Friday, January 31, 2014

Using Sound to Improve Focus at Work

I heard about the focus@will web site on Security Now, a podcast I follow every week. There is a free version at www.focusatwill.com, which is worth trying out. It will play an hour of music that is suitable for background music to eliminate other distractions and help you focus.
I experimented with it for a week or so, and now I have taken the plunge and will be paying $5 per month for the paid version. This gives you an endless variety of music in high quality stereo audio. It doesn't seem to use up much bandwidth, but I'm not about to use it on my phone.
I will give more feedback on this in a week or so, since I am going on a business trip and will be able to see how it helps (or not) in a different environment. In the meantime, check out the interesting articles on their blog, as well as the science primer, which explains the research behind the web service.


Update 20th Feb: One of the joys of living in South Africa is the crappy bandwidth. So around lunchtime the sound starts breaking up, with annoying gaps in the middle of a track, or forcing the player to go to another track. So I have been using TotalRecorder to record an hour or 90 minutes of the selection I play in the morning, and then I play that offline in the afternoon. It also means I have some music on my laptop for those times when I can't connect to the internet.

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