#264: How the Right Music Can Make You a More Focused and Productive Writer

If you’ve been listening to my podcast show for a while, you know I don’t use it to promote specific products.

We get those kinds of pitches several times a week, but we always say no.

That’s because we want this show to be helpful, informational, inspiring and motivating—not a commercial for products and services.

Heck, I rarely even talk about my coaching services on the show!

But today I’m making an exception.

Because the service we’ll talk about has been so incredibly helpful to me and my productivity, that I can’t help but tell you all about it.

In today’s podcast episode, my guest is Will Henshall, CEO and founder of Focus@Will
my favorite productivity improvement tool.

I’ve been a super-happy subscriber since 2014, and I use it every single workday.

But don’t worry … even though Will and I talk about the service and how it works, we also get deep into related topics, such as what helps people get and stay focused—and even some of the evolutionary reasons for it.

The notes that follow are a very basic, unedited summary of the show. There’s a lot more detail in the audio version. You can listen to the show using the audio player below. Or you can subscribe in iTunes to get this show delivered straight to the Podcasts app on your smart phone, tablet or iPod.


Before we get started: I’m an affiliate partner of Focus@Will, which means that if you decide to subscribe to their music service through the links on this page, I may get a small referral fee for referring you.

These referral fees help support the show and pay my team for putting it together. So I hope you at least give the free trial a go. 😉

Tell us about yourself and your business

Will Henshall is an inventor, entrepreneur and music composer. He’s also Founder and CEO of Focus@Will.

In 1987, Will founded the British pop band Londonbeat and had two Billboard #1 hit records, including the song “I’ve been thinking about you.”

After leaving the band, he founded Rocket Network, which created a professional audio media transfer system DigiDelivery. He sold the company to Avid/Digidesign in 2003.

What led you create Focus@Will?

As part of the sale to DigiDelivery, Will had to work at Harvard for several months. It was his first desk job.

His desk was located in a busy office area, so he looked for music that would block out the noise and help with focus and productivity. But nothing was available.

This sent him down a path that eventually led to setting up a neuroscience audio music lab where his team tests and measures brainwaves when listening to different kinds of music.

Eventually, they found a link between how easily people are distracted to the kind of music that helps them focus.

How can we know the type of music that will work best for us?

There’s a free quiz on the Focus@Will site. It has an 80 percent accuracy rate in predicting what type of music will work best for your brain.

About one-third of users listen to the Alpha Chill channel. Twenty percent listen to the channel Uptempo.

Five percent of users listen to a channel specifically designed for people with ADHD.

Is there an optimal way to listen to these channels?

Some people respond better when listening to an external speaker than earphones—and the placement of the speaker can be important.

If you put the speaker on your desk, the sound is within arm’s length, which is too close.

Your limbic system pays particular attention to nearby sounds (because your brain is hardwired to be on alert for nearby predators), so the music can become distracting.

Often, the best placement is six feet away, to the side and lower down to imitate the evolutionary feeling that you’re safe up in a tree.

What about headphones?

Wearing noise canceling headphones is fatiguing. First, it creates a loud signal that you can’t hear but still blasts your ears. Second, what you see conflicts with what you hear, which is also tiring.

However, each brand works differently, so you can experiment to see if one works better than the other for you.

Who is this service best suited for?

Will recently signed up a Google Ads marketing agency with about 120 users. About 25 percent of those users use the service consistently.

When Will asked about the profile of those users, the CEO said they tended to be his most highly paid, valuable and talented creatives.

These are the people who are the most easily distracted—and yet are incredibly productive and talented when they’re not.

Where can we learn more about Focus at Will?

Visit the Focus@Will website.

Sign up to get a one-week free trial.



By the way… whenever you’re ready, here are 3 ways I can help you grow your freelance business:

1. Grab a free copy of my book.

It’s called Earn More in Less Time: The Proven Mindset, Strategies and Actions to Prosper as a Freelance Writer. The title says it all. 😉 — Click Here

2. Join my implementation program and be a case study.

I’m putting together a new implementation group this month. If you’re earning $5k+/month (or the part-time equivalent) from your freelance business … and you’d like to grow your income quickly with better clients … just email me at [email protected]

3. Work with me privately.

If you’re a 6-figure writer who’s trying to earn more in less time, with less stress, I might be able to help you get there faster than you think. Just email me at [email protected] and put “Breakthrough” in the subject line, and I’ll get back to you with more details.