Aug. 19, 2021 10:47 pm EST

Windows 11 Clock App With New Focus Sessions Rolls Out To Insiders

By Ewdison Then

Microsoft has been slowly teasing the built-in apps that will be coming with Windows 11, but most of those have been criticized for having only aesthetic changes. Microsoft Paint is one of the few that actually got more than just rounded corners or support for dark themes, but even that didn't satisfy Windows users or fans of the venerable painting program. Windows 11's Clock app, however, stands out from the crowd because of one new feature that apparently deserved its very own blog post.

Panos Panay already hinted at the upcoming Focus Sessions feature of the upgraded Clock app, but now Microsoft is drilling deeper into the app's new productivity bent. The Clock app already has timers galore, but Focus Sessions puts a new spin on that idea with a dashboard that could make productivity enthusiasts blush with glee. And, of course, you can integrate it with other services, including Spotify.

Focus Sessions is like a one-stop shop for viewing and doing your tasks in an environment that encourages productivity. You have a single timer that's meant to get your engines running by starting a Focus Session for a set duration of time with a short break afterward. Users of the popular Pomodoro productivity technique will feel at home here.

The highlight feature, however, is the Clock's integration with Spotify. Building on research that points to how audio helps reduce distraction and improve focus, the Focus Sessions can connect to a user's Spotify account and play the music that will help them get into "the zone." Microsoft didn't detail whether users will be able to select their own music or if only themed playlists will be available.

The Clock's Focus Sessions also integrates with Microsoft To-Do, so you won't lose time or inertia switching back and forth between apps. A dashboard also provides a quick overview of how productive you have been so far, depending on the goals you set yourself. Ironically, the Clock app is the one built-in Windows 11 app where Microsoft didn't demonstrate the ability to switch between light and dark themes.

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