Google Calendar will help you cut out distractions with ‘Focus time’

Google Calendar will help you cut out distractions with ‘Focus time’

One of the more challenging aspects of setting a work schedule is figuring out when you can take a breather. More often than not, I’ve accidentally scheduled events on my off days, simply because I forgot I was saving that day. Google Calendar already has an ‘Out of office’ option when creating an event, and now an additional ‘Focus time’ setting is rolling out that is less work-specific.

When you create a new calendar event, a ‘Focus time’ category will be visible (via 9to5Google), alongside existing categories like Tasks and Out of office. Focus time entries will appear in your calendar with a headphones icon, and you have the option to automatically decline any meetings that take place during that time. Focus time will also appear in Google Calendar’s Time Insights feature, if you’re using Calendar on a work account and your organization has Time Insights enabled.

Google Calendar 'focus time' option

“With the changes to our working environments in the past year,” Google said in a blog post, “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.”

Unfortunately, Focus Time will only be available for “Google Workspace Business Standard, Business Plus, Enterprise Standard, Enterprise Plus, Education Fundamentals, Education Teaching & Learning Upgrade, Education Standard, Education Plus, and Nonprofits customers.” Those of you with normal Google/Gmail accounts won’t see the option — at least, for now.

The new functionality is similar to the ‘Out of office’ feature that Google rolled out to workplace accounts in 2018, which automatically declines any meetings and appears as a different color in your calendar. Out of office has also not rolled out to basic Google/Gmail accounts — it’s only available on Google Workspace accounts.

About author

Corbin Davenport
Corbin Davenport

Corbin is a tech journalist and software developer based in Raleigh, North Carolina. He's also the host of the Tech Tales podcast, which explores the history of the technology industry. Follow him on Twitter at @corbindavenport.