How it Works

How We Improve Concentration with Scientifically Designed Music

Focus@will is a new music service based on human neuroscience. It helps you focus, reduce distractions, maintain your productivity and retain information when working, studying, writing and reading. The scientifically tested technology behind focus@will has been shown to alter brain activity toward a state that is more conducive to productivity.

Most people can only concentrate for a maximum of about 20 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. The focus@will system makes it faster and easier for you to concentrate – it brings you a focused flow state and then keeps you there.

How does it Work?

Music has been used across cultures for millennia to put people’s minds in specific states: only recently have neuroscientists discovered that this effect is due to the broad impact of sound on neural circuitry across the brain – not just in the auditory cortex, but in all areas of the brain, including areas that are important for memory, analysis, and creativity. Focus@will uses the brain-shaping features of sound to keep your mind from avoiding two undesirable states: distraction and habituation.

You already know about distraction – it’s what happens when you have a video on in the background, or your kid is crying, or you turn on the radio while you’re working. Part of your brain is focused on the distractor, and you can’t concentrate on your work. But what about habituation? Habituation is the other extreme – your mind gets bored with your surroundings (environmental habituation) as well as whatever you’re working on (goal habituation). Because your mind seeks novelty, habituation leads to checking your social media, opening your email, or calling a friend rather than making continuous progress on the screenplay or code you’re writing.

Keeping your mind from being distracted away from your work while simultaneously keeping you from habituating to your work is the key to focus@will’s audio technology. Without sharing our “secret sauce,” we can tell you that we do this by making sure that each piece of music is related to the previous piece in a way that keeps you from being distracted by the changes, but that each piece of music is different enough from the previous piece so that you don’t habituate to the music or your goal. In this way, we balance your mind between the two poles of distraction and habituation, keeping you focused on your work.

Science Primer

Our senses are constantly inundated with information: the light streaming in the windows, the sight of people passing by on the street, the smells of a cafe, the sounds of conversations and dogs barking over the din of city traffic, the light scrape of a scarf around your neck, the pressure of the hardwood table on your elbows. Each time you notice something in your environment, you are paying attention to it. The ability to focus your attention on something while ignoring competing stimuli is called selective attention by psychologists, and we would never get anything done without it. Read More...

Here's our latest research white paper, 'The Influence of Streamlined Music on Cognition and Mood' by our Science Director Dr Julia Mossbridge.

How do we know it works?

First, the results of our HRV (Heart Rate Variability) study show that focus@will audio tracks tune people’s brains to frequencies associated with sustained, task-focused attention and thought (read the study results). Second, we see a greater than 200-400% increase in focus time with focus@will, based on a survey of 22,000 of our most active users. Third, we see dips in usage over the weekends, so we know our subscribers are using focus@will primarily during work hours, a key measure of whether the system works. Fourth, we ask our users to rate their productivity during each session, and we’ve found that the average productivity in a one-hour focus@will session is 75% – this is far above the productivity most people report in an hour without focus@will.

We use patent-pending technology to help prevent habituation from affecting the focusing effect of the music. As illustrated above, by avoiding the productivity killers of distraction and goal habituation, your concentration is maximized over the full 100-minute cycle rather than oscillating in much less efficient increments.

Our exclusive instrumental music library includes a significant number of newly commissioned works from well-known music producers and composers that you won’t hear anywhere else.

Here’s the initial study on Focus@Will Research showing an increase of 11-12% for beta and theta frequencies at the P3 and P4 regions, situated over brain area 39, which bilaterally serves functions such as processing language, reading, spatial focusing and executive control

We are completing an exciting, new large-scale trial with our Science Director, Dr. Julia Mossbridge, to determine if we can establish which genres and intensities of music work best for different brain types, and which cognitive mechanisms improve as a result of focus@will exposure. We’ll post results as soon as we get them.

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