The notifications from Windows apps and programs might really annoy you at times when you’re trying to focus on something. Microsoft introduced Focus Assist feature with Windows 10 April 2018 update to solve this issue. Focus assist has also made it’s way to Windows 11 with some improvements. So, now you can enable Focus Assist in your Windows 11 or Windows 10 PC and work without distractions.
Focus Assist helps you stay focused by easily blocking notifications, sounds, and alerts to create distraction-free work environment. This feature might come really handy if your are preparing for or giving a presentation or trying to focus on a paper. You can use Focus Assist to block interruptions or distractions on your Windows 11 or Windows 10 PC.
How Does Focus Assist in Windows 11 and Windows 10 Work?
- Flexibility: Focus assist allows you to choose when to block notifications. You can turn on Focus assist whenever you want to block notifications and work without distractions, like sounds, and alerts. Or you may set Focus Assist to turn on automatically at certain times during the day.
- Priority: You can always make sure you don’t miss your important notifications by creating a priority list. You may set Focus Assist to allow high priority notifications even when Focus Assist is ON.
- Notification Summary: You can easily find out what you have missed while you were working on your important project. As soon as you turn off Focus Assist, a summary of notifications and alerts appears on your screen.
A) Enable and Use Focus Assist in Windows 11
Just like Windows 10, you can enable Focus Assist from Notification area, Settings in Windows 11. Besides that, you can also start a Focused Session from the Alarm & Clock app in Windows 11 which is not available in Windows 10. So, let’s see the ways to enable and use Focus Assist in Windows 11.
1. Start Focused Session in Alarm & Clock App
To start a focused session manually, launch the Alarm & Clock app in Windows 11. If you have started the Alarm & Clock app for the first time, it might show you a get started page on Focus Sessions tab. So, click on Get Started to continue.
Now, on the Focus Sessions page, you can start a focused session of your desired duration. The time is set to 30 mins by default, however, you can change it using up and down arrows. Finally, click Start focus session button to start a focus session and stay focused for that duration without distractions.
2. Enable and Configure Focus Assist from Settings in Windows 11
Besides starting a focus session manually from Alarm & Clock app, you can also configure Focus Assist settings to automatically enable it during specific times.
Focus Assist Settings:
So, for setting up Focus Assist in Windows 11, go to Settings > System > Focus Assist. Here, you can change Focus Assist settings. There are 3 settings available which are described below.
- Off: Focus Assist will be turned off or disabled. All notifications will display as they are received.
- Priority only: You will only see the notifications which you have selected in priority list.
- Alarms only: This option will hide all notifications, except for alarms.
Configure Priority List:
You can also configure priority list by clicking Customize priority list option under Priority only setting. After that, you will see option to configure which apps display notifications while Focus Assist is turned on.
You can also configure Automatic rules here which define when to turn on Focus Assist automatically. In Windows 11, there are following rules available.
|During these times||Manually specify the time when focus assist will start automatically.|
|When I’m duplicating my display||Automatically enable focus assist when you are presenting.|
|When I’m playing a game||Enables focus assist while you are gaming.|
|When I’m using an app in full screen mode only||Focus assist will turn on when you are using an app in full screen mode.|
|For the first hour after a Windows feature update||After you have installed a feature update in Windows 11, Focus Assist will be enabled for 1 hour after the restart.|
You can manually configure hours (select During these hours option) to start Focus Assist during that time. Besides that, you can also select the Focus Assist (Alarm or Priority) setting for that duration.
3. Enable Focus Assist from System Tray Area
You can also enable Focus Assist quickly from Action Center in Windows 11. Simply click on Network, Volume, Battery icons in system tray (right side of taskbar) and then click on Focus Assist tile to switch between Priority, Alarms or Off.
B) Enable and Use Focus Assist in Windows 10
After Windows 11, let’s move to Windows 10. It’s almost similar in Windows 10 also. So, here are 3 simple ways to enable Focus Assist in Windows 10. You can enable Focus Assist from Action Center, Right-click menu on Action Center icon and from Settings. Let’s check them one by one:
1. Quickly Turn on Focus Assist from Action Center
You can quickly toggle Focus Assist on or off from a quick action tile in the Action Center. Just click on Action center icon and then click on Focus Assist icon repeatedly to toggle between Priority & Alarms only modes or to turn off Focus Assist.
If you don’t see Focus Assist icon in Action Center, click on Expand to view more icons or tiles.
2. From Action Center right-click Menu in Windows 10
Another way to enable Focus Assist is to do it from right-click context menu on Action Center icon. So, right-click on Action Center icon and hover over Focus Assist and select any one of the three options – Off, Priority only and Alarms only to enable respective option.
3. Turn on from System Settings in Windows 10
Besides above two methods, you can also enable Focus Assist from Windows 10 Settings also. Go to Settings > System and select Focus Assist from left pane. Now, on the right side, you have options to select from Off, Priority only & Alarms only.
You can also configure automatic rules for Focus Assist just like in Windows 11. So, we are not explaining them separately here.
Stay Focused on Windows 11 and Windows 10 using Focus Assist
Focus Assist is one of the many other useful features available in Windows 10. As this feature has also made it’s way to Windows 11 with Alarm & Clock integration, you can use it the way you want. When configured properly, Focus Assist can help you with avoiding unnecessary interruptions during meetings, presentations or gaming.
Hope you liked this guide. In case you have any queries and suggestions, feel free to share them in the comment section down below. Enjoy and stay focused!