Let's face it, occasionally you just need some time to focus. Circle lets you easily cut out distractions with the Focus Time feature. Note: This feature is not available for Circle 1st generation.
What's Focus Time?
Focus Time allows you to set up customized times during the day with limited or no Internet distractions, where only selected apps and websites are allowed while all other apps and websites are filtered by Circle. This allows you to schedule time with the family, school or homework time, or maybe time to work where you have no Internet or limited access to just selected apps and websites so that you can Focus on what's important.
What's an example of using Focus Time?
What if your family has decided to make dinner times Internet free three nights a week? One hour of time for everyone to discuss how their week is going and get to know each other better with real conversations involving eye-contact.
Using Focus Time, you can setup a time every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday between 5:30-6:30 pm where the Internet is paused. This way you can focus on reconnecting with your family in real life.
Let's say you want to make sure Johnny is doing his homework. He needs to use Wikipedia and his email to do so. While he works on homework, he likes to listen to Spotify. Normally, Johnny might get a little distracted with some online games, but with Focus Time all his online games like Roblox or Minecraft are blocked while he still has full access to Education sites, Wikipedia, email, and Spotify.
Using Focus Time, you set up a time each weekday between 3-5 pm where only the Education and Email categories are allowed, along with Wikipedia and Spotify. Johnny gets to spend as much time on those sites as he wants to do homework, that time gets tracked in his Usage, and no other sites will load on his devices during the specific time.
Note: Apps and Categories not selected when you set up a Focus Time will not load during that time period.
What should I know about Focus Times?
- Focus Times are meant to help your family focus online and off.
Only the apps, sites, or categories of sites you add to a Focus Time will be available during that time period. All other apps and sites will be blocked during that time. If you don't allow any apps or categories, the Internet will be paused for that time.
- By default, Focus Time sets school related websites as allowed.
New Focus Times you create will set the following as allowed (checked) to make sure those are available for school work: the Education, Email, Science and Technology, and Search & Reference categories, along with the Google Drive and Zoom apps.
- You can add any number of apps, sites, or categories to a Focus time to allow them during that time period.
To add those, edit the Focus Time for your profile and add them to the Focus Time list.
- Apps or sites used during a Focus Time will appear in Usage as "Focus Time".
These sites won't count against any Time Limits for the profile. You can see which sites were loaded during the Focus Time from the profile's Usage section.
How do I set up a Focus Time?
You set up a Focus Time from the Profile screen in the Circle app.
- Open the Circle app and tap on the profile you want to adjust.
- Tap Focus Time.
- Create a Focus Time by tapping the plus sign (+) in the upper right hand corner.
- If you have already created a Focus Time on another profile you will be asked if you want to create a new Focus Time or copy an existing Focus Time.
- Give your Focus Time a name, set up days, start and end times.
- Set the Allow apps & websites toggle off for an Internet free time, or on to choose what to allow during this Focus Time.
- If you allow apps and websites, you can adjust the default list of apps and websites, and Tap Add more apps & websites to add more apps or categories for the Focus Time.
- When you have finished creating your Focus Time, tap Done.
How do I add other apps or categories to a Focus Time?
By default, a new Focus Time will set the following as allowed (checked) to make sure those are available for school work: the Education, Email, Science and Technology, and Search & Reference categories, along with the Google Drive and Zoom apps.
You can add other apps or categories to the Focus Time to make sure they are available during that time period. To do so, edit the Focus Time and then tap on Add more apps & websites.
Under each tab, we list Apps, Categories of sites, or the Custom Sites for your Focus Time. Find an app to add by searching for it, then tap the + button to add that to the Focus Time list of allowed sites. During the Focus Time any checked apps, categories of sites, or custom sites will be allowed and all others will be blocked.
How do I edit a Focus Time?
You can edit any current Focus Time from the profile screen.
- Open the Circle app and tap on the profile you want to edit a Focus Time for.
- Tap Focus Time.
- Tap on the Focus Time you'd like to edit.
- Make your changes and then tap Done to save your changes.
Note: You can make a Focus Time Internet-free by opening the Focus Time then toggling the Allow apps & websites off and tapping Done. You can also delete the Focus Time by tapping Delete.
How do I add sites to a Focus Time from History/Usage?
You can add almost any site to your Focus Times from History or Usage. This will allow that site during the Focus Time and is helpful if you see that the site is appearing under the History >> Filtered section but should be loading during the Focus Time.
Image: adding a site like play.googleapis.com to a Focus Time
To add a site from History to your Focus Time:
- Open the Circle app and tap on the profile you want to edit.
- Tap History.
- Tap Filtered or Visited.
- Tap the site you'd like to add to your Focus Time.
- Tap Add to Focus Time.
- Select the Focus Time where you'd like that site added.
What does Focus Time look like in Usage?
During a Focus Time only the sites you set to allowed will load for devices assigned to the profile. When these sites are loaded they will appear under the profile's Usage as the category of Focus Time so you can track what was opened during that Focus Time. To view what was used tap on the profile, tap on Usage, then tap on the arrow next to Focus Time.
Note: use of these sites during a Focus Time will not count towards the Profile's Time Limits.
Issues Loading a Site During Focus Time
If you're having trouble loading a site that should be allowed during a Focus Time, you can add those to the Focus Time to stop them from being blocked. This will make those sites always available during the Focus Time.
The History >> Filtered section of the profile will show you what sites were being blocked during a Focus Time. You can view that section by opening the Circle app, tapping the profile with this loading issue, tapping History and then on Filtered. From that section you can add sites to your profile's Focus Time by tapping them and selecting "Add to Focus Time" to make them available. You may need to add multiple sites, or add certain categories of sites to make those available.
Instructions for adding sites from History >> Filtered to a Focus Time are available above under the "How do I add sites to a Focus Time from History/Usage?" section. You can see how to add categories of sites to a Focus Time under the "How do I add other apps or categories for a Focus Time?" section above.