New Windows 11 feature is a ‘game-changer’ — here’s why

Windows 11
(Image credit: Microsoft)

Windows 11 is set to get a new tool called Focus Sessions designed to help you tackle tasks in blasts of productivity, backed up by a Spotify playlist of choice. 

Microsoft’s Chief Product Officer Panos Panay teased the new feature coming to Insider builds of Windows 11 on Twitter, noting: "Another first look from the team… #FocusSessions on #Windows11 coming soon. This has been a game-changer for me, especially with @Spotify integration.” 

Focus Sessions is all about productivity and, if the 16-second teaser video is indicative of the finished product, is designed to help users create short bursts of productivity where you focus on one particular task with music to help you get in the zone.

The video, embedded in the tweet above, shows a user picking out a task from their to-do list, selecting a Spotify playlist and then kicking off a 30-minute timer. Said timer can be increased or shortened, and there’s also space for a break, with the option to skip it if you’re really pushed for time. The section also includes a widget titled “Daily progress” with rings showing how much you’ve achieved, how many hours you worked yesterday and your current productivity streak. 

Judging by the interface, it seems that Focus Sessions is part of Windows 11’s redesigned Clock app, as you can see familiar titles like Timers, Alarms, Stopwatch and World Clock in the navigation bar on the left-hand side.   

Given the ongoing pandemic and the decision of many businesses to keep employees working remotely, focus and productivity are areas where every little helps, and software developers are taking note. 

In fact, this isn’t even the first Microsoft product to introduce a Focus mode: Teams also includes a similar feature where music and timers can be applied to ensure you can work free of distractions. Apple’s upcoming macOS 12 Monterey update also has a Focus mode where notifications are filtered and, crucially, it will follow you between devices using your iCloud account.

Panay didn’t reveal when Focus Sessions would be introduced, but Brandon LeBlanc, another Microsoft employee in the know, confirmed that the feature would be “coming soon to Windows Insiders.”

If it’s going to be seen by Insiders “soon," then it’s a good bet that this will be an established part of Windows 11 when the official release begins to roll out to eligible Windows 10 users later in the year. 

The word “eligible” is an important one, as some users will find themselves locked out of the upgrade due to the makeup of their computer. While Microsoft took down its official Health Check app, third party options are available to see if your PC is Windows 11 ready.  

Alan Martin

Freelance contributor Alan has been writing about tech for over a decade, covering phones, drones and everything in between. Previously Deputy Editor of tech site Alphr, his words are found all over the web and in the occasional magazine too. When not weighing up the pros and cons of the latest smartwatch, you'll probably find him tackling his ever-growing games backlog. Or, more likely, playing Spelunky for the millionth time.