automatically without thinking about it.

        For example, when you brush your teeth, you don’t have to think about every single step from start to finish; once you stagger up to the sink, habit takes over (and, really, habit got you to the sink in the first place) and you find yourself putting toothpaste on your toothbrush, putting the toothbrush in your mouth (and never your ear!), spitting, rinsing, and so on without any conscious effort at all.

        This is a good thing because if you’re anything like me, you’re not even capable of conscious thought when you’re brushing your teeth.

        The good news is you already have a whole set of productivity habits you’ve built up over the course of your life. The bad news is, a lot of them aren’t very good habits.

        That quick game Frogger to “loosen you up” before you get working, that always ends up being 6 hours of Frogger –– that’s a habit. And as you know, habits like that can be hard to break — which is one of the reasons why habits are so important in the first place.

        Once you’ve replaced an unproductive habit with a more productive one, the new habit will be just as hard to break as the old one was. Getting there, though, can be a chore!

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        The old saw about anything you do for 21 days becoming a habit has been pretty much discredited, but there is a kernel of truth there — anything you do long enough becomes an ingrained behavior, a habit. Some people pick up habits quickly, others over a longer time span, but eventually, the behaviors become automatic.

        Building productive habits, then, is a matter of repeating a desired behavior over a long enough period of time that you start doing it without thinking.

        But how do you remember to do that? And what about the things that don’t need to be habits — the one-off events, like taking your paycheck stubs to your mortgage banker or making a particular phone call?

        The trick to reminding yourself often enough for something to become a habit, or just that one time that you need to do something, is to interrupt yourself in some way in a way that triggers the desired behavior.

        The Wonderful Thing About Triggers — Reminders

        A trigger is anything that you put “in your way” to remind you to do something. The best triggers are related in some way to the behavior you want to produce.

        For instance, if you want to remember to take something to work that you wouldn’t normally take, you might place it in front of the door so you have to pick it up to get out of your house.

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        But anything that catches your attention and reminds you to do something can be a trigger. An alarm clock or kitchen timer is a perfect example — when the bell rings, you know to wake up or take the quiche out of the oven. (Hopefully you remember which trigger goes with which behavior!)

        If you want to instill a habit, the thing to do is to place a trigger in your path to remind you to do whatever it is you’re trying to make into a habit — and keep it there until you realize that you’ve already done the thing it’s supposed to remind you of.

        For instance, a post-it saying “count your calories” placed on the refrigerator door (or maybe on your favorite sugary snack itself)  can help you remember that you’re supposed to be cutting back — until one day you realize that you don’t need to be reminded anymore.

        These triggers all require a lot of forethought, though — you have to remember that you need to remember something in the first place.

        For a lot of tasks, the best reminder is one that’s completely automated — you set it up and then forget about it, trusting the trigger to pop up when you need it.

        How to Make a Reminder Works for You

        Computers and ubiquity of mobile Internet-connected devices make it possible to set up automatic triggers for just about anything.

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        Desktop software like Outlook will pop up reminders on your desktop screen, and most online services go an extra step and send reminders via email or SMS text message — just the thing to keep you on track. Sandy, for example, just does automatic reminders.

        Automated reminders can help you build habits — but it can also help you remember things that are too important to be trusted even to habit. Diabetics who need to take their insulin, HIV patients whose medication must be taken at an exact time in a precise order, phone calls that have to be made exactly on time, and other crucial events require triggers even when the habit is already in place.

        My advice is to set reminders for just about everything — have them sent to your mobile phone in some way (either through a built-in calendar or an online service that sends updates) so you never have to think about it — and never have to worry about forgetting.

        Your weekly review is a good time to enter new reminders for the coming weeks or months. I simply don’t want to think about what I’m supposed to be doing; I want to be reminded so I can think just about actually doing it.

        I tend to use my calendar for reminders, mostly, though I do like Sandy quite a bit.

        More on Building Habits

        Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

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        Reference

        [1] Getting Things Done: Trusted System

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