Focus Zones

What you'll learn

What's a Focus Zone?

A Focus Zone is a notification you receive on your Assistant when RescueTime detects an open time in your schedule based on your calendar events and work patterns. RescueTime considers this an optimal time to devote to Focus Work and start a Focus Session

When you start your work day you'll see your morning briefing alert on your Assistant displaying "Focus Opportunities." These are your Focus Zones.

When RescueTime sees that your workday has one or more hours without meetings, or when you've been the most productive based on your work patterns, then the Assistant will let you know you're in a Focus Zone. During a Focus Zone, RescueTime will suggest this is an optimal time to start a Focus Session and you will be prompted to start a Focus Session through a pinned alert in your Assistant (you can find more details about alerts here). 

What Triggers a Focus Zone?

Focus Zones are based on your connected calendar, work patterns, and work schedule.

If you have a connected calendar with meetings in your workday, Focus Zones will be determined by gaps among your work schedule start time, meeting times, and work schedule end time. Suggested gaps will be selected as Focus Zones if there is at least an hour available.

If you don't have a connected calendar or no meetings in your workday, Focus Zones will be determined by the two hours of the day with the most Focus Work Goal accomplished in the last seven days. The length of the Focus Zone will be one hour, or less depending on your work schedule end time.

The default Focus Zone will last for one hour. You can see up to three Focus Zones in a day depending on your meetings and work schedule. 

On Mac

During a Focus Zone, a button appears in the menu bar next to the RescueTime icon: the Focus icon

The  RescueTime icon will become a separate button that opens the Assistant's main menu.

During a Focus Zone, you can start a Focus Session by clicking either the RescueTime icon, which will bring up the Assistant main menu with the Focus Zone pinned alertor the Focus icon (image below) in the menu bar. 

When the Focus Session begins, a separate timer icon appears with a completion bar. The bar fills as the timer counts down.

If you click on the timer in the menu bar, the Assistant opens to show the Focus Session view. Visiting a website or app scored as a Personal Activity will open a Focus Session block page.

On Windows

During a Focus Zone on Windows, you'll see a pinned alert in your Assistant to Start a Focus Session, but there won't be a Focus icon in your system tray.

During a Focus Session, the RescueTime icon turns into a progress meter that fills as the Focus Session counts down in your taskbar. You can hover over the RescueTime icon in your taskbar to see the Assistant. The example shown uses Windows 11.

You can access the Assistant from either the taskbar or the system tray.

Focus Zone Block Page

During a Focus Zone, when you visit a website that is ranked or scored as a Personal Activity on your Activities page, a Focus Zone block page will open on your default web browser instead of the website, giving you the option to start a Focus Session. A Focus Zone is not a Focus Session but an assertive nudge to start a Focus Session. 

You'll be shown three options:

1. Start a Focus Session: enter what you want to focus on and then hit the Start a Focus Session button. Both your block page and Assistant will show that you're in a Focus Session by displaying the countdown timer and completion bar. 

  • The Focus Session duration will be based on what's in your Focus Settings for "Default Focus Session length"
  • The block level will default to block distracting sites and apps

2. Continue to [website]: this example shows the block page blocking Twitter. Clicking the Continue to button will allow you to continue to Twitter during this Focus Zone.

3. or continue & turn off blocking in this zone: this option will allow you to continue to Twitter and all blocking will stop during this Focus Zone.

Please note: if you don't want the Focus Zone block page to display in place of your distractions, you can disable this on the Focus Settings page. You can also click on the Change Focus Zone blocking settings link, which will take you directly to the Focus Settings page to disable this option. You can disable Focus Zones from the Focus Settings page as well. Read more details about the Focus Settings here

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