Google’s new ‘focus time’ setting could help you duck that boring meeting

Google has added a ‘focus time’ event setting to Google Calendar that aims to help them block out distractions like video meetings.

It’s a similar “event type” in Google Calendar as Out of Office and is marked in Calendar with a headphone icon.

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Focus time also lets users automatically decline conflicting events and, handily, also has a check box to “automatically decline meetings”. That’s useful for all those workers out there who are fed up with online chats and video meetings since the pandemic began last March.

“With the changes to our working environments in the past year, having more chats and meetings make it more difficult for people to carve out time for their core individual work. With the new focus time feature, we hope to make it easier to create dedicated time for thinking and core work,” Google notes in a blogpost.

Of course, if your boss demands you join a video meetings, there’s not much Focus time can do about that. But at least workers can send a signal to colleagues that at a specified hour, they’d like to be left alone to focus on work. Focus time can also be set to repeat at the same hour at various intervals.

Calendar users can assign different colors indicate focus time versus other events and other meetings.

Focus time is already rolling out, however it’s only available on some Workspace plans, including Google Workspace Business Standard, Business Plus, Enterprise Standard, Enterprise Plus, Education Fundamentals, Education Teaching & Learning Upgrade, Education Standard, Education Plus, and for Nonprofits.

It’s not available to customers with Google Workspace Essentials, Business Starter, Enterprise Essentials, and Frontline and as well as G Suite Basic and Business customers.

Google has published a support page with instructions for using Focus time on desktop, Android and iOS.

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