Sophie

Sophie Stephens, Managing Editor

MONDAY

Today I downloaded Flora and just started going through the “training” practice and learning how to use the app. The app is supposed to help you stay off of your phone to increase productivity, and I’m hoping to use it when I’m doing homework or studying. You set a timer for a minimum of 25 minutes, and if you stay off of your phone for that amount of time your plant “grows” in the app (mine is apparently an oak tree…). If you go on your phone before the timer goes off, your plant dies.
The training didn’t really help me learn how to use the app so I had to experiment with my first few sessions, which resulted in me killing two trees. I still don’t totally understand all of the features of the app, but it seems to hold me accountable. When you close out of the app the timer turns off, but other than that the app seems to lack in the accountability aspect. I hardly had any homework tonight, surprisingly, so I can’t tell if the app is actually helping too much with productivity. As I start studying for AP exams and get more homework the app may help me focus more. I’ve ended up only growing three trees today, but know I could have planted more if I had actually remembered to open the app or that I was supposed to actually be staying off of my phone. We’ll see if it actually helps me “curve my phone addiction” as the app promises.

TUESDAY

I’ve realized that even if I’m not on my phone I forget to open the app and start my timer. Since I’m not on my phone during the day because all of my time is spent at school, and I don’t use my phone in class unless it’s band (sorry Mr. Medd!). I could be “planting” many trees but I am not. The only difficult part is that if I do actually remember to set the timer and five minutes later I want to text my friend with a homework question, I can’t. It’s a little inconvenient, but I mostly blame it on my timing. Downside: I’ve realized the app wastes a TON of battery! Also, it is really hard for me to remember to start the timer if I have already started homework. I usually remember too late, and am already halfway done with homework when I remember to open the app.

WEDNESDAY

Today I only grew one tree. Even if I start the timer before starting homework, I find that if I’m in the middle of an assignment and the 25 minute timer is up, I have to go on my phone just to start the timer over and grow another tree. It honestly makes me go on my phone more often than just turning off my phone when studying, and is (again) a huge inconvenience. Since I didn’t have a ton of homework tonight I only set the 25 minute timer once, even though I was studying much longer than 25 minutes after I finished my homework. And with the homework I had tonight, using the Flora timer didn’t make homework or studying go any faster and didn’t make me any more productive than when studying without the app. I still ended up finishing my assignments as fast/slow as usual, and studying was just as tedious and painful. Also, going back to the accountability side of the app, the “break” option makes it way too easy to stop mid-timer and have no consequences, meaning I can turn off my timer every five minutes and not have my tree die, which makes it too easy to go on my phone more frequently.

THURSDAY

I again only grew one tree today, despite spending nearly two hours working on an English essay and even more time studying for tests. Today I found out that if any of your Facebook friends use the app and keep their updates on “friends” mode you can see their progress (I see you Jessica!) but otherwise nothing new came out of today. :/ If you reply to a text message without actually unlocking your phone, the time doesn’t stop. You also still get all of your notifications, so it is super easy to ignore the timer and go on your phone. I’ve pretty much made up my mind about this app, but I am finishing out the five days just for the purpose of completion.

FRIDAY

I didn’t end up growing any trees today, mostly because I forgot to turn the timer on in class and I didn’t do any homework tonight. I really didn’t like this app, and didn’t find it helpful in staying off of my phone while studying or doing homework. I wouldn’t say it is a waste of time to try out the app for yourself, but it just isn’t for me. Similar to Pocket Points, Flora has good intentions but doesn’t do much to actually help me be more productive and less addicted to my phone.

CONCLUSION

Overall, I would definitely not recommend this app. It is super easy to ignore the timer or open notifications without stopping the timer. It doesn’t really help me stay off of my phone at all, nor does it do enough to stop me from answering texts or emails. The consequences of stopping the timer without hitting “break” aren’t incentive enough to prevent me from just closing the app during the timer. The app is just NOT WORTH IT!!! It is a hassle to open the app every time you want to study, and when the timer runs out you have to open the app again to start another timer, which to me defeats the purpose of the timer in the first place. If you need help staying off your phone during class or while studying or doing homework, I would recommend saving time and not using Flora or another studying app. Instead, juust turn off your phone and put it somewhere out of sight so you aren’t tempted to check it every ten minutes.