Focus plan

Meetings, emails, and chats are necessary to get work done, but they often leave us with little time during the workday for uninterrupted individual work. Some people report spending over 80% of their day collaborating with coworkers, and research has shown that it can take over 20 minutes to refocus after checking just one email.

The focus plan in Microsoft Viva Insights helps you block regular time for your top-priority work by scheduling up to four hours every day to focus. The plan also lets you configure your focus-plan settings to match your needs:

  • You can silence or allow chats in Teams.
  • You can mute or unmute team notifications.

You can create, configure, or end your focus plan at will. For more information, see To create your focus plan and To change or leave your focus plan.

To create your focus plan

You can create your focus plan in three places:

In the app

  1. Select the Protect time tab.

    Screenshot that shows the Protect time tab.

  2. Locate the Focus plan card.

  3. Select Get started.

    Screenshot that shows the Focus plan card and the Get started button.

  4. If this is:

    • Your first time using a focus plan, you'll be prompted to confirm settings in Focus plan preferences after you select Get started. These settings are described further in the next section.

    • Not your first time using a focus plan, Viva Insights automatically starts booking focus time for you. You can change your settings later in Focus plan preferences or by selecting View settings on the card.

      Screenshot that shows the Focus plan card and the View settings link.

In the dashboard

  1. In the header of the Focus page of your personal dashboard, select Get started.

    Screenshot that shows Focus plan setup - Get started.

  2. Select the number of hours of focus time you would like Viva Insights to book for you every day, and then select Next.

    Screenshot that shows Focus plan setup - Choose hours.

  3. Select the time of day for your focus time, and then select Next.

    Screenshot that shows Focus plan setup - Choose AM or PM.

  4. Select whether you want a Teams reminder to begin focus mode.

    Screenshot that shows Focus plan - Want or don't want notification.

  5. Select whether to have Teams chat notifications muted during focus time, and select Looks good.

    Focus plan - Choose to mute chat notifications.

    Viva Insights now looks for time in your Outlook calendar to set aside for focusing, based on your preferences. The amount and placement of focus time depends on the time your calendar has open.

    See Automatic booking of focus time for details.

In the Insights Outlook add-in

  1. Select the Want focus time every day? insight.

    Screenshot that shows Want focus time every day? insight

  2. Select Book time now.

    Screenshot that shows the Create your focus plan window with Book time now option.

    The Insights pane now notifies you that your focus plan has begun, and your calendar now contains focus-time blocks:

    Screenshot that shows the Outlook add-in's focus plan confirmation window.

Now that your focus plan is underway, you can do the following:

To check the progress of your focus plan

After your plan has started, you can check your progress and make sure that you have focus time booked every day over the upcoming two weeks. If the plan has run for at least few days, it will have numbers to report.

In the dashboard, select Focus on the left pane to see statistics about your focus time:

Dashboard report.

An important metric shows under Last week about how many days last week that you had time to focus.

The Plan ahead area helps you plan focus time for the upcoming days with the following sections.

Focus time booked

For the current week and the following week, this area shows how many days and which days have had focus time booked. In the preceding example screenshot of the dashboard, the three days with focus time booked are shown in green.

Needs focus time

This section shows upcoming days that have no focus time booked but still have open time available. Select Book now to have Viva Insights select and book this time.

Needs review

During the number of days shown (in the screenshot, three days) Viva Insights has either found no time to book or it has found booked focus time that has a meeting conflict. Select Review to open your calendar in Outlook on the web to resolve the issue.

Note

If you make changes to your Outlook calendar, they will be reflected on your dashboard within five minutes.

To change or leave your focus plan

Through the app or the dashboard, you can change or opt in and opt out of the focus plan as many times as you want.

In the app

To make changes

From the Protect time tab:

  1. Locate the Focus plan card beneath Protect your time.

  2. Select View focus plan preferences.

    Screenshot that shows the Focus plan card with the View plan preferences option

  3. On the preferences page, you can pick:

    • How many hours you want to spend focusing each day.

    • Whether you want to focus in the morning or afternoon.

    • The earliest you’d want Viva Insights to schedule focus time.

    • Whether you want reminders or to mute Teams notifications during your focus time.

      Screenshot that shows Focus plan preferences.

  4. After you're done making edits, select Save changes.

To leave

Select the Leave plan button at top right.

Screenshot that shows the Leave plan button.

Answer the survey question, then select Leave plan again.

In the dashboard

To make changes

  1. Select Plan configuration.

    Screenshot that shows the Plan configuration link.

  2. In the Protect time tab, configure your settings.

    Screenshot that shows focus time settings.

  3. After you indicate your preferences, select Save changes.

To leave

To have Viva Insights stop helping you book focus time, turn the toggle for Focus plan enabled from On to Off.

Screenshot that shows the toggle next to Focus plan enabled

Answer the survey question, then select Submit.

Concepts

The following sections provide information that can help you as you create or monitor focus plans.

Automatic booking of focus time

After you set automatic booking as your preference, Viva Insights starts looking for time on your Outlook calendar to set aside as focus time. The scheduled focus time shows in your calendar as a different color and is labeled "Focus time."

Focus time never creates a calendar conflict; that is, focus time will not be booked over any existing calendar event, such as all-day meetings, booked personal time, or appointments.

Although two hours is the maximum length of a focus-time block that can be scheduled automatically, you can extend your focus time, by hand, in your Outlook calendar.

Booking schedule

Viva Insights books focus time two weeks in advance. For example: when you open your calendar on a Monday, you should see focus time booked every day of the current week and all the way through the Friday of the following week. Each weekend it looks for time blocks in the next week out and books time accordingly.

How time slots are selected

The time it reserves for you depends on the time you have open during the day. Viva Insights starts its search at the beginning of your workday, as it is defined in your Outlook settings.

Viva Insights also respects the Do not schedule focus time earlier than setting in the Plan configuration dialog box. For example, if you set this to 9:00 AM, Viva Insights will select no focus-time slots that begin earlier than 9:00 AM.

Viva Insights also prioritizes your preferences for length of focus time slots and part of day (morning or afternoon). For example, if you choose four hours of focus time and choose afternoon, Viva Insights first scans your calendar to find four-hour open slots in the afternoon. If it finds no four-hour open slots in the afternoon, it continues to scan your calendar to find four-hour open slots in the morning. If only smaller amounts of time are available, it can book focus blocks as short as 30 minutes.

After it books a block on one day, it then moves on to the next day to find the next suitable block, based on your preferences. (In most cases, it creates only one block of focus time per day.)

Lunchtime

Viva Insights considers the time from noon to 1:00 PM as time for the midday meal. If you have automatic booking turned on, Viva Insights tries to book any other time of day first. If it finds no other blocks of time available, it will then book focus time during the lunchtime period.

Chats are muted during focus time

During focus time, your status in Teams and Skype for Business will automatically change to "Focusing" to silence chat notifications and help you stay focused. When the focus time appointment ends, your status will automatically revert back to the status you were previously in. Note that you can set priority contacts in Teams to ensure you don’t miss important messages during focus time.

For more information, see Manage notifications in Teams.

Digest emails and Viva Insights Outlook add-in

Focus plan digest

After you enroll in a focus plan, the content in your digest email will be tailored based on your participation in the plan. It might, for example, remind you to schedule focus time for days on which none is set aside.

Viva Insights add-in

You can open the Outlook add-in to check whether any upcoming days are missing focus time. To do so, use this card:

Add-in feed card.

Selecting this card shows the following options, with which you can book focus time on individual days or for several days at once:

Book focus time inline.

Calendar color settings

Note

Outlook no longer automatically shows focus time as green, or any other color, on the calendar.

If you want to personalize your focus time to show as a specific color, you can do that by using conditional formatting in the Outlook desktop app on Windows. Follow the steps below to create a new conditional formatting rule.

  1. From the calendar view, select the View tab > Current View > View Settings.

    Screenshot that shows navigating the View Settings option.

  2. Select the Conditional formatting button.

    Screenshot that shows the Conditional Formatting button highlighted in the Advanced View Settings dialog box.

  3. Select the Add button to create a new rule.

    Screenshot that shows the Add button highlighted in the Conditional Formatting dialog box.

  4. In the Conditional Formatting dialog box:

    1. Give your rule a name.
    2. Select the color you want focus time blocks to appear as.
    3. Select the Condition button.

    Screenshot that shows Name, Color, and Condition highlighted in the Conditional Formatting dialog box.

  5. In the Filter dialog box, add "Focus time" as your search term. Leave the In: field set to "subject field only."

    Screenshot that shows the search term field highlighted in the Filter dialog box.

  6. Select the OK button on each of the three dialog boxes. Your focus time blocks should now appear as the color you set in step 4.