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What is focus time?

Definition: Focus time is a type of time management technique that allows you to focus on a single task for an extended period of time, without any distractions or interruptions. 

The goal is to work continuously on the same task until it’s complete, instead of allowing your attention to be pulled in different directions by various tasks and activities. This can help you stay focused and productive, and can help you get more done in a shorter amount of time.

One common approach to Focus Time is to turn off or mute all notifications on your phone or computer while you’re working on a particular task. Another one is to block off a certain amount of time each day that is dedicated solely to working on one specific task. 

How much focus time do you need?

Standard focus time sessions consist of five 30-minute sessions with 5-minute breaks in between. During these sessions, 30 minutes is reserved for productive work, with no distractions. After five sessions, the worker is granted a longer break.

Different professions require different lengths of time blocks:

  • Engineers need 30 hours per week of focus time.
  • Product managers need 2 hours/2 times per week
  • Content writer needs 10 hours per week 
  • Software developer needs around 20 hours per week

Focus time for teams vs. focus time for individuals

Team focus time needs to be decided in an agreement between the team and the team manager. 

Together they decide which meetings the team can skip, and what would be the optimal focus time block. By creating an environment in which the team leader chooses what's best for the group, according to the group’s needs and abilities, the overall focus on task completion increases. 

Giving such autonomy to the team encourages clear and open communication, which leads to more dedicated employees. 

Individual focus time is the most important for freelancers and remote workers. 

They are prone to multitasking and switching from task to task. This decreases their productivity level by 40%.

Slack messages and emails create the most distraction for remote workers. But, these distractions can be managed by workers tracking their hours and creating a time block between one and three hours for deep focused work. 

Focus time best practices

  • Planning the workday ahead – By including Focus Time in the daily work calendar, it’s easier to avoid overlaps of different tasks, meetings, etc.
  • Preventing interruptions – This is easily done by setting status on all work-related apps on “busy” or “unavailable” during the focus time block.
  • Estimate delivery time – When creating time blocks, it’s easy to overestimate how much time you actually have to finish one task. If you have an overview of an entire workweek, you can see how many tasks there are, and by hour-tracking, you can calculate how many tasks you can fit in a one-time block.

How to set up focus time (step by step)

  1. Split tasks into smaller steps, or subtasks.
  2. Set the timer for 30 minutes for each assignment step.
  3. Set the timer for a 5-minute break after each session.
  4. Set the timer for a 30-minute break after five focus time sessions.
  5. Repeat until all tasks are done.

How to schedule focus time in Mindmesh?

On the right side of the screen, there’s a daily calendar view:

If you want your team members to be aware that you are in the focus time, then don’t check the “This is a private event” box: 

After deciding on how much focus time you need, select hours on your daily calendar and name them “Focus Time.”

When you click on the “Focus Time” card, a window will pop up:

By clicking on a “+ New resource,” a new card will be created where you can write the exact tasks you will be focusing on during this time block:

How to share focus time with team members in Mindmesh? 

Click on your focus time block and then click on the pen button on the pop-up window:

A new pop-up window will appear, and if you haven’t already authorized Mindmesh to view your contact, it will ask for authorization. Click on the “Authorize” button and choose for which connected email you want to provide Mindmesh authorization.

Once the authorization is complete, you can search and add guests:

When you click on the time block again, you can see the participants and whether they have accepted your Focus Time event or not:

You can also share the event with participants via email or link: 

How can I assign Focus Time to team members?

Create a “Focus Time” card and click on three small dots in the lower right corner of the card:

A drop-down menu will appear, and you should click on the “Assign card” field and then type the names or email addresses of members you want to assign Focus Time to.

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Article FAQs

Should focus time events be marked as busy or free?
During focus time blocks, the status is set on busy, so other tasks or distractions, such as team meetings, wouldn’t overlap. But, depending on the industry, you can change it to “free.” Some industries are prone to emergency interruptions when unexpected tasks show up.
Can I assign focus time to my team?
Team managers can, and should, assign focus time for the team. It’s all set upon the agreement between the leader and the rest of the team. However, one worker from the team can’t assign focus time to another worker.
How can I notify my team members that I’m in the focus time?
By setting all work-related apps to “busy” or “not available,” other team members can’t send you messages. Outlook, Microsoft Teams, and other tools have “focus” settings. By clicking on the focus button, you can choose how many hours you need to block, and other team members won’t be able to disturb you.
Deep work vs. shallow work
Deep work is uninterrupted, focused work that requires maximum cognitive function — i.e., researching or analyzing data, developing strategy, and writing content. Shallow work is logistical or administrative work that can be done even while distracted— i.e., replying to emails and messages, data entry, and pulling reports.

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