How This Habit Tracking App Made Me More Productive

Jul 20, 2020

When it’s time to get stuff done, I’m either hyper focused or so distracted that I forget whatever task is in front of me. And unfortunately, the only thing that forces me to concentrate is the adrenaline rush I get when a deadline is quickly approaching. 

I usually try to “set the mood” to keep me focused. This means no working on an empty stomach, turning on a calm playlist, and lighting a candle. But even then, I’m only locked in for about 20 minutes before I pick up my phone and start scrolling Instagram. 

That was until I downloaded the Flora app

Flora is a focus habit tracker that forces you and anyone you’re working with to put down your phone. Here’s how it works:

  1. When you’re ready to start working, you’ll set a timer to block out distractions. You can invite people into your room who want to accomplish the goal with you. Once the timer starts, a seed is planted. 
  2. As the timer runs, the seed slowly begins to grow into a plant.
  3. If you pick up your phone before the timer runs out, the tree dies. If you have to pick up the phone for emergency reasons, there’s an option to pause the timer so you don’t kill the tree. 

It seems simple. So simple that I questioned whether or not the app is even effective. I soon realized the answer is yes, and it’s probably because I subconsciously look at “tree planting” as a game. Killing a tree means I’ve failed. And failing within the app makes me feel like I’ve failed whatever project I’m working on by not giving it my undivided attention. It’s a fun way to hold myself accountable while also planting a digital garden I can brag about. 

And if that doesn’t work, here’s another incentive:

When you set your timer, you have the option to also set a price. For example, if I have a project I really need to focus on, I’ll set the price at $5. If I successfully complete my goal, I keep my $5. If I interrupt the app and kill my tree, my $5 goes to Flora. Flora then uses this money to plant real trees in Africa and Southeast Asia to promote long-term land health and family health in those communities. You can also pay a $2 fee to activate the Flora Care feature, which means every time you reach a target number of hours, the Flora team plants another real tree. 

When you think about it, there really isn’t a downside to downloading the app and giving it a try. For one, you can still use the app without paying a dime. And if you do decide to put money into it, you’ll feel good knowing that your commitment to staying productive can actually do some good in the world. 

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