Phubbing (verb)- snubbing someone in favor of a mobile phone

I would go to great lengths to stay focused (see Derriere), even if the trade-offs are an embarrassing music library and a silly phone application. This week I discovered an app called “Forest.” The users set a period of time to concentrate on the task at hand as their goal. If they achieve the goal, they receive a tree planted on a virtual plot of land. If they get distracted and start doing something else on their phone, the sapling dies. The idea is to cultivate a dense forest.

When I checked my phone for how much time I have left, it told me to “stop phubbing!” I didn’t know what it meant at first, but I knew it was yelling at me. So I obligingly followed its command and went back to studying for my exam. If I could improve the design of the app, I would add a motion sensor to detect if the person remains in their seat. This feature would deter using seemingly productive behaviors, such as cooking and cleaning, as forms of distraction and procrastination. The app would scream at me through the phone microphone to “stop moving!” I believe the upgraded version of Forest unlocks more tree species. I would also add a seasonable effect to the app. On second thought though, maybe not a bulletproof idea. Winter will turn the hard-earned lush trees into frosty bare tree branches, which look like the dead ones. Poof goes my sense of accomplishment.

I’m not sure how long Forest would be able to effectively keep me in line. It relies pretty heavily on the honor system. The urge to grab a handful of goldfish crackers and to clean the toilet bowl is simply too compelling.

Six healthy trees, one dead tree

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