When I was finishing college, the “lofi hip-hop beats to study/chill to” meme was all the rage. But on campus, it wasn’t just a meme, so many students were convinced when they listened to this playlist they were more productive, focused on their work, and less bothered by distractions. Throughout the library, you’d see students with noise-canceling headphones on, slowly bobbing their book-buried heads.
And this idea seems to be what [email protected] latched onto. But it isn’t new by any means. People have been claiming binaural beats help them focus since the early 2010’s. Even before then, ideas about the interaction between productivity and music can even be dated as far back as the days of psychologist B.F. Skinner and his ideas about the effects of the environment on behavior.
But does [email protected] actually help me get work done? I’d say yes. Or, I would at least say that I feel more productive when they’re playing, and that seems to be the general consensus on using this program. Most [email protected] users (which consist of both entrepreneurs & employees) tend to agree that they at least feel more productive while using it.
I’ll be the first to admit that I don’t have a surefire system for measuring productivity. Of course, I can always look at how many projects I completed in a given day or week, but not every project takes me the same amount of time, nor are they equally difficult across the board. So I can’t say using Focus at Will made me more productive with any definitive data, but what I can say is that when using it I got much more work done with seemingly less effort input.
But, it’s also important to note that I have a whole work routine to help get myself into work mode. I work around the same time every day, in similar locations, usually with a cup of coffee. All these things are paired with my work schedule, and I am conditioned to produce maximum work output in this kind of environment. Therefore, adding [email protected] is only a supplement to my whole regime.
Since that’s the case, I can’t make any claims about it, making me productive when I am not feeling productive. All I can say is that it seemed like my productivity increased while using it.
Scientific Backing for productivity music
In writing this Focus at will review, I looked at some of their websites’ claims regarding how well the music works and checked to see if it matched up with independent research. But before we get to that, let’s go over their claims and the research they conducted first.
The result of a seven-year research and development process, [email protected] claim to be backed by neuroscience. They argue that humans are only able to focus intensely on something for an average of about 20 minutes. By slightly changing the music intervals as time goes on, the continued change in sound keeps users focused for up to 100 minutes. Believe it or not, this claim is backed by Cornell researchers.
Their study showed that [email protected] users were up to 400% more productive than a control group. What’s more, is that users of the music program were more consistently productive across the board. In contrast, non-users tended to be much more sporadic with their measured rates of productivity.
Based on my continued research, it doesn’t seem that [email protected] just cherry-picked a study to fit their narrative. When compared to a study from Cambridge, some positive effects were documented when looking at music and memory recall tasks, but they did find that the positive results are very much dependent on the tempo and the volume of the music.
Some experts at Northcentral University argue for the benefits of certain kinds of music on focus, but they are convinced classical music provides the most benefits. Like the previously mentioned Cambridge study, the experts at Northcentral argue that the tempo and volume are some of the most critical factors in increasing productivity.
They also vouch for the importance of using curated study playlists instead of just picking some songs you think may help you study. So maybe [email protected] is on to something. Considering the amount of scientific backing their software has paired with my anecdotal evidence, I think it’s safe to say that this program really can increase your productivity. The effect likely isn’t just a placebo.
My [email protected] Review
My experience overall with [email protected] has been a pretty good one, but it has its shortcomings. So let’s break down the pros and cons that I noticed while using the program.
- Feel more productive
- Reduces distractions
- I genuinely like some of the music it plays
- There is a free trial
- Backed by science
- Most of the music sounds more or less the same
- The built-in productivity measurement tools don’t work all that well
- Wish it had a white noise option
Like I already mentioned, I don’t think this program will get you motivated, or pull you out of a funk if that’s what you’re looking for. But I do think it could be a great supplement to your work routine, especially if music in the background has proved beneficial to your work routine before.
The real question here is, does it work better than the productivity playlists on Spotify, Amazon Music, or whatever music streaming service you are probably already subscribed to? I’d hesitate to say yes because I get more music that I like to listen to through a lofi hip-hop beat playlist.
But for someone interested in maximizing their productivity, this program is worth a shot, especially considering that there is a free trial available. And after that, the program is less than three dollars a month if you get the annual plan. If the program is working for you, then it should pay for itself in no time.