I know you've experienced those moments when you still have 50 or so pages of reading to do, but you're spending your time doing anything but work: running a load of laundry that probably could have waited at least two more days, dusting off the top of the dresser that you haven't bothered to dust all year, and even taking the time to hand-sharpen all 25 of the pencils on your desk for the one math class you're taking this semester (yes, I have done all of this).
And when all of that fails, you turn to your phone and spend at least another hour scrolling through all of your social media feeds, back and forth from one to the next. You try to tear yourself away from your phone and return to your work, but you keep finding yourself refreshing Twitter or checking out the newest Snapchat filters.
Sound familiar? At the beginning of the year, I also had an especially difficult time overcoming my tendency to procrastinate, until my roommate introduced me to an app called Forest. For only $1.99 (I know I sound like a salesperson, but I promise the benefits far outweigh the costs), you can download this app on your phone, which, if used correctly, will work wonders in countering your procrastination habits.
In essence, the object of the app is to set a timer for any amount of time from 10 minutes to two hours. During this time, a virtual tree grows, as long as your phone stays on the app's timer screen. You are still able to receive notifications from your other apps, but if you spend too long (about 15 seconds) away from the Forest app, then your tree dies, and the app makes you feel terrible about it.
In correlation to the amount of time you set the timer for, the tree will grow larger. Also, you are given a certain number of coins (again dependent on the amount of time you "stayed focused" for) when you successfully finish growing a tree. These can be "spent" in a variety of different ways, including buying more exotic trees to grow in the future, such as a cherry blossom tree or a nest tree, complete with baby birds.
There are a couple of other neat features, including being able to tag your trees by different categories, like work, study, social and rest, and then accessing an overview of how much time you are dedicating to each genre. Besides that, you can view how many trees you are growing each day, keeping up with how much your forest is progressing and even comparing it to your friends' forests.
Beyond the virtual world, Forest has real world connections, too. According to the app, Forest donates money to its partner, Trees for the Future, for an actual tree to be planted in any of several countries around the world every time a user spends 2,500 coins on the option to plant a "real tree."
I recognize that Forest obviously isn't a solution to all of your procrastination problems. It's not going to keep you from thoroughly deep cleaning your room, and sometimes the thought of killing a virtual tree isn't going to be enough to keep you from checking Instagram one more time. But it's at least a way I've found to be somewhat helpful in reducing my procrastination, and I thought it was worth sharing.
Enjoy your virtual planting!