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How to Get Into a Flow State with Functional Music

how to get into a focused work-flow state w/ functional music Dan Clark on The Nicole Holland Show podcast

Dan has been in love with technology- and its potential to positively impact the world- for as long as he can remember. From building websites when he was 13, starting a design and advertising business at 18 and driving $2MM in revenue for multinational brands as a director for a boutique ad agency, he has truly been at the forefront of how technology can exponentially grow successful businesses.

One of Brain.fm's first users, he called the company 12 times before they agreed to bring him in for an interview. When he did receive an offer, he jumped at it (even working for free for the first few weeks).

He eventually moved up to Head of Technology, and is now the CEO. As CEO, Dan is constantly striving to build a company that can not only change the world through music, but also be one of the best companies for people to work for and grow with.

Dan has visited over 20 countries across five continents, with plans to set foot on all seven.


Get into the zone with Brain.FM

It’s no secret that music has a powerful force on our mental states. We’ve all experienced the impact music can have on motivating us to workout, relaxing us, moving us to tears or even helping us improve the quality of our sleep.

Dan Clark and his team at Brain.FM have harnessed the influence of music to create an app that delivers on-demand functional music specifically designed to move you into Focus, Relaxation, and Sleep states.

Combining music with auditory neuroscience, the Brain.FM app can help you achieve any one of these flow states in 15 minutes or less.

But it’s more than finding random music that energizes you. As Dan describes, “We’re really improving it [music] with big data science and then research to back it up. So for example, on our focus product, we actually have a grant from the government to help us validate that we can compete with ADHD medications.”

Brain.FM has also been shown to improve the quality of sleep by enhancing deep sleep brain waves.

I don’t know about you, but I think that sounds like pretty exciting stuff!

Read on to learn how to get into flow using Brain.FM.


How to Get into a Flow State with Functional Music from Daniel Clark of Brain

How do I get into a flow state?

What Is a Flow State?

Mihály Csíkszentmihályi popularized the term in his 1990’s book, ‘Flow,’ describing it as an optimal mental state where, “we feel our best and perform our best.”

According to Csíkszentmihályi, there are 10 basic factors involved when we’re in a flow state:

  1. Having clear goals about what you want to achieve
  2. Full concentration and focus
  3. Participating in an intrinsically rewarding activity
  4. Losing feelings of self-consciousness or performance anxiety
  5. Timelessness; losing track of time passing
  6. Being able to immediately judge your own progress; instant feedback on your performance
  7. Knowing that your skills align with the goals of the task
  8. Feeling control over the situation and the outcome
  9. Lack of awareness of physical needs
  10. Complete focus on the activity itself with becoming easily distracted

These may seem like a lot of conditions to be met, but there is an easier way to get into the zone or achieve a flow state without having to wait until that special time of day when you naturally perform best.

As Dan explains, “Basically, everyone has had those times where you have a project do tomorrow, it's two in the morning, you've had two cups of coffee, and for some reason, you hit this point where you feel like you can fly. Before I got involved in brain FM, I used to start my days at 10pm to 4am, just to optimize for that schedule.”

What Brain.FM does with functional music is get you to a natural flow state in 10 to 15 minutes at any time of day. As long as you use the music, you can easily stay in the zone.


How to Get into a Flow State with Functional Music from Daniel Clark of Brain

The Auditory Neuroscience Behind Brain.FM

20,000 years ago distractions kept us alive. A rustle in a bush was a distraction event, it was a tiger coming out to eat you. So humans at the time would have to be able to recognize those patterns and be able to react to them.

Nowadays, we’re sitting in the office, and we're trying to do work, and it's a text message that distracts us, but it's not a life or death situation.

Because we're not faced with life or death situations all the time, those every day scenarios become magnified in our minds.

What happens when we have nothing else to worry about? We start worrying about other little things. It's similar in sleep. What's interesting is, when it rains out, we sleep better, because most predators don't hunt in the rain.

There are underlying things, or evolutionary principles that are baked into almost every human. Brain.FM uses these evolutionary principles when developing their functional music.

Using video game testing to compile different results, they then take all of that neuro-imaging data, put it into AI, and can see the desired effect they wish to encourage on an individual’s brain as they're listening to the music.

How Functional Music Is Different

Unlike traditional music that’s created simply to be catchy, Brain.FM music is designed from a completely different starting point.

Through the previously mentioned brain protocols, developers build the structure like a skyscraper. Asking, “What effect do we want to create?” and then building the music from there.

Although there have been many people saying that they can use sound to enhance people's mental states over the years, such as using binary beats or chronic tones, much of this is actually pop science leftover from the 70's. It's been disproved on multiple peer reviewed studies, but the idea still exists.

Brain.FM aims to redefine what music is capable of through science-backed research and application by creating functional music that is optimized first to induce behaviors in people and achieve a desired mental flow state.


How to Get into a Flow State with Functional Music from Daniel Clark of Brain

How to use Brain.FM to get into flow

Dan describes Brain.FM as “a tool that anyone can use in any capacity they need.”

Whether you’re looking to achieve better focus, get into a relaxed mental state, recharge your mental batteries or improve the quality of your sleep, Brain.FM has a music track for that.

Although getting into the habit of using it every day is ideal, it isn’t necessary to reap the benefits of listening to functional music. Dan explains, “We're just more of a guiding hand and a resource when you need it.”

Dan recommends this process for using the app to get into a productive work-flow state:

  • Time block a 60-90 minute segment where you will focus on your work
  • Write down the main objective or goal of your work session
  • Use headphones when you first start for the best results
  • Plugin and get started. Treat it like background noise.

You should begin to feel results in 15-20 minutes (or less!).

How to Get into a Flow State with Functional Music from Daniel Clark of Brain

Key Takeaways

  • Evolutionary principles and modern neuroscience combine to bring you science-backed music that can help you Focus, Meditate, Relax, Recharge and Sleep in the Brain.FM app
  • Easily get into a flow state by blocking 60-90 minutes of work time while listening to functional music from Brain.FM


Dan shares that he gets a lot of feedback from happy users, including one he recounts from a man who said he’d been in Afghanistan and suffered with PTSD. He said he was crying right in the email because he was never able to fall asleep until finding Brain.FM, so they're helping people through a lot of challenges. They help people live better lives.

Interested in trying out Brain.Fm for yourself? Visit TheNicoleHolland.com/brainfm for 5 free tracks to get you started. Then use coupon code NICOLEHOLLAND at checkout for 20% off a one year subscription.

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Sign up through this referral link and use coupon code: nicoleholland for 20% off your first year.

Reach out to Dan at dan@brain.fm