Jessica Doyle, Podcast Editor


As soon as I downloaded Flora, I was asked to sign up with Facebook, so if you’re not into that kind of thing, I can tell you off the bat that this is not the app for you. I signed up anyway and was immediately presented with a tutorial on how to plant fake trees to monitor how much time I’ve been focused (or at least not using my phone). I typically swipe past the tutorials, thinking “I don’t have the patience for this; I’ll figure it out on my own”. That was probably a mistake.

I was presented with a blank dollar amount, something I was unaccustomed to with free apps, along with a timer set at 25 minutes. Not sure what to do, I hit the start button, because what do I have to lose?

Apparently my first tree. 0-1 Jessica.

Bummed out by my first loss, I decided to put the app away and deal with it after school. I continued to put off finding a solution to my procrastination habits and didn’t even attempt to deal with the app until I finished my homework. On the brightside, I did finish my homework, so at least I was kind of focused, which is the whole point right?

After unsuccessfully trying to find a video tutorial for Flora newbies, I made a rash decision to invite my friend Sophie to plant a tree with me. What a fun virtual bonding moment! I hit the start button on the timer, went to my homescreen and opened up my Canvas app (wow so studious) and was notified within five seconds to check on my newly planted friendship tree. I opened up the app, and to my amazement, BAM! Another tree, gone.

Ok, I thought. So maybe I actually need to keep the app open and stay off my phone. Crazy concept, I know.


I had a decent amount of homework today, but was able to stay pretty focused and finished most of my homework by 8:30 pm. (Except for writing this journal entry. I procrastinated this. It’s currently 9:20 pm.) The real struggle started after leaving school. It’s hard for me to get back into the swing of homework after taking a break and since I have the choice to set the timer, I didn’t bother starting my homework for awhile. So I ate dinner, watched a short YouTube video, and eventually got back to the books.

According to the app I stayed focused for one hour and 15 minutes. I planted two trees and started to plant another one, but took a break so I could depart school. I’m pretty sure I lost that data because the time ran out before I started my homework again. I was able to stay off my phone for the most part while doing my homework, minus the time when I needed to set a timer to practice FRQs for the upcoming AP test. This is when I killed a tree–my only dead tree today. 🙂

Overall, I would give myself a ⅘ on focus today. I had a lot of work to get done, but I was determined to plant some trees and see how much free time I could end up with at the end of the day. I also studied outside for a while, which helped eliminate distractions. I discovered that not many people choose to spend time in the courtyard after school when it’s 70 degrees outside.


It’s Wednesday my dudes. And I’m pretty much over this app. While using it does help me stay off my phone, I really don’t give a darn about how many trees I “plant.” I personally was much more interested in the incentives offered by Pocket Points than I am Flora.

If I want to go on my phone, all I have to do is not set the timer. I’ve only been setting it when I’m actually working on school work. You also have the option to go on your phone–it doesn’t just shut it off completely. Unless you find planting e-trees with a friend to be really encouraging, you’re probably going to go on your phone just as much as you would without the app.

I will say though that I am surprised I haven’t gone to Buzzfeed on my Chromebook or gotten completely off task for an hour. I usually resort to something like this when procrastinating, but I have become more determined to finish my homework ASAP as possible since starting this challenge.


I don’t find using this app to be productive. I’m pretty much over it. It’s neat to see how much time I actually am staying focused, or at least staying off my phone, but sometimes things come up that I need to use my phone for.

The main conclusion I’ve reached is that phones can be distracting, but they can also be an asset. Restricting phone use once you’ve unlocked your phone has its drawbacks. I think doing this challenge has forced me to stay off of my phone more, stay focused and make sure I’m getting my work done, but most of my incentive is  because I want good results. I don’t think I will continue using Flora after this week is over.


I didn’t do any homework today… whoops.


Yay I made it five days! I managed to plant a couple of trees today, but after a while just thought screw it and gave up. It was bittersweet. I’d committed a total of 5.43 hours to using the app this week, but I knew it was time to say my goodbyes and move on.


I haven’t used Flora since Saturday and I don’t think I will use it in the future. Part of me wants to see how many trees I can get planted, but the other part of me realizes it’s an unnecessary stressor and that if I need to get on my phone, I’m going to get on it anyway. I was focused this past week, much more than I am currently, but I prefer to have phone access without risking the life of a fake tree or forgetting to set the timer.