Using Tech To Improve Focus & Flow

Cory Mazure | 21 Apr, 2023

With the emergence of smartphones and the expansion of the internet, our attention has been split into a million directions. We are trapped in a digital world, full of distractions, which prevents us from focusing on what we find important. The world is expanding rapidly and oftentimes this technology is displaying information we are not ready to receive, which heightens our stress response. If you take a moment to look at the large tech companies in the market, it is clear they do not seem interested in making your life better. They only seem interested in abusing your mind by getting you addicted to their platform so they can milk your attention and fill their wallets with advertising dollars. We are truly at a crossroads in history. We have such immense potential to alleviate human suffering with the democratization of information on how to improve one's life, and yet are funding all our R&D dollars into how to make an app out compete TikTok. 

Because of the sad state of big tech, I have been quite pessimistic about adopting new software or hardware. I already had purchased an Oura ring, a Fitbit, and Lumen, all these devices that claimed would facilitate better health through passively tracking crucial health metrics. I got immense benefit out of these devices, so I did not think there was any room to grow in my biohacking journey, until I came across FocusCalm. 

FocusCalm immediately grabbed my attention because of its ambitious claims to improve both focus and peace of mind. In the pursuit to become a peak performer, there is not much more that you need besides maintaining high focus while engaged in the activity, and a calm mind in between them. A technology that promises accurate data on what state the brain is in, while also providing games and guides to achieve higher states of focus and calm sounded almost too good to be true, so I had to give it a try. After using it for the last few months, I can confidently say that it lived up to, and dramatically exceeded my expectations for it. Today I am going to take you through how I leveraged this device to strengthen my ability to focus while also finding tools for more peace of mind throughout my everyday life. 

When adopting a new technology, you need to ensure that it is intuitive to use. FocusCalm claims that you will see mental health improvements of greater well being, better health, higher performance, and more energy, by using their device for just 7 minutes per day. This all sounds great, but is only true if you can make using the product a habit. To give more context to what the product is, you receive a piece of hardware which is a headband to place across your forehead. In addition to this bluetooth device, you must pair it with your phone on their app. The app helps you interface with the device and load guided exercises. The hardware is very easy to use with it resting comfortably on your head. The longest I have used the device for is 1 hour and even then it still rests comfortably and does not cause too much pressure for myself, although this is subject to change depending on the size of your head. 

The issue I have had with the device is not comfort, but set up time. If the goal is to use the device for 7 minutes of day, you also have to consider the time it takes to make it function properly. What you will find through using the device is that its performance depends dramatically on how good of a connection the 3 EEG probes can get with your forehead. If it is having a hard time connecting, it can take upwards of 5 minutes messing with the device until it finally connects, and even then the connection might be unstable which will lead to your session getting paused. To mitigate this problem, the company suggests that you wet your forehead as the EEG sensors perform better when there is moisture between them and whatever they are taking measurement of. By doing this, the pairing time has proven to be extremely quick. Once you get inside the app, the user interface is designed very well. It is extremely intuitive to use with several pages of content to explore. In my time with the device I have not had any issues with the software itself. 

After using the device for some time, I have come to the realization that it works so well because of the concept of gamification. If I told you to focus on your breath and explore complex puzzles that ignite a stress response, it just would not be as fun with no data to support how well you did. By having a piece of technology provide you a score, you are able to see the fruits of your labor and get addicted to the concept of growth. 

Another crucial discovery I made while using the device was the prominence of the placebo effect. Especially as a beginner in the realm of mindfulness training, it is hard to tell when you are actually making progress on your focus and calmness goals. Sure there are bodily signs for peace such as reduced tension in the muscles, but a beginner will have a hard time telling if they are actually becoming better at focusing. By seeing data on your phone which indicates higher scores overtime, you can placebo yourself into believing you have a higher ability to focus. I question the legitimacy of the data that is provided considering the device only uses 3 EEG probes, but at the end of the day you have to ask what is the goal of using a device like this. To me, it is to increase the probability that I engage in a daily mindfulness practice. In the grand scheme of things, it does not truly matter what data is presented by the device, as long as you perceive it as something worth doing, and therefore receiving benefits from the ancient sciences of meditation and breathwork. These practices have existed for thousands of years and the FocusCalm device does not reinvent the wheel. It simply is a vehicle for you to experience radical growth through meditation and exists for those who could not convince themselves to meditate on their own time. 

The app does a great job of providing digital accountability through its notification system, encouraging a user to use the system daily. The notifications help form the habit loop, which is truly where the change occurs. I do not believe that 7 minutes of meditation on FocusCalm is better than 7 minutes of meditation by yourself, but if FocusCalm encourages you to commit to that 7 minutes of meditation more often than by yourself, then it is a worthy investment. You yourself need to reflect where you are in your mindfulness training. If you have struggled to stay consistent with meditation in the past, this might be a device which could encourage you to sustain the habit. If you are a beginner to the space and want to see tangible results, the beautiful software can help provide you motivation to continue your journey. If you are an experienced meditator and want to see just how high of a score you can sustain during various activities, this device can help you achieve bragging rights to your friends. Regardless of your situation, FocusCalm is worth considering. Even as someone who finds it easier to engage in meditation sessions without tech, I find myself desiring to use the device still for its unique games, quality guided meditations, and long term record of data. 

The bottom line is that you need to reflect on where you need help in your mindfulness journey. Both high focus and a state of calm are achievable through a consistent meditation practice. How you choose to achieve that consistent meditation practice is up to you. If through this article you have identified the desire to practice mindfulness but struggle with accountability to do so, a device such as this one could really serve you. If you are interested in learning more about FocusCalm, check out this link to their website: FocusCalm where you have the ability to purchase through our affiliate code: Pscyence60 for a $60 discount!

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