Windows 11’s Clock app has a “focus session” feature, which is essentially a built-in Pomodoro timer. The Pomodoro time management technique is a popular method for maintaining productive focus, and now Windows 11 users can try it without any third-party software.
The 5-Step Pomodoro Method
Pomodoro means “tomato” in Italian and the name comes from the tomato-shaped kitchen timer used by the method’s creator Francesco Cirillo. A focus session is similar to a “Pomodoro” and the technique uses a fixed cycle:
- Set a task for yourself.
- Set a timer on the clock. The traditional Pomodoro focus session is 25-minutes long.
- Work until the timer goes off.
- Set a five-minute timer and relax until it runs out.
After every four Pomodoros, set a longer break: Usually, 15 to 30 minutes. Many people find that, by following this alternating work and break method, they’re always sharp and productive and avoid burnout and fatigue. It’s also probably a good thing to get up and stretch a bit every 25 minutes!
How To Set a Pomodoro in Windows 11
To get your Pomodoro sessions going, open the Windows 11 Start Menu and look for “Clock” under the pinned items. You may have to scroll down if you have too many. Alternatively, you can type “Clock” in the search bar and open the app when it appears in the result.
Once the Clock app is open, select Focus Session in the lefthand sidebar. You’ll see four subsections:
- The focus session widget, where you can set the length of the session.
- A Tasks section, which is integrated with Microsoft To Do.
- A daily progress meter, to show how many sessions you’ve completed.
- A Spotify widget, to access focus-based music playlists synced to your clock.
To set a session length, click the up or down arrows on the timer. One drawback of the Focus Session timer is that it doesn’t have the classic 25-minute Pomodoro length. However, if you set it to 45 minutes, you’ll get two 20-minute sessions with a five-minute break in-between. If you set it to 135 minutes, you’ll have 23-minute sessions with five-minute breaks, which is pretty close to Pomodoro!
Once you’ve set your desired session length, click the Start focus session button and get to work!
Customizing Focus Sessions
The basic focus sessions functionality is straightforward to use, but you can get even more from it by digging into the customization options. To start, click on the three dots at the top-right corner of the timer widget and select “View Settings.”
Here, you can change cosmetic aspects of the timer, remove widgets you don’t want, and modify the various sounds that signal when things are starting or ending.
The most important option here, however, is the focus period section. Click the dropdown and you can set how long the focus and break periods should be.
So if you prefer a 15-minute break to a five-minute one, you can specify that here. Now you’re ready to get productive!
And, with Tasks integration courtesy of Microsoft To Do, you can even choose tasks to accomplish during your focus session—and check them off when you’re finished.