How to use focus sessions to improve your Windows 11 productivity

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With the latest Windows 11 Insider Preview build 2200.160, Microsoft has begun deploying a great focus session feature within the watch app to help you be more productive. This feature is part of Microsoft’s ongoing efforts to improve the usability of Windows 11 system apps. Whether you’re a productive addict or someone who wants to study or work in a more organized way, here’s everything you need to know about focus sessions. feature. Learn how to use focus sessions effectively in Windows 11.

Improve your Windows 11 (2021) productivity with focus sessions

Focus sessions are currently deployed on the development channel Windows Insider. If you switch from the Windows 11 Dev channel to the Beta channel, you may have to wait for Microsoft to increase the availability of features. That said, if you’re here after the stable release of Windows 11, you’ll probably be able to use this feature at the time of release.

What is a Windows 11 Focus Session?

Focus sessions are a productivity feature in Windows 11 that helps you focus on your research and work. This feature basically manages timers (like Pomodoro techniques) for tracking activity and taking timely breaks, dashboards for tracking daily progress, Spotify for music and tasks. Consists of integration with Microsoft ToDo for.

Update watch app to get focus session

Before we explain how this feature works, let’s take a look at how to get the new focus session feature in Windows 11.Focus session Part of the default Windows alarm clock app, And available in version 10.2108.30.0 and later. If you are using an older version of the watch app, you may not see the focus session.

Update the alarm clock app

To get a focus session in Windows 11, update the Windows alarm clock app to the latest version available in the Microsoft Store. You can use this direct link to access the clock app in the Microsoft Store. [更新]Click the button Wait for the app to update. On the Windows 11 laptop I used to test the focus session, the update size was 6MB. After updating, you can start using the focus session from the Clock app.

Link Spotify to play music during focus session

After updating the Clock app, you will see a new Focus Sessions tab. Here you can easily connect your Spotify account to the Clock app to listen to calm songs during your study or work sessions. Learn how to do it here:

  1. In the Windows clock app Click “Link Spotify” button.

Link your Spotify account

2. You will be prompted to log in to your Spotify account. And before asking, yes, you need to log in even if you are logged in to the Spotify desktop app. Simply select your preferred login method and you’re ready to go.

Spotify login window clock

2. From the next page Click I Agree to link your Spotify account Use the focus session function of the clock app.

Agree to Spotify integration

3. You should now see your Spotify account with 6 shortcuts (recently played playlists and podcasts that appear on the Spotify home screen) and 6 playlists with a focus section.

The My Focus section had playlists for coding modes, deep focus, instrumental studies, intensity studies, lo-fi beats, and Peaceful Piano.

Link Microsoft accounts to manage focus session tasks

If Microsoft To Do is selected as a reminder app, you can create and manage tasks directly from the focus session screen.

1. To get started, in the lower left corner of the clock app[サインイン]Click the button.

Sign in to msft account clock

2.2. Select the Microsoft account you want to use for your tasks [続行]Click.

Select msft account clock

3. When prompted,[はい]Click the button to allow the Alarms app to read profiles, create, read, update, and delete profiles.

Link alarms to your msft account

4. You are now ready to use Microsoft To Do to manage your tasks during a focus session in Windows 11. In the first release I tested, the feature didn’t work as intended and continued to load. However, this issue should be fixed by the time Microsoft releases a stable Windows 11 build later this year.

To have a task focus session

How to use focus session in Windows 11

Now that you’ve linked your Spotify and Microsoft accounts to the Clock app, that’s all you need to know to start a focus session.

  • Set focus session timer

The Focus Session home page allows you to set a timer before you start studying or working. You cannot manually enter the time period yet, but you can choose from a set of time periods available for your focus session. These are 15 minutes, 30 minutes, 45 minutes (1 break), 60 minutes (1 break), 8 breaks up to 240 minutes.

If you want to work without a break[休憩をスキップ]Select the check box.When you’re ready, select one of your Spotify playlists Press the “Start Focus Session” button..

Start focus session

  • Pop out focus session timer

You have the option of minimizing the focus session so that you can easily track it from your work screen. To minimize it, click the popout button in the upper right corner of the timer.

Minimize focus sessions

You can see the minimized version of the timer below. It’s worth pointing out that you can resize this window if you need a larger preview with the countdown timer.

Minimize focus session

  • Track productivity

Next to the timer, you’ll see a daily progress tile that tracks production time. In addition to your daily goals, you’ll see how many days you worked the day before and the number of days you’ve achieved your daily goals. Hopefully it will serve as a good motivation to keep you going.

Daily progress focus session

Customize your Windows 11 focus session

There’s not much room for customization, but there are some tweaks you can make to improve the experience while using the focus session. Includes settings such as adjusting break times, disabling unnecessary features from the home screen, and changing your daily target time.

  • Change focus session break time

NS The default break time is 5 minutesHowever, you can change it to 10 minutes or 15 minutes from the settings page of the clock app. You can choose the break period based on your taste.

Customize break time

  • Disable Spotify and Microsoft ToDo integration

If you’re not using Microsoft To Do or Spotify, you can choose to disable them on the Focus Session home page. If you open the settings of the clock app from the menu on the left, Find a toggle that disables Spotify and ToDo integration.. From this page, you can also disable the sound that plays during the end of a session or break.

Disable to have a focus session

  • Adjust daily goals for focus sessions

If you think your default daily goal is a little less (or more), you can change it.[毎日の進行状況]Click the pencil icon on the tile to select a more suitable time for your workflow.

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How Microsoft can improve Windows 11 focus sessions

Here are some aspects I’ve found that can improve functionality after using a focus session for several hours. Since this is the first release, we can expect improvements in focus sessions in the coming months.

At this time, there is no option to suspend the focus session. You should stop the session or continue running while you are not always working. I understand that some users may prefer additional pressure to stay focused, but I don’t think this approach will help everyone.

Sometimes I had to leave the keyboard quickly to do something else, and I had to restart the session. Throwing the pause button is fine, at least behind the setting toggle.

  • Improve Spotify integration

When I first saw Microsoft Chief Product Officer Panospanay teasing a focus session a few weeks ago, I was excited to try out Spotify integration. Well, after all, it’s a little … It’s overwhelming. Don’t get me wrong. It’s nice to have access to Spotify within a focus session, but there are times when it’s even better.

So what’s wrong with Spotify integration? For starters, I would call it a shortcut. Spotify shortcuts list recently listened playlists and podcasts instead of the playlists you want to play (or play) while focusing on your work. Just because you’ve listened to a playlist lately doesn’t mean you want to focus on it.

A classic example can be seen in my screenshot below. The first shortcut listed here is my playlist with sad songs. To be honest, I want to work while listening to something that helps me stay calm and focused. The rest of the suggestions also seem useless (except for the Japanese lo-fi Chill playlist, which I often adjust during work). No, we don’t plan to create (and don’t need to) create a Spotify account specifically for this feature.

Spotify shortcuts

What is a better solution? playlist. Simple simple old playlist. Provides an option to browse and select saved playlists. If possible, use a quick way to pin your favorite playlists. This makes better use of space than the current shortcut tiles. The focus playlist tile under the shortcut is nice, and I have no complaints there.

In the meantime, I’m also grateful for the options (next, previous, play / pause) to control the playback of the music. Currently, users need to switch to the Spotify app to change songs. You can also see what happens when you switch apps. View album releases and new podcast episodes from your favorite artists. And before you know it, you’re checking every track, not getting things done.

  • Added focus assist shortcut

Focus Assist is a useful feature of Windows that mutes notifications in Windows 11. The Focus Session feature is meant to eliminate distractions, so it’s helpful to see Microsoft add a tile to trigger Focus Assist from this page. In this way, focus sessions can evolve as a centralized hub for the productivity of everything in Windows 11.

  • Add support for third-party apps

This may sound obvious, but not everyone uses or prefers Microsoft ToDo or Spotify. You’ll have to wait to see if Microsoft plans to publish this feature to popular third-party Spotify alternatives and other to-do list apps.

Try Focus Sessions on Windows 11 and Work Efficiently

That’s all you need to know about Windows 11 focus sessions. If you’re looking for more ways to stay productive at home during these difficult times, check out our article on the best apps to focus on your work. Useful tips. To find out how much time you’ve spent using your laptop, check out the Windows 11 screens on time with a handy guide. For more features in Windows 11, see What’s Best in Windows 11.