I was diagnosed with ADHD as an adult. I didn’t show too many signs of it as a kid, other than excessive talking. I chalk that up to having a brain that never turns off – not necessarily ADHD, just an active mind. But, as an adult, it seems I have some problems with inattention. This started before kids, so I can’t blame them. Ha!
As a writer, the ability to concentrate well is imperative if I want to get anything done. Now with the voices of children added into the mix, I had all but given up trying to earn a living with my writing – something that was not a problem before kids, since I was able to get into that hyperfocused state and just crank out the words, thousands at a time. The words don’t come when I get interrupted constantly and there’s a massive amount of varied background noises.
But I also run into the flip side of this issue: not enough noise. I save most of my writing for when the kids are occupied and I know I’ll have maybe half an hour of no interruptions, or for after they are in bed. But it’s also quiet at those times. Too quiet.
This article originally appeared on my old blog, Townsley Times. If you came here looking for this particular article but thought you were going to a different site, never fear, you’re actually in the right place. 🙂
I was mindlessly scrolling Instagram one night when I ran across an ad for an app called focus@will. It is a music app, but it’s made for people in the creative arts and tech arena who struggle to concentrate without some kind of background noise. I signed up for the free trial and took their quiz to see which of their “stations” would appeal to my brain the most. Some missed the mark but some really have been great!
The cool thing is that within a “station,” you can pick different intensities of the music. I have found that low intensity is great for me, because it allows me to get into that focused state without having a loud sound pop into my conscious mind, jarring me out of concentration mode. That is what happens with my kids around, and what has kept me from writing more than just sporadically for the last 7ish years.
Anything too upbeat just doesn’t work so well if I’m in a reflective mood (i.e., wordsmithing). But, I have found that if I’m just getting out what I already have in my mind, the higher intensity music of the same genres does work. This is great for brain dumping! Reflective mode? Not so much. But that’s just me.
In addition to various types of music, they have the hum of a drone propeller, simulated cafe sounds, and water. There are quite a few techno type channels, one of which is their ADHD sound channel, and I must say, I absolutely hate that one, oddly enough. It has an industrial feel to it and I don’t care for that type of sound. But apparently it’s been shown to work with ADHD type folks.
I stick with the focus@will channels that feature classical music, classic or baroque piano, acoustic guitar, or the “cinematic” station which is orchestral. I’m regularly cranking out 500 words in 30 minute sessions now, if I’m typing on my phone, which takes much longer than if I’m on my desktop computer. But if I’m laying in bed trying to rest and get relaxed enough to sleep, I don’t want to be up on the computer.
Another cool thing is that you can track how productive you were in each session. You don’t have to do a timed session, but when you do, you can tell it how productive you felt you were so it can start tailoring the music to your liking. You can skip songs also, but not tell it which ones you enjoy. The thought behind that is that you shouldn’t know if you are liking a song since ideally, you’ll be focused on your task and not on what the focus@will app is playing. It’s meant for your subconscious.
You can sign up for a free two week trial to focus@will to see what you think. At the time of this writing, it’s $9.99/mo if you pay monthly. Also, if you use my referral link, you’ll get $20 toward any plan, so you can get two months for free or a great deal on the annual plan.
If you’re a writer, blogger, author, graphic designer, or techie of any kind, this can benefit you. It can also benefit your homeschooled child who has attention issues. I’ve even turned the app on in the middle of the night when the little two decided it was play time. It got them calmed down and back to sleep faster than it normally would take. The app does run in the background so you can multi-task or turn your screen off.
The app gets two thumbs up from me and I did not cancel when my trial was up. 😉 You can check it out here and if you do, I’d love to hear how it worked for to help improve your concentration or that of your kids!
Note: I wrote the majority of this article in one 30 minute session using focus@will. It’s around 850 words. The proof is in the pudding.
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