I was listening to an episode of Entrepreneur on Fire the other day (which, by the way, is a great podcast), and the host interviewed a guy named Will Henshall about a project he is working on called Focus@Will. Will Henshall was once a member of the band Londonbeat whose song "I've Been Thinking About You" you would probably remember well if you lived during the 90's. With that band being behind him now, he dedicates his time to helping people find focus, including those with ADHD. It was a great interview and you can catch it here.
The idea behind Focus@Will, and I am paraphrasing from the interview, is that back in the caveman days we would be sitting in our caves all relaxed having some caveman grog and drawing lewd pictures on the cave wall and our ears would constantly be listening for the dangers that might be lurking outside our cave. After about 20 minutes or so we'd start getting nervous and go outside to make sure there wasn't anything to worry about. It was all about survival back then. While we are relatively safe nowadays, we carry over this habit from our evolution and we tend to lose focus on our work around that same 20 minute mark. Focus@Will tries to solve this issue by presenting auditory cues that turn off that urge to go 'check outside the cave'. This allows us to focus on what we are doing for a longer period of time and increases our productivity.
I was intrigued by this idea, and being plagued by focus issues in my own life I thought I would give it a try. I signed up for the free trial yesterday and tested it out this morning. My first experience was very good. I went nearly an hour heavily focused on what I was doing before I had something come up and needed to leave my desk. This is pretty good given I generally get the urge to check my email every 10 minutes or so.
It is too soon to tell whether or not this will work for me. I'm going to play out the trial and if I find benefit I'll probably buy a subscription. I'll report back later on how things go with this new tool :).
Image Credit: Day 18, Project 365 – 11.7.09 by William Brawley (http://www.flickr.com/photos/williambrawley)