How to Use Focus Assist In Windows 11 (Guide)

We use PC and Laptops because they help us reduce the time and labor that goes into any work. Be it watching your favorite show, writing an article, or finishing an assignment due tomorrow, notification can be a real deal-breaker and shift your attention. So Microsoft has come up with a convenient solution to it—Focus Assist. This post will look at how we can use Focus Assist In Windows 11 to reduce the notification.

Focus Assist Guide Windows

How to Use Focus Assist In Windows 11 (Guide)

Focus Assist is not new and came into the picture in one of the updates of Windows 10. It was called Quiet Hours, which was later renamed Focus Assist. Windows 11 doesn’t offer any new updates but has made it easier to access it. Focus assist will now automatically switch on when you are playing a game, presenting something, or watching something with full-screen mode.

This simple yet powerful tool lets you focus on the task on hand and reduce procrastination. In this article, we have for you a detailed guide of the Focus assist feature on Windows 11. Make sure you read this article till the end.

  1. How to Switch On Focus Assist
    • Enabling Focus Assist System Using Settings
    • Enabling Focus Assist Using Action Center
    • Enabling Focus Assist using Notification
  2. Configuring Different Modes Under Focus Assist
    • Turn Off (Disabling the feature)
    • Priority only (Customized notification)
    • Alarm only (Only Alarm will go through)
    • Show a summary of All notifications
    • Automatic rules for Focus Assist
  3. Switching Off The Focus Assist Feature
    • Settings
    • Action Centre
    • Group Policy Editor
  4. Focus Assist Session

1] How to Switch On Focus Assist

There are not only one but four different ways to access the Focus assist feature on Windows 11. Let’s look at them:

Method #1: Enabling Focus Assist System Using Settings

Enable Focus Assist Settings

You can use Windows settings to turn on Focus assist. Here are the steps:

  1. Open Windows Settings using Win + I
  2. Go to System> Focus assist option.
  3. You will find the options like Off, Priority only, and Alarms only.
  4. You can choose the option you want according to your needs.
  5. You can also select automatic rules from the list and program different modes in diverse situations.

Method #2: Enabling Focus Assist Using Action Center

The Action Center allows you to access the notifications for various apps and necessary settings like wifi, volume, and battery. Here are the steps to enable Focus assistance using Action center:

  1. Click on the area which shows the icon  Wifi, Volume and battery  together
  2. Beneath the Bluetooth button, you will be able to see a crescent moon that is Focus Assist.
  3. Now you can see the Focus Assist option
  4. If you click on it once, it will turn to Priority only 
  5. If you click on it once more, it will turn to Alarm only
  6. To disable it altogether, click it one more time.

To make other necessary changes in the Focus Assist settings from the Action Center, right-click on the Focus Assist icon on the Action Center, and click on Settings.

Method #3: Enabling Focus Assist using Notification

  1. Click on Windows and choose settings.
  2. Click on the System option.
  3. Click on the Notification option.
  4. Click on the Toggle bar to On in front of Notifications.
  5. For more settings, click on the  Focus Assist bar under the notification bar.

2] Configuring Different Modes Under Focus Assist

Focus Assist Options

There are different modes under Focus Assist, namely:

  1. Off (Disabling the feature)
  2. Priority only (Customized notification)
  3. Alarm only (Only alarm will go through)
  4. Show a summary of All notifications
  5. Automatic rules for Focus Assist

Option #1 Off (Disable the Feature)

It will altogether disable the Focus Assist feature in Windows. It means that you will not get the notifications, but you can still see them when you check out the action center.

Option #2 Priority Only (Customized Notification)

This option allows you to get only the first priority-based notification. So, if you are making an essential presentation for class but don’t want to miss any urgent email/call/messages from the professor, you can add them to the list. Not only can you add essential people but also the apps you need notification from.

Adding People In The Priority List

Add Contacts in Priority List

You can select which contacts you want to see the notifications from in the focus assist option. Here are the steps to do so:

  1. Go to Windows Settings > System > Focus Assist > Priority Only
  2. Click Customize Priority List link under the Priority List
  3. Under that, you can see Add Contacts.
  4. Click on it, and you can now see a pop-up
  5. Write the contact in the search bar
  6. Click on the name to add the contact
  7. After adding all the contacts, you can click the tick mark on the bottom right of the screen to apply.
  8. If you want to remove anyone, hover the mouse over the contact and click on the Removes button.

Note: You can Configure options for Show Incoming calls, including VoIPs, Show remainders, regardless of the apps, and Show notification from pinned contacts on the taskbar as per your need.

Adding Apps In The Priority List

Focus Assist Priority List Apps

You can also prioritize certain apps which are important to you and want to see the notifications from:

  1. Go to Windows Settings > System > Focus Assist > Priority Only
  2. Click on Customize Priority List under the Priority List
  3. Click on Add an App.
  4. Search up your desired app in the search box
  5. After adding all the apps, you can click the tick mark on the bottom right of the screen to apply.
  6. If you want to remove anyone, hover the mouse over the App
  7. After you see the Remove button on the bottom right screen.
  8. Click to finalize.

Option #3 Alarm Only (Only Alarm Will Go Through)

This option allows your System only to send alarms that you already set through when you are in your focus time. You can customize the alarm list in the Alarms & Clock app.

  1. Click on Windows and choose settings.
  2. Click on the System option.
  3. Click on the Focus Assist option.
  4. Click on the Alarms only toggle bar to finalize.

Option #4 Show A Summary Of All Notifications

This option allows you to get all the summaries of the notifications/calls/and alarms you got so far while in your focus time. Just after your Focus time is up, a small dialog box will pop up with all the notifications, and then you can choose to ignore or look forward to it.

  1. Open Windows Search and Type Settings. Click to open once you see the settings app in the list.
  2. Click on the System> Focus Assist option.
  3. After Off, Priority only, alarms only icon You can see a check box
  4. Click on the Show a summary of what I missed when Focus Assist was on

Option #5 Automatic Rules For Focus Assist

Automatic Rules Focus Assist

This option comes after the three main modes of Focus Assist. These will mainly help you get a quick, easy customizable Focus Assist feature. Rules are:-

  • During These times (Custom)
  • When I’m Duplicating my display
  • When I’m playing  a game
  • When I’m using an app in full-screen mode, only
  • For the first hour after a Windows feature update.

During These Times: It allows the System to turn on the Focus Assist only during a specified time. You can also use the repeat drop-down menu and set a daily, weekend, or weekdays repeat schedule.

When I’m Duplicating My Display: It allows the System to automatically turn on the Focus Assist when it detects that you’re mirroring your screen.

When I’m Playing Game: It allows the System to automatically turn on the Focus Assist when running your games in full-screen mode.

When I’m Using An App In Full-screen: It allows the System to turn on the Focus Assist automatically only when you are in full-screen mode.

For The First Hour After A Windows Feature Update: When your System goes through an update, it will automatically switch on Focus Assist for you to navigate correctly.

All these rules can help you use your Focus Assist feature in a more helpful way, and also, it is not necessary to toggle all the bars on you can choose the option that you find more desirable.

3] Switching Off The Focus Assist Feature

Even though this feature is helpful, some users have problems switching it off after enabling it, so let’s see how you can disable the Focus Assist Feature.

Method #1: Disabling Focus Assist system using Settings

  1. Click on Windows and choose settings.
  2. Click on the System option.
  3. Click on the Focus Assist option.
  4. You will find the options like Off, Priority only, and Alarms only.
  5. You have to choose option Off to make the feature turned down.

Method #2: Disabling Focus Assist using Action Centre

  1. Click on the area which shows the icon  Wifi, Volume and  battery  together
  2. Beneath the Bluetooth button, you will be able to see a crescent moon that is Focus Assist.
  3. If you click on it once, it will turn to Priority only 
  4. If you click on it once more, it will turn to Alarm only
  5. To disable it altogether, click it one more time.

Method #3: Use Group Policy Editor To Disable Focus Assist

Group Policy Focus Assist

  1.  Press Windows key + R shortcut
  2. It will open the Run command
  3. Type the command gpedit.msc and click OK.
  4. After that, you have to navigate to the following path: User configuration –> Administrative Templates –> Start Menu and Taskbar –> Notifications
  5. 5. Now, in the right pane, you have to double-click on the Turn off Quiet Hours/ Focus Assist
  6. 6. Choose Enabled to turn off Focus Assist.

4] Focus Assist Session

This feature has been newly added to Windows 11 and is not to be found in any other. This feature allows you to set a time, listen to music, write down your To-Do- list, and whatnot. You don’t have any other custom apps to get the same set of features.

Focus Assist Sessions

Starting A Session: Focus Assist Session has been made a part of the clock app.

  • Open Windows Search, then locate and open the Clock App
  • Select Focus Sessions, and then it will guide you to a page where you can easily set up your session time
  • You can set your daily/hourly/weekly goals as you wish.
  • You can link your Spotify account if music helps you in your tasks
  • You can also use Microsoft To-Do to pick a task for that session
  • On the settings icon at the bottom left of the clock app
  • You can adjust the length of your focus time (including breaks)
  • You can also select a sound to play.
  • You can also change the theme according to your liking.

As we have just learned above, you can go to Focus Assist settings and change what you need.

Conclusion

The previous use of the various apps and muting everything so that you don’t get disturbed now doesn’t need to be done. Focus Assist helps with focusing on a task, stopping all our lazy behaviors, and getting our work done on time. We have tried to focus on the feature from switching on to switching it off if it bothers to the slight addition that Windows has done with the Focus Assist Session. Windows 11 has shown its value and is one of the many reasons we have to invest in it.

Is Focus Assist the Same as Quiet Hours?

Yes, Focus Assist is the same as  Do Not Disturb. Microsoft Windows team changed the name to Focus Assist as it aims to improve productivity and help users focus on their tasks and not entirely shut off everything.

Does Focus Assist Work During Games?

Yes, it does. It applies to the entire OS, and that includes Windows and applications. It makes sure you don’t get annoying notifications when playing games. Some games even minimize if a notification appears, which ensures to keep that away.

He has a keen interest in Technology, Online Tools, Windows, Troubleshooting, and anything when it comes to Windows OS.

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