Rating 3.5/5

The Good

  • Attractive UI with lots of eye candy
  • Ongoing challenges to boost productivity
  • Discourages phone addiction
  • Either a one time or recurring fee if you choose to purchase pro level

The Bad

  • No whitelist for apps that you may need to access during a session
  • Collecting donuts may not keep your attention after awhile

The Bottomline

Donut Dog is an adorable way to log your productivity.  The app is littered with cute pop ups, eye-catching imagery and encouraging sounds effects. If you have a sweet tooth, and the prospect of popping out different kind of donuts thrills you, then this is the app for you.  If you are looking for a gamified app that has a bit more substance and depth, then you might want to keep on looking.

Donut Dog: Feed Your Focus. Starve Distractions

If there's a productivity app out there, most likely, I've already tried it. In my never ending quest for the perfect solution, I've downloaded nearly every to do list, online planner, and tool out there in a desperate attempt to make my life a little easier.  

Hence, I am on a continuous search for productivity apps with a zing. And by zing, I mean, some form of distraction that can take me from the doldrums of completing a task.  So, it's no surprise that I have a particular fascination with gamification apps. These kind of apps not only help you to complete your tasks but they do so by making it part of a game. (Call me crazy, but I simply can't understand why all tasks can't be fun.)  My latest search has led me to the doghouse.

The Breakdown

Donut Dog: Feed Your Focus. Starve Distractions is available in both Apple and Google Play Stores where users can download the app for no cost. The developer touts it as a great way to beat phone addiction, focus on your tasks, and have fun while doing so. The app's premise is based on a virtual dog named Focus. During each timed session, a pulsating donut machine churns out donuts for your pet. Your job is to keep her healthy and fed.

Nuts and Bolts

Launch the app and you are hit with a bevy of donuts that pop up on your screen. You are then given the option of immediately diving in or signing up for an account. I decided to bypass the sign up and was promptly introduced to Focus, a grey, one-eyed beast clutching a donut.

A message pops up and you are encouraged to "Be Productive. Bake Donuts. Use the Donut Machine to Bake Donuts and Track Your Time!" The next screen briefly lists a number of available features including competing with friends, working through levels and logging your statistics. But more on that later.

Once you navigate to the screen where your session begins, you will see your current level on the top left of your screen. On the opposite side are three circles indicating your dog's happiness. To actually begin a session you have two choices: press the Focus button or you can hit the small yellow clock icon which takes you to a group of preset time segments ranging from five minutes to two hours.

For my first run, I decided on a 25 minute time frame to so I could do a pomodoro. At the end of a session you are prompted to name the task you were working on. Four tags are offered: Work, Study, Social and Sport. Once you tag your session, you can hoard your donuts in your Donut Stash or you can feed Focus.  If you choose the latter, you are showered with some (very cool) celebratory confetti.

Challenges, Rewards, and How Productive Are You, Really?

If you're someone who loves to get an overview of how productive (or unproductive) you're being, then you'll appreciate Donut Dog's statistics feature. You can view the amount of time spent on the app by day, week, month, or year. Those who are interested in habit forming apps will like the yearly view which encourages you to maintain a streak or consecutive number of days that the app is used. The more focus sessions you have, the more coins you receive. Once you rack up, you can then pop in to the Donut Store and acquire a variety of donuts, donut machines, recipes and backgrounds. You can also visit the store to accept a number of different challenges or quests to build up your coffers.

Donut Dog Pro

An option to support Patrick, the developer, is available by purchasing Donut Dog Pro. He pens a brief letter in which he notes that the app is hand made in Berlin (with love) and encourages fans to consider buying him a cup of coffee so that he may continue working on updates. A one time purchase of $5.99, 10.99, or a monthly subscription of $2.99 are all ways that you can chip in. Several advanced features are included with this version including an anti-cheat mode, customizable tags, and increased challenges.

Final Verdict

This lovely app is fun and easy to use. Many will find Donut Dog the perfect answer for their sweet tooth. However, there are those who will find the gamification aspects of this app far too simplistic. For those seeking more customization, you can be left hungry for more.