Following up on last week’s major update that introduced various revamped apps to the OS, Microsoft is continuing the tradition of weekly releases and pushing a new Windows 11 update today. Build 22000.160, releasing in both the Dev and Beta channels, comes with a slew of bug fixes, as usual, but brings one important addition.
A new clock app is here to help you focus better and Microsoft is finally releasing the first ISO for Windows 11. The latter isn’t really a feature of the new update as much it’s just a timely coincidence. The first ISO is releasing alongside today’s build but is not based on today’s build. It’s actually Build 22000.123 which came out last week. Apart from that, Microsoft has changed one key feature in this build that may or may not upset HDD users.
Another first look from the team…#FocusSessions on #Windows11 coming soon. This has been a game-changer for me, especially with @Spotify integration #Productivity #Creativity #WindowsInsiders pic.twitter.com/HfJh4niDiS
— Panos Panay (@panos_panay) August 5, 2021
The Best Dang Clock App Ever
This week’s update adds an updated Clock app rebuilt from the ground up for Windows 11, just like Calculator, Snipping Tool, and Mail from last week’s update. Microsoft has dedicated a separate blog just for their new Clock so you best believe it’s revolutionary as hell. You can expect the standard affair of rounded corners, Mica and Fluent Design elements along with an overall emphasis on modernity. That being said, the main focus (no pun intended) of the new Clock app is Focus Sessions.
In today’s routine of life, working from home and on-site when possible has become clockwork. However, often our wellbeing takes a backseat and we get sucked into our work. Microsoft wants to step in and fill this gap by offering ways which help maintain your “digital health” while making you as productive as possible along the way.
As for what they actually are, Focus Sessions are basically exactly what they sound like – the main point of the feature is help you tune out distractions and make sure your work gets your center of attention. You can start a Focus Session and with the help of features Microsoft has built into the app, you’re supposedly going to get more productive. There are several ways Microsoft want to achieve this and Focus Sessions is the collective name that umbrellas these features.
1. Focus Timer
- The first of these features is Focus Timer. This is just a glorified timer that will tell you to take breaks once in a while and show you an option to stop your music whenever you want. According to Microsoft, Focus Timer is an integral part of a “focus session” as it helps time your tasks and helps in getting more done in a shorter period. You can pop out just the timer out of the Clock window and set multiple timers at once as well.
2. Focus With Spotify
- Next up is music, or as Microsoft labels it “Focus with Spotify“. Microsoft has integrated Spotify in the new Clock app so you can jam out to your favorite tunes while you do you work. You can link your account with the Clock app and access your entire library including your playlists. While it’s not yet confirmed, it stands to reason that you would be able to listen to podcasts as well. Moreover, Microsoft even highlights that there is scientific proof behind audio aiding in better focus and lesser distractions. You can check out the article Microsoft cited here.
3. Microsoft To Do
- The new Clock app also has Microsoft To Do integration. This way you can keep check of your daily tasks without having to open the dedicated desktop or web app. All your tasks are listen in a compact window and you can choose one task per Focus Session. You can also add tasks right in the app. The goal here is to help you plan your day in advance so you can get daily tasks done in an efficient and productive manner. Once you’ve completed a task, you can mark it done and start a new Focus Session to concentrate on a new task if you wish.
4. Habit Building
- Lastly, Habit Building is supposed to make you do better every day. You can set goals for the amount of time you’re in a Focus Session then try to beat that the next day. Or, maintain a streak if you desire. This helps you not only keep track of your daily goals but helps build better digital habits, as Microsoft states.
With the aforementioned slew of features, you can tell Microsoft is pretty serious about its new Clock app. Microsoft is touting the Clock app as the go to get-your-work done app. Microsoft has definitely put a lot of insight into building this app and making it the best it can be. The new Clock app is available in today’s update but if you don’t see it right away, don’t panic as the rollout is sometimes a bit delayed for some users.
Microsoft is once again testing grounds with this new app and is welcoming feedback. If you’re an Insider, be sure to tell Microsoft how you feel about the new app, how it can be improved, the places that can be tightened, and what features don’t make sense. Your feedback can help make the overall experience better for others.
Wait, There’s More?
Remember at the start when I said, this update may upset people rocking hard drives? Well, Microsoft has removed the restart estimates on HDDs. Whenever your PC needs to update to install a new update, Windows shows estimates in parts of the OS as to how long it will take for the restart. This feature was previously available for PCs running on both SSDs and hard drives but, unfortunately, the latter has to say goodbye to it for now. Microsoft isn’t removing this feature completely, it’ll come back once more important bugs and issues in Windows 11 have been dealt with.