Happy Memorial Day!
Happy Memorial Day everyone! At least those of you in the US. To the rest of you… Happy Monday! I have an awesome service for you that you can put to good use while you work hard today!
If you’re off work in the States, I do hope that you found some stuff from our recent episode about fun gadgets to get to celebrate the holiday, and are putting them to good use. Like the camo apron. Fun at the Grill! But I also hope that you take a minute to remember those men and women who have died serving our country. And thank those people you know who are currently fighting for our freedom. Like Tim Kirk, who is a Geek Beat Patron. He’s in the Air Force and has been for 25 years! Tim, we appreciate you!
We also appreciate all of you who have donated to the Geek House fund and are getting your name permanently displayed on the awesome, artistic Geek House Supporter Wall of Fame! You can help out at geekbeat.tv/fundraiser We want to make this a showcase of what we geeks can accomplish when we work together! It’ll be Geek Heaven!
Better Concentration with Focus@Will
Okay, so a few weeks ago, Michel Bayan told me about focus@will. He was visiting the studio and saw that I was sitting on my Rebel Desk Treadmill at my stand up desk. People like to give me a hard time about that. Sometimes a girl needs a break, people! I’m not magical! Though… Paul Dixon is.
Anyway! I had to explain that I was in the middle of a MAJOR project. I was dealing with screwed up spreadsheets and having to fix them… it was a juggling act and highly detail oriented! And I just needed to have ultra-focus. No people coming in and talking to me. No distractions. No movement. So I chose to sit down, put on my headphones with my favorite playlist, and hammer it out! So he says… are you listening to focus@will?
And I say.. no! What is that? And then he says… it’s brilliant! And shows it to me. And indeed, it has now become part of my life.
Music for Productivity
It’s a music service built by musicians that’s sole purpose is NOT to entertain you. Instead, they want exactly the opposite. They want to ultimately NOT be heard by you. Sounds odd, right?
They take existing songs that have a certain… rhythm and beats… buy the license for it and remaster the song. After they’re done doing their fancy neuroscientist stuff that I can’t possibly begin to understand… the final song is one that is meant to engage your brain’s limbic system and get you ultra focused. They say it increases your focus by 12-15% and can keep you working in a productive work session by up to 400%.
So let me back up here for a second and talk about what I used to do. I love Pandora and Spotify, and use them every day. And they’re great for keeping me up beat and happy while at the gym, doing easy stuff at work, doing dishes…whatever. But here’s the thing. I actually have spent hours cultivating playlists on Spotify and teaching Pandora what’s helpful to me and what’s not when it comes to my need to be productive at work.
But… wait… was I really productive when I was stopping what I was working on in order to remove a song from the playlist or say “yes, that’s a great song that is helping me be productive”. Music services like that have a permanent place in my life, but when I want to be ultra productive and concentrate, why break that concentration? Focus@will’s neuroscientists have already put the work into finding the best songs to help you.
Tunes Without Lyrics
One of the most interesting things they do is that they remove all voices from the songs. As humans, we desire contact with people. We’re built to pay attention when a voice is heard. But that actually engages a different part of your brain and distracts you from what you’re doing. So none of that! And you know what, I have noticed a major difference with that gone. I’m no longer THINKING about the music itself. Or the words. Or the message of the song. I’m only thinking about work. And walking on my treadmill but that’s beside the point!
That being said, we’re all different. And people like different things. Dave Curlee likes heavy metal. I don’t. So they give you different channel options. Classical. Focus Spa. Up Tempo. Cinematic. Water. Piano. I myself am an Alpha Chill kinda girl.
The Buttons That Aren’t There
You’ll notice there is no thumbs up or down button because of what we talked about earlier – you shouldn’t be spending your time training a system. You should be working. But there is a Skip button. I haven’t had to use it much if I’m on the right channel for my brain’s preferences, but every once in a while a song will come on that pulls me out of my concentration and causes me to THINK about the music that I’m hearing. When that happens, I hit the skip button to help the service personalize to my needs.
You’ll also notice there isn’t a pause button. I was VERY frustrated with this at first. If I have to take a quick break and go do something I wanted to hit pause. But turns out there’s a reason for that. The service is designed to increase your Focus Session. The amount of time you spend withOUT leaving your desk. And each session of music is designed to ramp you up slowly into what they call a Flow State. It takes 10-20 minutes for your brain to fully leave all distraction behind, and the music is catering to that. Once you’re in your Flow State, the music is very different than it was when you first hit start. So if you break and get distracted by your officemates, you need to ramp back into it for it to be most effective.
The Bottom Line
So the bottom line is… depending on your work, focus@will isn’t necessarily going to be playing all day long for you. But any time you have a few minutes to really dig into a project and want to be MORE productive, this has turned out to be a very useful service for me. I gotta have something to get me away from all these boys at the office!
The service costs about $4.99/month or $45/year for unlimited use and all the personalization features. You can even track how productive you were during each session! It’s still available for free. You’ll get 60 minutes of music on each channel. And when those 60 minutes are up, you can hit the play button again, and the music will repeat rather than continuing to give you new music. And of course they also have iOS and Android apps.
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