Brain.fm – Playing Mind Control
We’ve all had days where we find it very hard to concentrate and focus. It could be because we didn’t get enough sleep or there is just too much background noise in the office. Whatever the reason, the brain is just not working at 100%. Besides more coffee and locking yourself away in a sound proof room with no windows, we’ve discovered an unique solution that uses music and artificial intelligence to get your brain into the state you want.
It’s called brain.fm and it’s a novel new solution that is available on your phone or desktop. Brain.fm plays various styles of ambient music that gets your brain into a state of greater focus, relaxation or sleep. It does this by playing music with rhythms that are conducive to the states you want to get into. By listening to this music, your brainwaves match up with the rhythms and you enter into the state of your choice.
The founders of Brain.fm cite scientific studies that support their novel approach. These studies show EEG scans (electrical brain activity) showing visual pattern recognition speed and precision and sleep quality all increase using brain.fm music. The company believes that “music is a vastly underestimated tool for therapy and mental performance.” and has users such as the US Olympic greco roman wrestling team using it to improve focus, recovery and sleep.
Features, Use Cases and Pricing
Brain.fm has three main uses – get you focused for greater productivity, quieten your mind to remove chatter, and wind you down so that you can get a good night’s rest. Brain.fm starts with music that works for most people and then learns from your ratings of the various programs and then customises the music to suit you. This is assuming of course, you’re actually able to accurately rate whether it’s working or not.
In each state you want to achieve, you’re able to select from 11 different sounds for focus, 9 for relaxation and 8 for sleep. These range from cinematic music focus (probably the first one I listened to) to wind sleep with more being added over time. There is an initial free trial that gives you 10 sessions exploring the focus objective with an upgrade required if you want to try out the relax or sleep states.
Also, you can set each session to different lengths – from 30 minutes, 1 hour, 2 hours to infinity. Brain.fm is currently in beta and therefore, its pricing is fairly low for the potential productivity and mental health gains of the solution. You can go month to month at US$6.95/month, pay $47.88 for a whole year, or $149.99 to get it forever. Both the Yearly and Forever plans have a 60 day money back guarantee. Pricing is low because the product is still “in development” so there may be bumps along the way.
My Personal Test
I gave this a go myself by testing it out in an open plan office area. I normally find these environments distracting with all the noise around – phone calls, keyboards clattering, colleagues having conversations and people walking around. I find it difficult to focus for long periods of time (over 1 hour) in these environments. I started with the default “intense focus” setting and let it do its work. The music it generated was upbeat and could easily be music you’d hear in an intense drama-filled TV show or movie. It put me on edge and I instantly felt a slight rush of energy.
I immediately jumped into my first task at hand, which was writing a blog post. Writing doesn’t come easily to me so it’s often a task that takes much longer than I want. I decided that if I were able to get a complete blog post done within the hour, I’d be pretty happy. Off I went, researching my topic, gathering information, pulling out the key points that I wanted to make, writing a quick plan and then drafting. The music started to blend into the background, drowning out the distracting noises of the open office and I found myself thinking more clearly.
The result? One hour and 10 minutes to complete the blog post. This was pretty good for me. The only reason why I went over an hour was because my research brought me across a couple of articles that piqued my interest and I spent the extra 10 minutes reading them. I continued using brain.fm in the open environment for another two hours knocking out another blog post and was able to get through some bigger tasks on my to-do list. Overall, I found brain.fm effective and am going to try it out over a longer period.
Brain.fm is certainly worth a try. Given it’s low price and the benefits it can deliver, its a no-brainer to at least try it out for a month or two to assess if it works for you. I will certainly do so.
The one caveat I have is that although brain.fm can help you focus and drown out the distractions around you, it does not remove the distractions in front of you. If you’re working on your computer and you have email and social media notifications popping up left right and centre on your screen, then those will continue to distract you. The most effective strategy would be to remove those notifications along with using brain.fm to get your mind into high gear.
Know of any other useful productivity tools? We’d love to hear about them! Share them by commenting below or emailing us at [email protected].
Co-founder of Cornerstone and web junkie, Michael knows just how to diagnose your online problems and remedy the issue. An online enthusiast who believes in technology as an enabler of growth, Michael worries about all the details so you don't have to.