Increasing Concentration and Productivity with Music
We could all use a little help concentrating, and this is especially true after a long weekend! Sometimes it’s just not that easy to get back into a productive rhythm and avoid all the unnecessary distractions. So, I thought I’d share my personal secret to staying focused. I use Focus@Will, both the desktop and app version, and, no, this is not an endorsement. I’ve been a subscriber for the past 3 years and absolutely love it.
Music has been used for millennia to put people’s minds into specific states. According to recent studies in neuroscience, 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 sound to keep our mind from avoiding two states: distraction and habituation.
We all know what distraction feels like—part of our brain is focused elsewhere and we cannot get ourselves to concentrate on the task at hand. On the other end of the spectrum is habituation, the process by which our mind gets bored with our surroundings (environmental habituation) or whatever it is that we’re working on (goal habituation). Because our mind seeks novelty, habituation leads us to checking things like social media and email, rather than making continuous progress on our task.
Which is where Focus@Will comes in. The application makes it both faster and easier to reach a flow state, and then keeps us there.
Personally, I’ve noticed that having my headphones on is more effective than listening to it aloud. To me, the music feels soothing and puts my mind into a trance-like state, which allows me to easily concentrate for 45 minutes at a time, without my mind wandering. Between each session I take 5 to 15 minutes breaks. I also structure my day around this routine, scheduling time slots for work. During these work sessions, I keep my phone and Mac on Do Not Disturb and only check or make calls during my breaks.
I’m always reading and researching the most effective ways to continue being most efficient and productive. Thus far, this has made the biggest impact.