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How to Use Focus Assist in Windows 11

It's all too easy to let distractions like social media or videos seduce us from what we're supposed to do, like, say, writing Windows 11 articles. Features like Focus Assist are now included in operating systems. to try to help us keep our eyes on the road, so to speak.

Microsoft's Focus Assistant was first introduced in a 2018 Windows 10 update, where it replaced a feature known as Quiet Hours, and although Windows 11 does not offer any drastic updates, it has made the feature easier to use. Focus Assist prevents notifications from appearing on your screen and can be activated automatically when you put your screen in presentation mode, play a game, or use an app in full-screen mode.

I'll show you how to edit automatic sessions in a moment. First, here's how to manually start a Focus support session.

Start a session

In Windows 11, Focus assist has been integrated into the Clock application. To start a session manually, type "Clock" into the search icon on your taskbar. You will be guided to a page that helps you configure the session duration; you can also set a daily goal if you want. And there are tiles that let you link your Spotify account (if you have one) to your focus sessions or use Microsoft To Do to choose a task for that session. Don't need one or the other? Keep reading.

How to Use Focus Assist in Windows 11

If you click on the settings icon at the bottom left of the Clock app, you can adjust the length of your focus time (including pauses) and select a sound to play when your concentration period (or break) is over. And you can get rid of Spotify and/or To Do tiles.

The clock settings page also lets you choose a theme for the app and change your notification settings, including which notifications should not be filtered during a session Focus support.

How to Use Focus Assist in Windows 11

To further customize this feature and change the automatic settings, you need to go to "Focus Assist Settings".

Focus assist settings

You can access Focus assist settings in several ways:by clicking "Settings> "System"> "Focus assist", using the search icon on the taskbar to find " Focus assist" or by clicking the system clock on the right edge of the taskbar, then "Focus assist settings".

How to Use Focus Assist in Windows 11

Once you get there, there are two main sections.

The first section allows you to enable and disable focus assistance and set some parameters when it is active:

  • "Priority Only" limits active notifications to those specified in a priority list. You can configure this list by selecting the "Customize Priority List" link just below the "Priority Only" subheading. You can have it always notify you of incoming calls, always notify you of reminders, or allow notifications from specific apps. New to Windows 11 is the ability to prioritize notifications from contacts who are either pinned to your taskbar or you specify via an "Add Contacts" button.

How to Use Focus Assist in Windows 11

  • "Alarms Only" allows you to hide all your notifications, except for any alarms you may have configured.
  • Afraid you'll miss something? If you check "Show a summary of what I missed when focus assist was on", you will automatically be notified of all your filtered notifications as soon as focus assist is off active.

The second section, titled "Automatic Rules", allows you to adjust several predefined rules. You can enable and disable each of them from this page, but if you want to change their settings, click on the feature name.

  • "During these hours" allows you to set specific times and days when Focus Assist will trigger. To change the settings, select "During these hours", then on the next page, enable it. You will be able to choose the start and end times of each session; whether it applies to all days, only weekdays or only weekends; and whether it will allow priority only or alarms only.

How to Use Focus Assist in Windows 11

Other features under "Automatic Rules" work much the same. On the Focus Assist page, click the button to turn them on or off, then click their name to adjust them.

  • "When I duplicate my display" fires when you have two current displays; enable it so you can change it to only allow priority or only alarms.
  • "When I play a game" is pretty obvious; again, enable it to change it to priority only or alarms only.
  • Finally, "When I use an application in full-screen mode only" can also be changed to be priority-only or alarm-only.

One ​​more thing:when Focus assist is active, you'll see a small moon icon on the far right of your taskbar. Click on it and you should be able to see all missed notifications.