How to get the most out of Windows 11 Focus Assist

Windows 11 offers Focus Assist, a feature to increase productivity by hiding unimportant notifications.

Notifications are rarely good for you productivity. Even a single notification that pops up on your screen for just a second or two can make you lose focus. Sure, you can easily mute them all, but that’s not always ideal, especially when you need certain important notifications.

Focus Assist, called Do Not Disturb in previous versions of Windows, is just the thing to get rid of annoying notifications on your Windows 11 computer. Just enable this feature and choose which notifications you want to hide and receive. Hidden notifications stay in notification center, you can see them when you finish work.

If you want to focus more on your computer, learn how to set up Focus Assist.

How to enable Focus Assist on Windows 11

Use the Windows search function to open the Settings app, go to System and then click on Focus Assist. You then have three options to enable or disable the option:

  • Disabled : Shows all notifications.
  • Priorities only : Hides all notifications except those from apps in your priority list, which you can of course customize.
  • Alarm clock only : Hides all notifications except alarms.

Under these three settings, you can toggle the “Show a summary of what I missed when Focus Assist was on” option to receive a notification summarizing all hidden notifications when you exit Focus Assist.

Create a priority list to see only specific notifications

If you only want to use the priority level, you can choose which apps you always want to get notifications for, even when focus assist is on. To do this, click on “Customize priority list”. You will then see the following options:

  • Calls, Messages and Reminders : Under this option, you can show or hide notifications for incoming calls, text messages, and reminders.
  • persons : If you want to receive notifications from specific contacts in apps like Mail, Call, and Messaging, you can add them here.
  • applications : You can specify the apps that can bypass Focus Assist to let you receive their notifications.

To remove an app from the list, click on it and then click Remove.

Set automatic rules so you don’t have to turn them on manually

The concentration assistant has to be activated manually, but it is possible to automate the thing. Under Automatic Rules you have the following settings:

  • In these times : To activate automatically for specified periods of time.
  • When I duplicate my screen : to activate automatically when you connect a second monitor.
  • when i play a game : To activate automatically when playing a video game.
  • When I use an app in full screen mode : To activate automatically when using an app in full screen mode.
  • For the first hour after a Windows update : for automatic activation directly after a Windows update.

For all these parameters you can set a concentration level different from the one displayed (priority or alarms). Just click and edit.

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