Listening to This Music Will Make You 4 Times More Productive

Do you listen to music to help you concentrate? Does it work? If you’re anything like me, you’ll have a bit of a win-some, lose-some history with the technique—sometimes it’s super effective and you’re in the zone within the first few bars (my personal go-to is Beyoncé’s Lemonade album), but others? Well, let’s just say I’ve joined in on a few too many choruses. But what if we told you that researchers have finally found the answer to why the right music can, in fact, help us focus, and more importantly, what that music is?

Let’s address the issue first. The ability to concentrate and focus on the task at hand, be it a straightforward report or something more complex, is currently particularly weak among us Brits. We may be a nation of stoic “keep calm and carry on” merch, but a recent study revealed that a whopping 62% of us regularly struggle to concentrate or focus on what we’re carrying on with. A quarter of those polled also admitted to having found themselves in hot water at the office due to a lack of concentration. So the struggle is real, and science feels our pain.

Now, what’s music got to do with it? Well, aside from the popular (though regularly debated) Mozart effect theory, which claims that listening to Mozart compositions can boost overall intelligence and performance, several academic studies do back up the idea that listening to music can have a profound effect on stimulating and focusing the brain, especially when it comes to battling a room full of potential distractions (hello, open-plan office).

Enter the groundbreaking research…

For the past five years, sound engineers, music producers and neuroscientists have been working together at L.A.-based company Focus@Will to delve into what kinds of beats and bass lines really make our brains tick. And after some rigorous testing, they’ve managed to compose a whole host of tracks that address the level of stimulation the brain needs to stay engaged in a task without tipping over into the realms of disruption.

“What we’ve created is really unique, in that it works by carefully managing the relationship between your unconscious mind and the ‘you’ that is trying to get some work done,” founder Will Henshall tells me. “All the music is instrumental and has been scientifically designed and produced to soothe that little voice in your head that keeps popping up when you’re trying to dig into the day’s work.”

“The system works for two people out of every three who try it, and most people find that there is one particular channel or stream (we offer several, tailored to different personality types) that works perfectly for them,” he adds. While Will can’t reveal the exact secret formula that makes his compositions so effective, he did drop this nugget: “The rule of thumb is the more difficulty you have focusing in general, the more energy you need in the music.”

On that note, here’s a breakdown of the key things to remember when selecting music to boost your concentration, with a little help from science and the Focus@Will team.

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