Taming a wandering brain on demand isn’t easy, especially when you need to be able to focus, understand what you’re working on and meet a deadline.
A lot of people work with music in the background and say it helps them focus – but not me.
I have for a long time disagreed – finding my brain tuning into the music rather than what I’m meant to be working on. It’s even caused arguments over noise levels.
When there’s music going on around me I find myself having to read, and then re-read a sentence to understand it and focus more on not singing David Guetta’s latest song in my head then the article in front of me.
So when I stumbled across a music service based on neuroscience which has been designed to help you focus not only on demand but for extended periods of time, I was a little sceptical.
I was even more surprised to find that when I trialled the streaming service it helped me pay attention.
But it wasn’t just your normal mainstream music playing flowing through my headphones.
Neuroscience based music company focus@will said listening to the right kind of music can help you retain information and lengthen your attention span.
Music which doesn’t connect with your emotions can boost your focus levels and cut out distractions, focus@will said.
While a lot of offices have music playing in the background, the company said a lot of mainstream music is designed to connect with the listener intellectually and emotionally and can prove to be a bigger distraction.
The company’s playlists include smooth rhythms which don’t put you to sleep and are based on the idea that music can help you tap into your concentration flow.
But it’s maintaining that focus which I found to be the best part – the playlists help you stay in the zone, essentially blocking out the part of your brain (the flight or fight mechanism) which is on the lookout for “danger, food, sex or shiny things,” the company said.
The average person can concentrate for about 20 minutes at a time (that’s me) but when I turn the focus@will playlist on I find myself getting lost in what ever it is I’m typing away at.
At one point I even forgot I had pasta boiling away on the stove top because I was so engaged with what I was working on.
Focus@will claims its tool can boost your productivity cycle up to about 100 minutes before you need to have a rest.
“Most people can only concentrate for a maximum of about 100 continuous minutes before needing to take a quick break to stretch, move about, maybe get a drink of water, and so on before they resume for another session,” focus@will said.
The company said when people are working or studying it takes about 20 minutes to get used to their environment before the brain can begin tuning out the distractions but their science based playlists cut out this adjustment time – allowing you to get on with your work when you need to.
Whether it’s the placebo effect or the real deal, the streaming service which is similar to Spotify or Pandora, is definitely helping me concentrate and zone out the distractions around me.
Here’s an example: