Smartphones are beneficial but they’re often a distraction from getting things done.

How many times have you sat down to read a book, worked on a project or just sit in silence only to have your smartphone ding with a notification, and the next thing you know you’ve spent 45 minutes doom-scrolling through social media or replying to emails?

Forest is a popular productivity app aimed at keeping you focused on a task at hand while also doing some good around the world. Here’s how it works: Let’s say you need to focus on a project that shouldn’t take more than 25 minutes to complete.

If your smartphone is by your side providing a distraction, that project can take hours. Open the Forest app and set the timer for 25 minutes and put the phone down. If you continue to work without checking your phone for notifications like that one, a tree or will grow.

If I had checked that email, my virtual tree would die. So the app doesn’t keep you from getting alerts so you won’t miss something critical.

As I wrote this story, the app kept my mind away from the phone. Don’t want to let that tree die. If I get tempted and pick up my phone, the app encourages me to “put the phone down” and “leave me alone!” It also has some background sounds to help you focus.

If I stay off the phone for the allotted time, the tree is planted in my make-believe yard. Add enough trees and the company behind the app plants real trees around the world. Over a million trees and counting just by all of the Forest users focusing.

The app is just $2 but you can pay for extras such as different species of trees and different
sounds to play in the background.

Forest is currently the #1 app for productivity in apple’s app store. If smartphone addiction is a problem for getting stuff done, this app will keep you from using other apps when you’ve got something to do. www.forestapp.cc