Windows 11 offers Focus Assist, a feature to increase productivity by dismissing unimportant notifications.
Notifications are rarely useful to you productivity. Even a single notification, which only appears for a second or two on your screen, can cause you to lose your focus. Sure, you can easily mute them all, but that’s not always ideal, especially when you need to get certain important notifications.
Focus Assist, called Do Not Disturb in previous Windows versions, is just the thing to get rid of distracting notifications on your Windows 11 PC. Just enable this feature and select the notifications you want to hide and receive. Hidden notifications remain in the notification center, and you can see them when you’re done working.
If you want to focus on your PC better, here’s how to set up Focus Assist.
How to enable Focus Assist on Windows 11
Use the Windows search feature to open the Settings app, go to System, and then tap Focus Assist. You will then have three options, to enable or disable the option:
- helpless : Shows all notifications.
- only priorities : Hides all notifications except for those from apps in your priority list, which you can of course customize.
- Alarms only : Hides all notifications except for alarms.
Within these three settings, you can select the “Show a summary of what I missed when focus assist was on” option to receive a notification that collects all hidden notifications when you exit focus assist.
Create a priority list to show only certain notifications
If you only want to use the priority level, you can choose which apps you always want to receive notifications for, even with focus assist enabled. To do this, click on “Customize your 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.
- People : If you want to receive notifications from certain contacts in apps like Mail, Calls and Messaging, you can add them here.
- apps : You can specify which apps will be able to bypass focus assist, so that you receive their notifications.
To remove an app from the list, tap on it and tap Remove.
Set automatic rules so you don’t have to activate them manually
Focus assist has to be activated manually, but it is possible to automate the thing. Under Automatic Rules, you have the following settings:
- During these times : To activate automatically for specified periods of time.
- When I duplicate my screen : To activate automatically when a second monitor is connected.
- When I play a game : To activate automatically when you start a video game.
- When I use an app in full screen : To activate automatically when using an app in full screen mode.
- In the first hour after Windows update : To activate automatically right after a Windows update.
For all these parameters, you can set a different focus level than what appears (priority or alerts). Just click on it and release it.
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