A 2017 Psychological Research review found that binaural beats can help enhance attentional focus by increasing gamma wave activity—essentially, they increase your brain’s attention span and help you process information. I like to start my writing sessions with at least 5 to 10 minutes of binaural beats to get my brain in the zone and ready to focus. Neuroscientist Andrew Huberman, Ph.D. recommends listening to 40 Hz binaural beats 30 minutes before needing to focus, which could also be something to experiment with.
However, there’s scientific value for different “colored” noises as well: In a 2019 Complementary Therapies in Medicine review, researchers suggest that white noise can be beneficial for individuals with ADHD—particularly for improving auditory symptoms9.
Recently, brown noise has also become popular among ADHD online communities, but we don’t have scientific studies demonstrating its benefits or explaining if it’s more effective than white noise. Personally, I like using brown noise when I’m really trying to concentrate because it delivers a steady low-frequency sound free that seems to drown out interrupting thoughts.
If you’ve tried all of these options and still can’t seem summon enough motivation or concentration, turn on instrumental music from your favorite movie, show, or video game. (I’m partial to Marvel film scores that help me channel my inner Avenger.)
A list of my go-to focus playlists on Spotify, for your listening pleasure: