How-To

Use Windows 10 Focus Assist to Work or Play Distraction-Free

The Focus Assist feature in Windows 10 version 1803 adds a lot more notification controls for when you need to get things done.

Microsoft started rolling out Windows 10 version 1803 aka “April 2018 Update” to the public this week and it contains some interesting new features. One of which is called Focus Assist. This isn’t a new feature exactly, as it was previously referred to “Quiet Hours” which was available starting with Windows 8.1. However, with this update, the experience has been enhanced and it includes some new abilities.

Focus Assist works similar to Priority Mode on Android. It allows you to work on your projects without being distracted by notifications, reminders, and alarms. You can choose the hours of the day when you want no notifications at all, or to just allow the most important ones through. For example, you might want zero notifications while you’re working on important work documents and not be distracted by a new photo someone put up on Instagram. On the other hand, you might want to be alerted when an important email arrives. And it’s not just for being productive and getting work done. You can use Focus Assist to limit notifications while you’re watching a movie or playing a game and not be distracted.

Using Focus Assist in Windows 10

To find get started, head to Settings > System > Focus Assist. There, in the top section, you can choose the notifications you want to get. You can turn it off and get all notifications, set it to priority only, or just get system alarms.

If you choose the “Priority only” option, you can then go in and customize the calls, texts, Cortana reminders, apps, and contacts that you want to come through.

Focus Assist Priority List

You can also set up automatic rules to choose times you don’t want to be disturbed – when you’re giving a presentation or playing a game, for example. When you set up specific rules you can then customize the rule more by choosing specific times that you don’t want interruptions.

Windows 10 1803 Focus Assist Automatic Rules

It’s also worth noting that it also offers some quick options to control Focus Assist from Action Center. Just right-click the Action Center icon to get the menu of options.

Focus Assist from Action Center

Notifications are useful in certain situations, but they can also be annoying and distracting at times. The new Focus Assist feature gives you much more control over them compared to “Quiet Hours” in previous versions of Windows.

Do you like the new options for controlling notifications and alerts on your Windows 10 system? Leave a comment below and let us know your thoughts. Or, for more discussions and troubleshooting help, hop in our Windows 10 Forums.


2 Comments

2 Comments

  1. Jamies  

    Thanks for the article
    Maybe windows will stop advising me that there is a Defender Definitions update to be done –
    What – but I told Defender to do the updates itself –
    AH – yes – the update Windows Update is advising me about is the one that Defender installed a few hours ago!
    And- Yes it would be nice if the Defender update screen reported the last update install or went and looked time properly – but I’ve got used to the reported update time preceding the timestamp of the latest definition set installed.

    So – MICROSOFT – some changes, providing new options are nice – but could you PLEASE, ( A pretty annoyed Please) fix the glitches in the system – such as …

    What could be far more useful is an option to STOP windows updating the window display when I am about to drop some files or text into a location within the currently displayed window
    AH = oops lets UNDO that so I can put the things into the data at the position where I had actually positioned the cursor. not at the location within the display that windows has now positioned under the cursor location.

    OK – expanding folders within the left hand panel of File explorer is frequently useful
    BUT NOT when it does not do it for the 10 seconds or more when I have the cursor over the folder I want expanded, but waits until I release the mouse and then updates and shifts the viewpoint before it actions the drop!

    Also – sometime in the not too distant past something unset the ASK before restarting option.
    Yes – I got a notification (all of about 2 seconds to cancel the restart) and save the urgent work that had kept me working on the PC until after my specified working day end of midnight.

    Luckily for me I have Excel set to remember the latest version and offer recovery – and this time it actually did present a version that was not missing a lot of the changes.

  2. Pokerman  

    Does anyone know how long the 1803 patch download will take. Tyia

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