Focus@Will: A Streaming Service Designed To Help You Stay On Task

focusatwill icon   Focus@Will: A Streaming Service Designed To Help You Stay On TaskTry out a music streaming site specifically designed to help you work. Focus@Will is a new streaming music service, currently in beta, created to help you focus on the task at hand. If your mind tends to wander this could help.

You might have that one album that helps you think, that helps you create. You’re not sure why, but when you put it on you’re able to focus more than you otherwise could, and the result is usually work you’re proud of. Is there a scientific reason for that? The creators of Focus@Will claims there is, and are trying to replicate it with their online streaming service:

“The system assists during a typical productivity cycle by gently getting you into the concentration flow and then keeping you there,” the site’s about page says. “it works in the background by subtly soothing the part of your brain, the limbic system, that is always on the look out for danger, food, sex or shiny things.”

Some of the music you’ll hear while using the service was even specifically created for this purpose. It worked fairly well for me, and just might for you as well.

Focusing At Will

Head to FocusAtWill to get started. You’ll need to sign in using your Facebook or Google account – you can use an email address if you have neither. When you do you’ll be taken to the player itself. The interface couldn’t be simpler – you can either press play. You can like or skip a track. You can pick a different station.

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The player is powered by HTML5, meaning you can use it on basically any device (no need for Flash!) There aren’t yet any dedicated smartphone apps. Pick whatever you’re into and the music will start immediately. There are a few choices.

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You can’t specify a genre outside of these, so hip-hop and rock fans should look elsewhere. You can give a particular tune the thumbs up, if you like it, or skip one that you find annoying, but beyond that there’s not a lot of control.

So you won’t be able to pick your favorite artist, but that’s part of the point – for the music to eventually fade into the background, where it can subconsciously prompt you to stay on target and focus. There are no vocals of any sort to be found in any of these tracks, so whatever you choose you’ll be hearing instruments only.

It’s even recommended that you turn the volume down lower than you otherwise would, to further help you focus primarily on the task at hand.

Stations Offered

There aren’t many stations, but you’re bound to like at least a couple. Here are the choices:

  • Classical.
  • Focus Spa.
  • Up Tempo.
  • Alpha Chill.
  • Acoustical.
  • Jazz.
  • Cinematic.
  • Ambient.

I’m personally switching between Acoustical and Jazz, with occasional explorations of Ambient. What do you like best? Let me know in the comments below.

Other Music Stream Sites

Of course, this isn’t the only music streaming service out there that wants to help you focus. Get Work Done Music is a simple site that pulls in mostly electronic music from SoundCloud. It’s worth a shot if you’re not a fan of Focus@Will for whatever reason.

If working out is more your thing than focus, check out FitRadio, which can provide workout music in any genre. And if you want more control there are always services like Spotify, Pandora or Grooveshark. You probably already know about them, sure, but they’re worth a reminder now and again.

Conclusion

focusatwill chart   Focus@Will: A Streaming Service Designed To Help You Stay On Task

Focus@Will plays no ads, and during its beta it’s also absolutely free. Will that change in the future? Probably, and because of the nature of the app itself I doubt advertising will play a role – they would almost certainly break the cycle of focus the app is trying to create.

So this will likely be a subscription service in the future. If you try it now you’ll know whether or not it’s a service worth paying for, so give Focus@Will a shot to find out.

Let me know if this web app works for you in the comments below, being sure to explain the great feats of focus you were able to pull off because of it. Or just complain about how you don’t like any of this music, and how that makes me a terrible person.

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15 Comments -

0 votes

Garris Rago

I’m interested by the concept of this, I will see if it’s thought well of or not when it comes out properly (not beta) before even thinking about signing up

0 votes

Aaron Couch

Garris,

What’s wrong with signing up for a service while in beta? It’s free. And frankly, I’m very impressed by it.

0 votes

Garris Rago

I was just waiting to see what most people thought of it first.

0 votes

Aaron Couch

That makes sense. However, sometimes you can’t always go off what others say, but need to just find out if it’s truly right for you. I know what you mean though and I do the same thing all the time.

0 votes

DMG

I think the act of simply stopping what you are doing and clicking the “thumbs up” button or the “skip” button is enough to break the concentration cycle.

0 votes

Justin Pot

Which is why I never do those things, but if it weren’t there people would certainly be unhappy.

0 votes

Vampie C.

The beta is USA only. :’(

Worth the mention next time. :-)

0 votes

Justin Pot

I had no idea. Thanks for pointing this out.

0 votes

Nuno

Love the concept, but like Vampie C said, is only working in the USA… is there anything similar that works on other countries?

0 votes
0 votes

slywlf

Because it was noted as pre-existing – not beta – I just sampled Get Work Done and it irritated me immediately. Most definitely not my type of music. Focus@will might work when I am simply working at the computer writing – and I was pleased with several of the options for that. For when I need to be working in the vicinity of my PC, but not on it I guess I’ll continue to rely on iTunes playlists, as Pandora becomes a needy b!^@# if you pay no attention to her ;-)

0 votes

Justin Pot

Yeah, Get Work Done isn’t for everyone. Focus@Will provides choice, but not so much that you get distracted. And Pandora’s ads really wreck the experience for me…

0 votes

Aaron Couch

You’ve most certainly found a gem here Justin. After a full day of using it while writing, I can say that it is one of, if not the best, site to listen to while writing or doing other productive things.

0 votes

Justin Pot

Glad you find it useful. Now get to work.

0 votes

Catherine M

Dam it . . . only available in the USA