Windows 11 made several interesting changes. Surprisingly, many of these changes are aimed at increasing our productivity levels, whether it’s the center-aligned taskbar or practical gestures. Focus Sessions are another new shift focused on productivity. As the name suggests, this simple feature is designed to increase your productivity by helping you focus on the task at hand.
It is easy to set up and the best part is that you can also listen to music from Spotify while you get the job done. And yes, you can also define the tasks. Sounds interesting, right?
In this article, we will see how to activate and use Focus Session to increase your productivity.
Let’s go, will you?
What are Windows 11 focus sessions
As stated earlier, Focus Session is designed to help you focus more on the job at hand. Its function is similar to the Time-Block mechanism, where you block a certain time in your day for a particular task.
Whereas previously Windows users had to rely on third-party apps or Chrome extensions, this time users like us can access them directly from the Clock app itself.
Naturally, you will have to log in to access all the features. However, this is not mandatory. For now, Focus Sessions integrates Microsoft To-Do and Spotify.
You can see your daily progress and sequences with the focus sessions. Sequences are the number of times you have successfully completed a session. At the same time, you can also set yourself a daily goal. For now, Microsoft has set the goal of 1 hour.
Focus sessions can be found under the Clock app. Just open the Start menu and search for Clock.
How to start a task
If this is your first time accessing Focus Sessions, you might need to sign in before the app can retrieve your tasks from Microsoft To-Do.
Once done, all you need to do is hit the Start Focus Session button and start the stopwatch. Focus Sessions comes with the option to add a break in between. By default, the break is five minutes and you can change it in the settings (we’ll talk about that later).
Step 1: To start the task, hover over the task and click the Select button for the session.
2nd step: Change the timer as needed and start the session. That’s it.
Once the stopwatch is finished (or you have stopped it manually), the time relative to that particular task will be displayed. Well, that’s a huge plus. This way, it will help you estimate how long it takes you to complete (or partially complete) a job so that you can more easily calculate the time required for future sessions.
Again, note that Microsoft To-Do pairing is not required. If you just want to time yourself while you are working on a task, you can add a new independent task. To do this, click on the three dot button as shown in the screenshot below and add the details.
Manage notifications and remove distractions
But, no clock or timer can help you be productive if you are continually distracted by a barrage of notifications.
To mitigate notifications, click Settings in the left panel and select Change your notification settings.
This action will open the Windows notification and the debugging assistant.
While the notification displays a larger image, you can actually customize all of your system’s notification settings using Focus Assist. You can either set automatic rules based on the time of day. Or, you can select the names of the allowed applications.
Again, it’s important to note that Focus Assist does not start automatically when you start a focus session. It just opens the door to better handling of notifications.
The idea is to adapt it accordingly so that you have minimal distractions while you are working.
Customize settings for focus sessions
While there aren’t many, you can customize some of the focus session settings as desired.
For example, you can set the default focus period and pause period through settings.
Apart from that, there are other minor changes like changing session tones.
If you prefer to listen to music from their smartphones, here is where you can deselect the Spotify tile.
Keep counting down
For the moment, Focus Sessions offer a good way to time block natively. It allows you to add stand-alone tasks and directly extract tasks from Microsoft To-Do. Well, the Spotify integration looks interesting as well.
However, in order to focus on the task at hand, you will need to remove all unnecessary distractions. And at the same time, configure both Focus Assist and Focus Sessions. Hopefully Microsoft will add a native way to change notifications soon.
Last updated on November 29, 2021
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