Brain.fm has Unlocked my Productivity
But I wanted to take a second to dive a little deeper to see what it is about the service that has really unlocked my productivity in the 5 years that I’ve been using it.
After digging through my emails, I found that I started using brain.fm way back in 2016. To be honest, I’m not sure where I first heard about the service. Likely on a podcast or blog of someone I admire who claims to be productive and focused all the time. The tagline for the service in the early days was “Music for the brain”. Seems like a concise way of putting it.
I’ve always considered myself to be a fairly creative person. Like most creative people, I need to feel comfortable in order to create. Whether it’s writing, designing, producing multimedia content, whatever. It’s important for me to feel “in the zone” or “in a state of flow”. Those phrases do get overused, but in 2016 I was in search of something to help me concentrate and feel that focus. Brain.fm fit the bill.
I’m not the type of person to go rushing to pay for a new, unproven service. I was happy to use brain.fm as a free focus companion but I wasn’t sure it was worth any additional cost. But after just a few weeks of seeing how it helped me monotask and get more done, I was open to paying for it.
It’s probably worth an entire dedicated post to the pros and cons of paying for a lifetime membership for something. But that’s exactly what I did with brain.fm. I think Tivo (remember them?) was the first tech company that offered this idea of a “lifetime service”. Or at least this was the first time I had encountered it. You’d pay an upfront premium to have a lifetime digital subscription to service for your Tivo box. Of course, that’s the lifetime of the device, not as many free Tivos until the day you died.
Brain.fm was offering up something similar. $39 (and I think I had a promo code for a few more bucks off) for a lifetime of its “music for your brain”. No monthly recurring fees. Just a flat $30+ in order to have unlimited access to its magical focus formula. I was in.
The features of the product haven’t changed a whole lot over the years. You’re basically given a few choices based on what you’re trying to accomplish. You can choose to hear music that’s broken into three categories. Focus, relax, and sleep. I’ll be honest, I don’t have a lot of trouble with relaxing and sleeping. Nearly 100% of my time is spent in the world of focus, and I think that’s where the service is most valuable.
Once you’ve decided on your category, you can hone in on the specific types of sounds that you want to hear. These range from more traditional music beats to more abstract sounds. I’ve become very attached to their “LoFi Focus” channel. For me, this is the perfect balance of beats and ambiance. There is enough of a tune to follow, but it’s not distracting enough to get too much of your attention. “Grooves Focus” works well for me too. Sometimes I’ll mix it up and try “Classical” or “Atmospheric”. There really are no bad choices, it’s just personal preference. It’s good to experiment to find what works for you.
The music will start to play with controls along the bottom of your screen. Here you can also set a timer for how long you want the music to play. I find that this is helpful if I’m working on a concentrated Pomodoro session. I can set a timer for 25 minutes (plus a 5-minute break) and then set my brain.fm player to play for 30 minutes. When the music stops and the timer rings simultaneously, it’s the perfect productive moment.
Still not convinced that brain.fm will help your productivity? They offer some data to back up their product in the “Learning” section of the site. Brain.fm often gets lumped into the Binaural Beats category of focus music. While there are some similarities, brain.fm does not consider itself to be Binaural Beats music. Instead, they like to consider their music to be part of DAT or “Dynamic Attending Theory”
DAT is far too complicated of a process to examine right now, but here’s what you need to know. This basic idea is that your brain’s attention is meant to go up and down depending on the audio cues it hears. This is like when you listen to the natural inflection of human speech. There will be highs and lows to the person’s speech while your brain follows along. It all boils down to the rhythms and cadence of the sounds that you hear. Brain.fm creates its tracks to capitalize on this function of the brain and help you focus better.
I really can’t speak highly enough about brain.fm. Sure, there are other products and services that offer similar sounds to help you focus. But I admire brain.fm for sticking to what works and focusing (pun intended) on just this one area of audio. The software is easy to use with no superfluous bells and whistles. If you’ve been struggling to find your audio focus and are looking for something new to try, brain.fm could be your answer,