StarQuest Group



Get Your App to Work – and Plant a Tree!

In keeping with the month’s theme of productivity, I want to share a cool piece of technology that I’ve found helps me minimize distractions, monitor project hours, and take control of my schedule. If you weren’t able to catch our latest blog post on boosting productivity through the Productivity Schedule, you may want to consider starting there. Regardless, this app can work in conjunction with the ideas expressed in that post to help your time at work be more efficient and effective. As a caveat, I will admit it is somewhat strange to solve technology distractions by implementing more technology, but I have found this particular app to be incredibly helpful in taking back the day and allowing me to stay focused.


If you’re like me, your mobile phone can be a real productivity killer. I consistently found myself being drawn to LinkedIn or the News App whenever there were lulls in my day. It could start with a simple check of the time, and the next thing I knew I was looking at the post of my old college roommate’s second cousin’s new job acquisition in San Francisco. Yikes!  Our phones have certainly made many aspects of our lives easier, but they can also hamper productivity. That’s when my son recommended I download the Forest app. He warned me that it was quite simple; the concept is merely planting a digital tree that gradually grows the longer you stay off your phone. But the impact on my day has been profound.


Every time I got distracted with texts or emails and opened my phone, there would be that darn tree again with the timer still counting for the time that I set. If you open the phone and exit the Forest app before the allotted period of time, the tree dies. That’s it. It is wildly simple and yet remarkably effective. The app also allows you to create tags and track your time on various projects. It is an effective way to view the time you’ve invested on projects and see how far you’ve come.



Perhaps my favorite component within the app is the ability to plant actual trees around the world and thus minimize your carbon footprint. The app costs $1.99 on the app store, but accumulates virtual “tokens” the longer you stay focused. After 2,500 tokens, the company will plant an actual tree somewhere in the world. So far people have planted over 160,000 trees, and they have become more efficient and present in the moment while doing it. I now use Forest  when I need concentrated focus to review content, write proposals, or even do prospecting sales calls. It’s not only effective, but fun! 


Simply put, we do not have to be held hostage to the many moving parts and distractions that we face throughout the day. In fact, often we can be more effective at our jobs if we create boundaries for projects and carve out time for getting things done. Now get out there and let me know when you start your own forest… your work day (and our planet) will be better off because of it!

Tom Athenour

Tom Athenour is the co-founder, and CEO of StarQuest Group, a leadership and sales consulting group based in Colorado. StarQuest offers executive coaching, leadership development programs, and sales training. Tom's mission is simple: to help people achieve positive, lasting change for themselves, their teams, their organizations, and even their families. For the past 25 years, Tom has been helping individuals and organizations maximize their potential by helping them develop new skills, apply new processes and most importantly overcome their limiting beliefs. As an executive coach, consultant and educator, Tom has helped leaders and sales professionals in a variety of organizations from start-ups to Fortune 500 global companies. Tom has authored articles and position papers, and has spoken at numerous national conferences about leadership, organizational change, and talent development.

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