Focus@Will, the new mood setting productivity music App Stormy Beach 7 May, 2013 2 Comments I am a music junkie. That doesn’t mean I can tell you the name of a song or the artist when it hits the radio, but I listen to hours upon hours of streaming music and radio. Especially when sitting here trying to do reviews and cover various topics in the Android world. Music plays a vital role in many peoples lives. From relaxing on the back deck with a drink in hand, to getting a message to hanging out with your new born baby. Yes, I am a bit of a sap at times too. While most of my musical needs are handled by Google Music and, in the car, the radio, there are times where neither of them can suite my mental needs. Focus@Will is the potential solution to that. Focus@Will is your musical gateway to your mental sanity. While some times you want to put on some Metallica and bang your head, there are other times where just sound is all you want. Something to keep that special part of your brain calm and relaxed while not being distracting. You know those times I am talking about. Be it some background classical tunes, ambient noise or something up beat that won’t detract you from your activity. Be it work, reading or just letting your mind drift. The app is pretty straight forward and much like their web version. You launch it, pick your music style you want to relax too and hit play. You can choose from 7 various music style. Classical, Focus Spa, Up Tempo, Alpha Chill, Acoustical, Cinematic and Ambient. After listening to all of them a number of times, I would have to go with Ambient or Acoustical myself. I am sure David would have Cinematic on 24/7 and be his own real life narrator as he walked around. The layout of the app itself is straight to the point. Choose your style, hit play. You can skip the current track offering and turn on the 100 minute productivity timer. The purpose behind the timer is pretty scientific. It takes a person approximately 20 minutes to acclimate to their current environment before their brains start to function at the full ability it is capable of. You can long press the timer to set a time limit anywhere from 1 minute to 240 minutes. Here’s how it works: Most people can only concentrate for a maximum of about 100 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 easier for you to get into the concentration flow, and then keeps you there. It works in the background by subtly soothing the part of your brain, the limbic system, that is always on the lookout for danger, food, sex or shiny things. We’ve learned that people working or studying tend to take about 20 minutes to acclimate to their environment enough to really focus on the task at hand. It takes time for your brain to get used to a stimulus and start “tuning it out” in a process called “habituation”. Each piece of music phase sequenced by focus@will has a specific role in influencing how your brain habituates, enhancing your focus and reading enjoyment. Characteristics such as musical key, intensity, arrangement, speed, emotional values, recording style, and much more determine what is played where and when. Pretty interesting stuff when you stop to think about it. For as long as I can remember I have always worked better with music playing in the background. It rarely became a distraction and I always stayed more focused on what I was attempting to complete. Be it school work, research, writing, reading or even sleeping. Once your session is up, you can rate how productive you were, or successful in your relaxation. Various styles of music can make you more or less productive, so feel free to explore. The Focus@will service offers you three weeks to try it out and see if the scientific system helps increase your productivity and even your relaxation. Once you have used the service for the 3 week trial you have options to buy a monthly subscriptions for $3.99 a month or snag a years subscription for $34.99. Don’t let that scare you off though. Once the trial ends you can still listen in in 100 minute increments. You just have to pop through some nagging subscription screens to get back to another session. Overall, while I used the app and the service it seemed that I was a bit more focused on what I was working on or doing. I set the timer for 30 minutes while relaxing in the sun and just let my mind drift. I would set it for 60 minute intervals to keep myself on task and working for a solid hour before I went to do something else. If you have issues concentrating or letting your brain relax, this is a great application and service to use that can help. Two people who have ADHD have even written in and said that Focus@Will has helped them out in their lives. The Android app is only available through the Focusatwill website. Once you open the page on your phone, you will be able to click the download button to get the app. Make sure you have 3rd party installations turned on too. There are only a few things about the app that I wish I had control over. First, getting rid of all that white space. It detracts from the peaceful imagery. Next, a way to change the image on the screen at my own set time period. I would also like to see the image go full screen and all the control hide until you touch the screen again. Finally, it doesn’t keep your screen on. So whatever your time out setting is, it shut off the screen. Of course the music still plays, but what good is adding in these soothing visuals if you can’t even enjoy them along with the music. Even with those minor annoyances, the app delivers exactly what it says it will. So if you have a concentration issue, or just need some relaxing music to help get you through your day, give Focus@Will a try. Again, head to their website on your android device, if done on a PC, you can’t pick up the app. Visit Focus@Will for the app and more scientific facts and information. FILA I cant live without music in my daily life.