Microsoft Is Working on a Productivity-Boosting Feature for Outlook

Called “Focus Time,” the upcoming feature will let you schedule quiet times directly from Outlook’s calendar.

With its newer iterations of Windows, Microsoft has added some handy features that disable notifications and help you get work done uninterrupted. Now, the company is working on adding the same idea in Outlook, letting you set quiet times within the email client.

The New “Focus Time” for Outlook

As spotted by Neowin, a new entry on the Microsoft 365 Roadmap comes with the title “Outlook: Focus Time in Outlook Calendar.” It was also added recently, with a creation date of October 28, 2022.

The entry description doesn’t mince words about the feature’s functionality:

Users can schedule focus events directly from Outlook calendar and mute Outlook and Teams notifications during this time.

The Roadmap is Microsoft’s way to keep people updated on features in the works, which means it’ll be a little while until you can mute notifications within the Outlook calendar. However, the company has set a tentative release date for sometime in January 2023.

Giving Work-From-Home Employees Some Focus

This isn’t the first time we’ve seen Microsoft adding new focus-related features to its products. Back in April 2022, Microsoft enhanced Windows 11’s Focus Assist tool to help people get even more done.

But why is Microsoft paying so much attention to these focus-related featured? The answer may lie in the recent boom in people who are working from home. Office PCs usually don’t come with much more than what’s needed to get work done. As such, notifications are usually work-related, and important.

Now that lots of people are working from home, things get a little more distracting. If you use the same PC for work and play, you’ve likely been bombarded by notifications from both sides before; work emails coming in alongside friends messaging you on Facebook, for instance.

As such, it’s important that people can customize which apps can send notifications, and when. That way, people working from home have an easier time managing when it’s time to do business, and when it’s time to chat.

Microsoft likely realizes this, and this may be the reason why its apps and software are now getting enhanced focus-related tools. And it’s equally likely that the company will either introduce more focus-based tools, or enhance its existing ones, in the near future.

Putting the Focus on Productivity

With people working from home, Microsoft seems to be developing better tools to help people stay focused. We’ll have to see how the tool works when we get to use it for ourselves come January 2023.

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