Pomodoro tracking while planting trees

After updating to iOS 13 I ran into a bit of a problem with my Pomodoro workflow. For some reason, half of the labels in BFT didn’t work anymore and I even managed to get it into a state where I couldn’t start the timer anymore. After trying to contact the developers I started looking around and stumbled upon Forest.

Similar to BFT, it offers a basic timer combined with white noise. This is quite important to me; without that I could simply use the iOS timer and add my favorite rain playlist on Spotify, but I’d need to pause the playlist manually etc. Forest also adds a bit gamification to the mix. Every time you finish a focus-time, you get 9 points. You can the exchange those points for things like additional white-noise tracks like “Night forest”, “Times Square”, or “Rain and Thunder”.

Timer viewThe name “Forest” comes from the virtual trees that grow while you’re focused. The statistics screen then shows you all those trees, making up a forest. If you get 2500 points, you can spend them on a real tree: Forest works in cooperation with [Trees for the future][tf], a non-profit from Maryland that has been planting trees all over the world for more than 30 years now.

But even if you ignore all that, Forest’s combination of timer and white-noise generator works very well. Unlike some other apps, it also doesn’t drain my phone’s battery. On good days I get around 8-10 Pomodoros done, with white-noise running all the time. It usually doesn’t take more power than something like Spotify or Apple Music.

The single thing that makes it not a perfect Pomodoro timer, though, is that there is only a single preset of breaks. After each interval you can define how long you want to take a break, so I have to remember when it’s time for the long break. I accidentally missed those breaks one day and my stress-level took hours to get down to normal after work. For those, the timer on my Apple Watch might work better since there you can set multiple presets.

Other than that (which isn’t a deal-breaker for me) I like Forest so far! I’ve now been using it for about two weeks and so far I don’t see any reason to switch again 🙂

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