Welcome to What’s App-ening, your weekly source for the latest and greatest in mobile apps.
Do you ever sit down to study and promise yourself that you will not get distracted, but five minutes in, the group chat gets lit, your Snapchat is blowing up, and soon it’s 2 a.m. and you haven’t read a single page?
Yeah, me too.
Luckily for all of us, this week’s app is the solution to that problem.
Focus Now is an app that allows you to set a timer for working, studying or doing any activity that’s less interesting than scrolling through your Twitter feed.
Users can select an allotted amount of time for doing their designated tasks and set the timer accordingly.
Once the timer starts, users are supposed to leave Focus Now running instead of closing it to look at other things.
Focus Now incentivizes keeping the app open by growing a small adorable plant on the user’s screen.
While the plant grows, the app displays encouraging messages such as, “Let’s focus together” and some guilt-tripping messages such as, “I will be killed if you play phone.”
If the user successfully keeps the plant alive the entire time, the app congratulates them on focusing.
If, however, the user closes the app or hits the “I give up” button, the plant dies, and the user is left to look at the sad, blackened plant.
Users can let their phone fall asleep or use the side button to put the device to sleep.
The more you use the app, and the more plants survive, the bigger and more diverse your harvest gets. Users can unlock new plants the more they use the app.
Focus Now is an interesting concept in theory, but has a few things to work out in practice.
One of my main critiques for this app is that users can only set timers in five minute increments, and only for twenty-five minutes or longer.
Another concern is the many work-arounds for distractions, namely, Siri.
Users can still use Siri to make calls, texts or emails without killing their plant.
Overall, I give Focus Now three out of five stars.
This app has room to grow into something better if given enough time.
Focus Now is available for free on iTunes.
Thanks for reading, Wildcats, and until next Friday, you know What’s App-ening.