Forest vs. Focus@Will: Which App Helps You Concentrate Better?

In today’s fast-paced world, maintaining focus and productivity can be challenging. With numerous distractions vying for our attention, many people turn to apps designed to enhance concentration. Two popular options in this space are Forest and Focus@Will. While both aim to help users stay on task, they employ different methods to achieve this goal. This article will compare Forest and Focus@Will across various key criteria to help you decide which app best supports your concentration needs.

1. Concept and Methodology

The foundation of any productivity app is its underlying concept and methodology. Forest and Focus@Will take distinct approaches to help users improve their focus.

  1. Forest’s Concept: Forest uses a gamified approach to help users stay focused. The app encourages users to plant virtual trees that grow as they remain focused on their tasks. If the user exits the app to check their phone, the tree dies. Over time, users can create a virtual forest, symbolizing their productivity. For example, a student studying for exams can set a timer for 30 minutes of focused study. If they resist the urge to use their phone during this period, they will grow a tree. This visual representation of productivity provides a sense of accomplishment and motivates users to stay focused. Forest also allows users to plant real trees through a partnership with Trees for the Future, adding an environmental impact to their productivity efforts.
  2. Focus@Will’s Concept: Focus@Will leverages scientifically designed music to enhance concentration and productivity. The app offers a variety of music channels, each tailored to different types of work and individual preferences. For instance, a writer might choose a classical channel to help maintain a steady flow of ideas, while a software developer might prefer an electronic channel to stay energized and focused. The music is specifically engineered to promote concentration by minimizing distractions and helping users enter a state of flow. Focus@Will claims that its music can increase focus time by up to 400%, making it a powerful tool for those who rely on auditory stimulation to maintain productivity.

2. User Interface and Design

The user interface (UI) and design of an app significantly impact user experience and engagement. Let’s examine how Forest and Focus@Will fare in this aspect.

  1. Forest’s UI and Design: Forest features a simple, user-friendly interface that is both visually appealing and easy to navigate. The main screen displays a timer and a growing tree, providing a clear visual cue of progress. Users can customize the timer settings and choose different types of trees to plant, adding a personal touch to their productivity sessions. For example, a professional working on a project might set the timer for 50 minutes of focused work followed by a 10-minute break, adhering to the Pomodoro technique. The app’s design is minimalistic yet engaging, with a focus on the visual growth of the forest. This gamified element not only keeps users motivated but also makes the productivity process enjoyable.
  2. Focus@Will’s UI and Design: Focus@Will offers a clean and intuitive interface designed to facilitate ease of use. The app’s main screen features a music player with controls for play, pause, and skip, along with options to choose different music channels. Users can easily switch between channels and adjust the volume to suit their preferences. For example, a graphic designer might start their day with the Uptempo channel to boost energy levels and switch to the Ambient channel for more focused work sessions. The app’s design includes features like session timers and productivity tracking, allowing users to monitor their focus patterns over time. Focus@Will’s straightforward design ensures that users can quickly access the music they need without unnecessary distractions.

3. Personalization and Customization

Personalization and customization are key to making a productivity app effective for a wide range of users. Both Forest and Focus@Will offer various options to tailor the user experience.

  1. Forest’s Personalization: Forest allows users to customize their focus sessions by setting different timer lengths and choosing from a variety of tree types to plant. Users can also unlock new tree species and themes as they accumulate points, adding a layer of personalization to their virtual forest. For instance, a student might prefer shorter, frequent sessions and can customize the timer accordingly, planting a variety of trees throughout the day. Forest also offers a feature called “Tagging,” where users can label their focus sessions based on the tasks they are working on, helping them track productivity across different activities. This level of customization ensures that users can adapt the app to fit their unique productivity needs and preferences.
  2. Focus@Will’s Personalization: Focus@Will provides extensive personalization options to cater to individual preferences and work styles. The app offers a variety of music channels, each designed to match different types of cognitive tasks and personal tastes. Users can take a quick personality test to receive channel recommendations tailored to their specific needs. For example, a coder might be recommended the Alpha Chill channel for deep focus, while a marketer might benefit from the Acoustical channel for creative work. Focus@Will also allows users to adjust the intensity of the music, ensuring that they find the right balance to maintain concentration. This personalized approach helps users optimize their focus sessions based on their unique requirements and preferences.

4. Effectiveness and Scientific Basis

Effectiveness and the scientific basis behind a productivity app are crucial for ensuring that it delivers on its promises. Here’s how Forest and Focus@Will stack up in this regard.

  1. Forest’s Effectiveness: Forest’s gamified approach leverages principles of behavioral psychology to help users stay focused. The app’s visual representation of productivity through growing trees provides immediate feedback and a sense of accomplishment, which can be highly motivating. For example, an entrepreneur working on a business plan can use Forest to break down their work into manageable focus sessions, with each successful session resulting in a new tree. The app’s effectiveness is backed by positive user reviews and its popularity among students and professionals who find the gamification aspect helpful in maintaining focus. Forest also contributes to real-world positive impact by allowing users to plant actual trees, adding an extra layer of motivation for environmentally conscious users.
  2. Focus@Will’s Effectiveness: Focus@Will is rooted in scientific research on the effects of music on concentration and productivity. The app’s music channels are designed based on studies that show how certain types of music can enhance focus by minimizing distractions and promoting a state of flow. For instance, a researcher might use the Classical Plus channel to maintain deep focus while reading complex materials, benefiting from the scientifically engineered soundscapes. Focus@Will claims that its music can increase productivity by up to 400%, and user testimonials often highlight significant improvements in focus and work output. The app’s effectiveness is further supported by ongoing research and partnerships with neuroscientists, ensuring that the music continues to be optimized for maximum concentration benefits.

5. Pricing and Subscription Plans

Cost is a significant factor when choosing a productivity app. Let’s compare the pricing models of Forest and Focus@Will.

  1. Forest’s Pricing: Forest offers a one-time purchase option for $1.99, making it an affordable choice for users looking for a simple yet effective productivity tool. This price gives access to the core features, including the ability to plant virtual trees and track productivity. For example, a freelancer might find Forest’s one-time fee appealing as it provides a cost-effective way to enhance focus without recurring expenses. Additionally, Forest offers in-app purchases for users who want to unlock additional tree species and themes, allowing for further personalization. The app’s partnership with Trees for the Future also means that users can contribute to real-world tree planting efforts, adding value to their purchase.
  2. Focus@Will’s Pricing: Focus@Will operates on a subscription model, with plans starting at $9.95 per month or $69.99 per year. This subscription provides access to all music channels, personalized recommendations, and productivity tracking features. For instance, a corporate employee who spends long hours working on intensive tasks might find the subscription worthwhile for the tailored music and enhanced concentration benefits. Focus@Will also offers a two-week free trial, allowing users to test the app’s effectiveness before committing to a subscription. While the recurring cost may be higher than a one-time purchase, the scientifically designed music and personalized recommendations can justify the expense for users who need sustained focus and productivity.


Choosing between Forest and Focus@Will ultimately depends on your personal preferences and productivity needs. Forest offers a gamified, visually engaging approach that motivates users through immediate feedback and the opportunity to contribute to environmental efforts. On the other hand, Focus@Will provides scientifically engineered music tailored to enhance concentration and productivity, making it ideal for users who benefit from auditory stimulation.

Consider your work style, the type of tasks you perform, and the features you prioritize when making your decision. Both Forest and Focus@Will offer unique benefits that can help you stay focused and productive. Whether you prefer the gamified approach of Forest or the scientifically backed music of Focus@Will, both apps provide valuable tools to enhance your concentration and achieve your goals.

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