First look at Windows 11's Focus Assist feature

Martin Brinkmann
Aug 22, 2021
Windows 11 News

Microsoft unveiled the new Focus Assist feature of its upcoming Windows 11 operating system earlier this month. The feature is now available in the latest Windows 11 preview builds. Reason enough to take a look at the Focus Assist feature, describe what it does, how it is configured, and find out how useful it may be to users of the operating system.

Focus Assist is a new feature of the Windows Clock application. Microsoft released updates for several Windows apps that are included natively with the operating system. The newly designed Clock application is rolled out gradually and is not yet available on all devices running the latest Windows 10 preview build.

focus sessions windows 11

To get started using Focus Assist, open the Windows Clock application. Open the Start interface, type Clock and select the result. Focus Assist is listed as one of the options in the sidebar menu.  You get a short intro screen on first activation that reveals the core functionality of the feature. Select the get started button to display the main interface.

Focus Sessions help Windows users focus on work tasks, take breaks and check progress. It integrates with Microsoft's To-Do application, but may also be used without using the app.

All you have to do is activate the "start focus session" button to start a new session. The default interval is set to 30 minutes with no breaks. You may change the interval and get breaks added to the session automatically. Breaks last for 5 minutes by default, but this value can be changed in the settings.

focus sessions main

Focus Sessions plays end of session and end of break sounds by default. You may change sounds or disable them. There is no option to set custom sounds for the end of breaks or sessions.

Focus Session keeps track of daily goals. You may change the default goal of 1 hour of focused work to another value, and get information about yesterday's performance and the streak, the days you managed to reach the designated goal in succession.

You may link Microsoft To-Do with Focus Assist. All current tasks are listed then in the interface, and you may select a task that you want to focus on before you activate a session. Last but not least, it is possible to integrate Spotify to stream music or other content provided by Spotify while working.

How useful is Focus Assist?

Focus Assist may be used to track your work throughout the day and to remind you to take enough breaks. The feature is designed to work with Microsoft's To-Do application, and is less useful if you use it without, as you can't link tasks to focus sessions in this case using the app.

Focus Assist does not narrow the focus on work while a session is running. You are not limited in what you can do while a session is running, and it is as easy to get distracted by something else that is going on than without using Focus Sessions.

Microsoft To-Do users may find Focus Assist useful, provided that they find the new feature on Windows 11 devices. It is unclear yet if Microsoft plans to highlight Focus Assist to users, e.g. in the To-do app or as a prompt.

Now you: would you use a feature such as Focus Assist?

First look at Windows 11's Focus Assist feature
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First look at Windows 11's Focus Assist feature
A first look at the upcoming Focus Assist feature of Microsoft's Windows 11 operating system, designed to improve productivity.
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  1. Anonymous said on August 24, 2021 at 4:44 pm

    Microsoft crap as always. 1 more crap to try to uninstall with powershell. If they allow it anyway, Bing Chrome is still uninstallable.

  2. xcvx said on August 24, 2021 at 12:03 pm

    … stfu everyone. use linux and stop complaining about everything from widnows.
    it isn’t even funny anymore

    1. Anonymous said on August 25, 2021 at 5:01 am

      I wish but Wine doesn’t run half of my programs properly. I would have left Windows long time ago if my programs worked.

  3. Ryan F said on August 23, 2021 at 6:05 pm

    The comments section under every Microsoft-related article is so over-the-top, I should start bringing popcorn from now on.

  4. Microsofted said on August 23, 2021 at 5:25 pm

    Useless rubbish. They’re nothing useful other than a cheap way of padding Edge user, Bing use and ensuring that as many systems as possible receive Microsoft tracking cookie drops as quickly as possible out of the box.

    They need to focus on what’s important. For example, them ruining 29 years of muscle memory and productivity. They have removed the entire code of the Windows taskbar and just released some bare bones replacement, and it is my great worry that we’ll be lumped with another 6 years of Windows 11 betas, just like Windows 10 is an ongoing beta.

    I predict the Windows 11 taskbar being launched as is broken, with the RTM and then getting continuous updates for the first year or two or more to “fix” what we had in Windows 10 already, if Insiders complain loud enough.

    With Windows 10, with every major release they announce a major shift, like the Snipping Tool getting replaced with “Snip & Sketch” only for the “Snipping Tool” to be relaunched in Windows 11, or what about Paint with Paint 3D, now with Windows 11 focus is back with Paint again. Microsoft just loves to confuse the consumer and is terrible at managing a brand when it comes to Windows.

  5. Jeff M.S. said on August 23, 2021 at 1:53 pm

    More useless features while the ones people have are being taken away.

  6. Bill said on August 23, 2021 at 9:06 am

    Companies and their insurers who get sued by workers injured by carpel tunnel might use this in the USA. I used to work for a company that implemented software like this. In my case it forced you to take a break every 20 min. You could click pass the timer but it would snitch on you as well. I also see this as Microsoft getting to know you better as well.

  7. Marcos Gallardo said on August 23, 2021 at 4:12 am

    Or Behold, the new Windows Vista, full of unnecessary things.

  8. UselessApps said on August 22, 2021 at 9:19 pm

    What a joke Microsoft has become since Windows 8. Summer is over, its time to stop wasting time on these useless intern projects, or thats all Microsoft has working on Windows 11 full time? Sure feels like only interns work on Windows. Since June 28, 2021 to now, nothing meaningful has been added to Windows 11.

    There are far important things that needs to be finished before October, like the new awful featureless taskbar, start menu, and right click menu.

  9. datadiggingissin said on August 22, 2021 at 4:43 pm

    Another data digging attempt from microsoft… By this and integration with Microsoft’s To-Do application now they can know when/what are you doing and all day. If an app fundemantally should work with no internet or self hosting is possible dont use this corporate honey pot crap…

    If you use that kind of microsoft crap: “You May be a Victim of Software Counterfeiting”

  10. common sense computing said on August 22, 2021 at 3:21 pm

    It’s going to be funny seeing the fail screenshots when Windows forces a reboot in the middle of a ‘focus session’.

  11. Herman Cost said on August 22, 2021 at 2:52 pm

    Can’t argue with Yuliya. I can’t even begin to imagine the thought process involved at Redmond in coming up with this kind of stuff.

  12. J said on August 22, 2021 at 1:33 pm

    But How do you integrate Spotify?

  13. BrettElias said on August 22, 2021 at 10:55 am

    I thought it was a joke about how Windows steals your focus every fuc*!#g time.
    And maybe it is.

  14. Yuliya said on August 22, 2021 at 10:08 am

    Absolute nonsense. No other words can describe this pathetic kind of bloatware. Who even is the target audience for this kind of uselessness? Thank fuck LTSC won`t ever have this crap in it.

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