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How to use Focus on Windows 11 2022 Update

Windows 11 Focus
Windows 11 Focus (Image credit: Future)

On Windows 11 version 22H2, "Focus" is a feature that helps you focus on specific tasks by reducing distractions, such as badge and toast notifications and flashing apps in the Taskbar. 

The feature also integrates with the Clock app focus timer to control the session. You can connect the Microsoft To Do app to select the task you want to work on and check it off once complete, and you can integrate the Spotify app to play your favorite music to help you stay focused throughout the session.

The Clock app even allows you to build healthy habits by setting daily goals to challenge yourself.

This guide will walk you through the steps to get started using the Focus feature on the Windows 11 2022 Update.

How to use Focus on Windows 11

On Windows 11 version 22H2, you will find at least three ways to start a focus session, including with the Quick Settings flyout, Settings app, and the Clock app.

Quick Settings flyout

To start a focus session with the Quick Settings flyout, use these steps:

  1. Click the time and date button in the System tray.
  • Quick tip: You can also use the Windows key + N keyboard shortcut.
  1. Under the Calendar, select the session duration.

(Image credit: Future)
  1. Click the Focus button.

Focus settings page

To begin a focus session from the Settings app, use these steps:

  1. Open Settings.
  2. Click on System.
  3. Click the Focus page on the right side.

(Image credit: Future)
  1. Set the session duration.
  2. Click the Start focus session button.

(Image credit: Future)

Clock app

To start a focus session from the Clock app, use these steps:

  1. Open Clock app.
  2. Click on Focus sessions.
  3. Set the session duration.
  4. (Optional) Check the Skip breaks if applicable.
  5. Click the Start focus session button.

(Image credit: Future)

Once you complete the steps, the session will start, and badges and app flashing alerts will be disabled. The Clock app in mini-mode with the timer will appear on the screen, and notifications will turn off automatically.

How to use Focus with Spotify and Microsoft To Do

It's also possible to customize the experience with your music by integrating the Spotify app. In addition, you can select the task you want to work on and check it off once complete by integrating the Microsoft To Do app.

To create a focus session through the Clock app on Windows 11, use these steps:

  1. Open Start.
  2. Search for Clock and click the top result to open the app.
  3. Click on Focus sessions.
  4. Click the Sign in option in the bottom-left corner (if applicable).

(Image credit: Future)
  1. Sign in with your Microsoft account.
  2. Click the Install Spotify button (if applicable).

(Image credit: Future)
  1. Click the Install button in the Microsoft Store to install Spotify.

(Image credit: Future)
  • Quick tip: If you just installed Spotify, you may need to restart the app to see the option. Also, you can use this feature with or without a Spotify subscription.
  1. Click the Link your Spotify button.

(Image credit: Future)
  1. Click the Agree button. (You may need to sign in again.)
  2. Create or click the Select for section option to select the task from the Microsoft To Do section.

(Image credit: Future)
  1. Select a music playlist from the Spotify section.
  2. Specify how long you want the focus session to last.
  3. (Optional) Clear the Skip breaks option.
  4. Click the Start focus session button.

After you complete the steps, the focus session will start alongside the music. To minimize the app, you can click the "Keep on top" button in the top-right corner of the timer. You can stop and resume music and control the session at any time. Also, the "Daily progress" section will track your sessions throughout the day.

How to use Focus daily progress on Windows 11

The Clock app also includes a daily process widget that tracks your sessions to help you build a habit and challenge yourself to stay productive and get the work done. 

The default settings will be optimal for most users, but you always change various settings. Here's how:

  1. Open Start.
  2. Search for Clock and click the top result to open the app.
  3. Click on Focus sessions.
  4. Click the Edit button in the top-right corner.

(Image credit: Future)
  1. Select the daily goal time.
  2. (Optional) Choose when daily process and completed tasks should reset automatically.
  3. (Optional) Check the "Include weekends in streaks" option.

(Image credit: Future)
  1. Click the Save button.

Once you complete the steps, you can review your daily process.

How to change Focus settings on Windows 11

You can control various Focus settings through the Clock app and others from the Settings app.

Clock app

In the Clock app, you can change the settings for the focus periods, end of the session and break sounds, and integration with Spotify and To Do. Here's how:

  1. Open Start.
  2. Search for Clock and click the top result to open the app.
  3. Click the Settings button in the bottom-left corner.
  4. Click the Focus periods option.
  5. Use the Focus period setting to specify how long the period will be.
  6. Use the Break period setting to select when to apply breaks.

(Image credit: Future)
  1. Turn on the End of session sound toggle switch to play a sound when a session ends.
  2. Click the End of session sound setting to change the sound.
  3. Turn on the End of break sound toggle switch to play a sound when a session ends.
  4. Click the End of break sound setting to change the sound.
  5. Turn on the Spotify toggle switch to enable the integration (if applicable).
  6. Click the Spotify setting to manage the account settings.

(Image credit: Future)
  1. Turn on the To Do toggle switch to enable the Microsoft To Do integration (if applicable).

Once you complete the steps, the settings will apply for future focus sessions.

Settings app

In the Settings app, you can disable several notification features during a focus session to reduce distractions. Here's how:

  1. Open Settings.
  2. Click on System.
  3. Click the Focus page on the right side.

(Image credit: Future)
  1. Check the options you want to use with Focus:
  • Show the timer in the Clock app – This shows the Clock app with the session information.
  • Hide badges on taskbar apps – This disables the badges notifications in apps pinned to the Taskbar.
  • Hide flashing on taskbar apps – This suppresses the flashing alert when an application not in focus requires your attention.
  • Turn on do not disturb – This disables all system and app notifications, and they will be sent directly to the notification center.

(Image credit: Future)

After you complete the steps, the settings will apply to each session you create.

This feature is technically "Focus sessions," but it's now better known as "Focus," and don't confuse it with the "Focus assist" feature. Focus assist was the name of the feature to disable notifications on Windows 10, but it has now been renamed to "Do not disturb."

More resources

For more helpful articles, coverage, and answers to common questions about Windows 10 and Windows 11, visit the following resources:

Mauro Huculak is technical writer for WindowsCentral.com. His primary focus is to write comprehensive how-tos to help users get the most out of Windows 10 and its many related technologies. He has an IT background with professional certifications from Microsoft, Cisco, and CompTIA, and he's a recognized member of the Microsoft MVP community.