It’s no secret that keeping your brain in shape leads to increased productivity. A new app called Concurrency attempts to help you do that, through a process called interruption training. Operating on the principle that if you focus too much on one task you’ll totally neglect another (something we’re all guilty of from time to time) the app trains your brain by throwing various tasks your way throughout the course of the day that have to be completed before you can move on to what you were doing.
The app doesn’t necessarily hijack your iPhone, but instead sends you a push notification informing you that your scheduled interruption is at hand. If you don’t respond, it’ll keep on notifying you until you give it what it wants. In the case of Concurrency, the tests in question are simple math-based tasks. Stuff like: 3 + 3 + 9 – 1. You can then choose your answer from a small block of multiple choice options.
Each interruption includes 10 questions and you’re given 60 seconds to complete it. Also, once you launch the task you can’t exit it without completing it. Getting the answers right or wrong contributes to your constantly changing “multitasker score.” Your score is also based on how quickly you were able to solve the equations.
The frequency of interruptions is something you decide. You can schedule Concurrency to run only during certain times of day, the point being to schedule recurring interruptions during your busiest work periods so you can get the most mental flex for your efforts. A scheduling tab lets you set interruptions to take place in increments from once per minute to once every 24 hours, but there are limitations (you can’t choose interruptions to happen every 15 minutes, for example).
Overall app design is sleek and the science behind the concept seems rock solid, but there are some shortcomings that seem to limit its effectiveness – like the fact you’re only given addition and subtraction problems to solve, which can grow a bit boring. It would be good to see future app updates include the addition of cognitive puzzles and word problems.
At the time being, Concurrency is available only for iOS devices running 8.3 or later. It’s compatible with iPhone, iPad and iPod touch and is optimized for iPhones 5, 6 and 6 Plus. It can be downloaded now from the App Store for a nominal fee of $0.99.