What is the most commonly used Biohack in the world?
I say it’s emotionally overwhelming music…
When I was younger I would hang out with these very urban young guys and in their cars, they would always listen to hyper-aggressive, hyper-masculine hip-hop music at insane volumes that made them feel like men.
When I dated single mothers, I noticed that they listened to sappy romantic music — that made them feel like someone loved them.
In Eastern Europe during the depressing winters, everyone everywhere listens to obnoxious upbeat American pop music to get through the cold, dark days.
And myself, a perpetually awkward gringo on the dance floor, I like to listen to rhythmical salsa and sexy reggaeton tunes.
You don’t have to listen hard to hear people listening to music to convince themselves that they are something they aren’t.
So if music is a tool for hacking mindset (and it’s hard to argue that it isn’t) what should you listen to while working? There are a lot of different preferences for this…
- It seems that a lot of people over 40 like to have the television on in the background (which is insane to me, I can’t stand this!)
- Hip-hop inspires a lot of people to get into that hustling mindset.
- Electronica seems to energize many to get stuff done.
- Some prefer the background din of a cafe.
- Cognitive psychologists have argued that white noise is a good idea.
- Some people find that listening to the same album or song on repeat for hours and hours is conducive to their focus.
- Many find classical music to be the best for focus.
- Maybe you even like to listen to my videos and podcasts.
- And some people seem to prefer to listen to nothing at all.
When I need to focus and get creative I listen to Brain.FM and I suggest you do the same! Listen for free here.
Music to Focus Better - Brain.fm
Brain.fm's focus music is made to help you work better, by blending into the background so you can focus…
It’s so effective that I paid for a Brain.FM lifetime membership, here’s why…
As I’ve discussed elsewhere I’m an informationaholic, my vice of choice is just binging on information.
Left to my own devices this is what my day looks like…
- Waking up I check Twitter.
- I take my Nootropics and walk to work usually while listening to Stefan Molyneux’s philosophy podcasts.
- In late mornings or early afternoons, I listen to audio disaster porn about terrible things happening somewhere in the world. Alex Jones’s Infowars.com seems to be a pretty reliable source for this!
- In the afternoons I like educational content so I’ll listen to shows about science, health, or entrepreneurship like Dave Asprey’s Bulletproof Radio.
- As the day wanes I’ll usually listen to something that’s more feel-good or inspirational like Real Social Dynamics videos or the Art of Charm podcast.
- In the Hour 2 period of the day, I’ll listen to something humorous or entertaining like the Joe Rogan podcast or a history program.
- Before bed, I will read a book on my Kindle for 30–60 minutes in a darkened room.
- Finally, before sleep, in bed, I’ll listen to a history podcast or audiobook on a drier subject.
Notwithstanding the time I spend socializing, I would spend about 20 minutes total daily NOT binging on information.
The real problem with all this information consumption is that it prevents me from really getting focused enough to reach a truly productive state. My business requires that I spend about a third of my day doing creative work and with all this information consumption pulling my attention every which way I’m just not going to be creative enough to produce good stuff. Deep work does require persistent focus and while all this information consumption probably makes me a more interesting dinner party guest it’s an insidiously sneaky bad habit that prevents me from really getting the important things done. Here’s why about…
80% of my labor is rote work that doesn’t require 100% of my focus. I can do passive information consumption simultaneously without really hurting the quality of this work.
20% is work that does require my whole attention, presence, and creative energies. Listening to podcasts, audiobooks or the news is going to have a detrimental effect on this work.
This is why informationaholism is so insidious; the 20% is where really important stuff that moves me towards my goals gets done yet I could easily spend 100% of my time on the 80% of less important stuff. I could work hard and be busy all the time yet still fail to get ahead because I’m indulging my vice.
This is why I spent the money on a Brain.FM lifetime membership. When I’m doing that 20% of my work I listen to Brain.FM. The cost of the lifetime membership is tiny in comparison to the long-term cost of not doing my most important work. Having spent the money, I’m way more motivated to consistently use Brain.FM.
Some minimalists or low-information diet advocates would say…
Just turn off all that information!
However, when you read biographies of really successful people they are often informationaholics; it does pay off to be very informed about the world. I’d like to have the advantages of being within the top 5% of most informed people without the significant downsides;
- Fractured attention
- Chronic stress
- Rigid autonomic nervous system
- Heightened cortisol levels
Sometimes I watch or listen to these conservative radio personalities who are so fat and angry at the world and I think; this guy is overconsuming information and doesn’t have the healthy habits to handle digesting it!
If I didn’t do meditation, brain training, tantric self-cultivation, and adaptogenic herbs daily to offset the stress load I would dial my information consumption way down.
One feature I like is the Brain.FM has four different settings for session length…
These work as nice arbitrary time limits for projects. Let’s say I have a project that should take me 90 minutes. If I let myself get distracted by Twitter, Youtube, or figuring out where I’m going to eat dinner a 90-minute project can easily consume a whole workday but a lot of times I can actually knock it out in a 60-minute Brain.FM session. Those who like the Pomodoro technique will see the utility in this.
I’ll suggest that you make the Brain.FM app your browser homepage. What is your homepage now?
The Google homepage with its search box just tempts you to start searching for whatever you’re curious about at the moment.
Your Gmail inbox? With hundreds of messages demanding your attention.
Links to your favorite social media sites and flashing, popping up notifications.
Youtube homepage curated with viral videos just for you.
Or perhaps worst of all, a newsfeed of terrible events happening somewhere in the world.
How much more productive would you be if first thing upon opening your browser you got into a completely distraction-free Brain.FM session?
What seems to work is to use it after I do my first state reset of the day; which is usually meditation or brain training that I do for about 10–20 minutes after lunch.
It’s fairly bandwidth-intensive; sometimes I’ll find myself in a country or city with really spotty wifi and I’ll find that the Brain.FM doesn’t stream very well. Which brings me to a joke…
This guy and this girl are having sex and during the middle of their passionate lovemaking, he just stops and doesn’t move at all. The girl asks: What’s the matter? Why did you stop?
The guy responds: I’m trying this sex move I saw… It’s called buffering!
That’s how Brain.FM is on a bad Wifi connection. Fortunately, the app has a download function for offline listening and I recorded a 30-minute focus session — if I don’t have sufficient Wifi I will just play that.