Improve Focus Score: Customize App Ratings / Choose which apps are distracting or productive

Make it so Ibooks affects your score positively instead of negatively?

I agree that it’s super important to be able to customize focus ratings for apps. I think the current algorithm is a great baseline, but sometimes it’s always gonna be wrong about certain apps and users should be able to override that.

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Spotify is an app that helps me to focus during the day by listening to music

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Agreed. I’m personally not motivated by the leaderboard (everyone I see has 24 hours focus :face_with_raised_eyebrow:) but I may be an outlier in that Messages are crucial to my work.

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I agree on the last point, in it’s current state the leaderboard does nothing for me and just takes up space. That space could be better used by showing me some kind of improvements of my own focus over the last two weeks, or recommending updates to my block lists.

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copying this over from Customize limits for hard working people - #2 by kenneth

Finally, not all of my screen time is a waste of time. A lot of it is spent doing things like googling, translating, testing apps, working on my Twitter/LinkedIn account, or emailing investors. I don’t know how to track that, but it’s important for me not to waste as much time as the statistics show

Agree—I’m learning French, this should be considered productive. What does the roadmap look like for updates here? Not going to pay for an annual subscription until this feature ships, otherwise the score is useless.

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Adding from a customer support ticket

Very happy with the app from my few days of using it. It think this will be the best app I have downloaded in a long time. One thing that I think would improve the app would be to allow the user to determine if an app is positive or negative productivity. That way I could make something like my duolingo app a positive score rather than a neutral or a negative one.

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Another support ticket

The biggest feature request I have is giving users flexibility to categorize apps based on how they could effect the score. For example, I spend 30 min every day using Pimsleur to learn French and that shouldn’t drop the score (according to my use-case). This could go a step further (not necessary though), and be able to customize this based on the session or grouping. For example, if I’m using Slack during my “Work” session, this could* be productive and therefore not negatively impact my score, but if I’m using it during my “No Work” session, then this should count against my score, etc.

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I’ll pile on here about how important this is. At the moment I’m looking for a job, and LinkedIn is being categorized as -1 on the focus scale, when it’s actually the opposite.
Fundamentally, there is just no way to have a non-customizable focus score that will make any sense. One persons distraction is another’s literal JOB.

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I think that the best possible vision for this app is that it is your productivity coach.

It has an amazing ability to institute blocks that previously were not possible on iOS. I think that improving those features is a huge quick win. Making it easier for the user to create groups for blocking (like being able to copy other groups, having templates to make it easier to create good blocking groups, giving users more options on what they have to do to cancel the session, etc.) would improve on the core functionality of the app.

But long-term, I think that the focus score could be something really powerful. Right now, it’s slightly useful for me because I can check in on when I’m on my phone too much.

But it’s not actually a reflection of how focused I am. It doesn’t take into account what I’m doing on my computer, and it basically treats all phone use as bad.

enabling users to customize the focus rating for each app is a necessary step, but even if that were possible, motherfuckers whore would still be at best a reflection of how focused I am on my phone.

Comparing me to other users is not super useful for me because right now I’m just comparing myself against people who don’t really use their phone. It doesn’t mean they’re more focused or effective.

So I guess what I’m saying is that I don’t think the community element is a great use of developer time. I don’t think it adds a ton of value to the user.

In the medium term, I think it would be fantastic to be able to show the user what apps are breaking their focus, and basically suggesting blocks to the user. Like saying that if you block this app and that app at this time, it’s likely to prevent you from losing a ton of focus.

That would have a significant value add even before integrating with computer app use.

But long-term, I think ideally this app would also track usage and focus on the computer as well as the phone.

If you do that, there are some amazing features that you could implement. Things like, I am notifying a user when they are going down a rabbit hole or getting distracted. Suggesting a good time for a user to put in a block and do a deep focus session, because the data shows that is that user has a focus session at that time, they’ll be more productive for the rest of the day

So that’s what I’m talking about when I say that the long-term vision could be a productivity coach

There are a lot of apps that try to do this. I’ve personally tried Rescue time and Rize, Neither does any of this effectively.

Obviously to implement this vision you would probably need to use AI. I don’t know if that’s some thing that you guys have the developers for, but if you do I really think that a product like this could be insanely useful

To sum up, I think that the best feature is you could add in the short term are things that make it easier for the user to create blocks. In the medium term, I think the best features would help the user understand what apps are making them lose focus, what patterns are emerging on their phone usage, and how they could be more productive. Like what interventions, focus sessions, and blocks they could use. Long-term, I think that it makes sense to try to pull in data from all the users’ devices and do use AI to help people get nudged in the right direction to be more productive and understand which patterns lead to productive days.

Anyway, sorry if that’s too grandiose. I just wanted to put out what I think it would be an amazing direction for this app. It would be something I would pay a lot of money for

But even now the block features are pretty damn good and I’m loving the app very much! Thanks for making it!

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Same. I cleaned the garage for several hours yesterday while listening to Spotify, and today went “I bet my focus score was pretty good yesterday, I didn’t touch my phone for several hours” and nope. Abysmal because Spotify was playing. Which was disappointing. I’d love to choose some apps as focus-positives or neutrals.

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Short term fix: We just made Spotify (and other popular Music apps) neutral for Focus score so this won’t happen after our next update. Thank you for sharing!

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Dan, this is really aligned with our vision. Really love your ideas and how you articulated them.

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I agree with this! Safari I think is also marked unproductive, and so are Messages, Slack and GroupMe, all of which I use for school and work communication. Audiobooks (Libby and Audible), music, photos, and my watch settings app are all marked unproductive. This makes me think that the score is rather inaccurate for how productive I am feeling.

I feel like being able to customize which apps are unproductive vs productive for you individually would be very helpful!

For example, I have a virtual aquarium app that is a “game” but I find to be very relaxing and helps me to decompress. Also, since I’m autistic sometimes games on my phone are a very helpful way of regulating when I feel overwhelmed.

I’m glad to hear that that was useful in some way.

This might be presumptuous, but Im a software/ML engineer, now working on a couple of my own AI product ideas. If you already have AI talent on your team, I’m sure you’re totally fine. But if you don’t, I know how hard it can be to come up with an AI strategy / build an AI team. I have some practical ideas for how you could implement some of this. I’d be happy to talk with you if you think that would be useful. Absolutely no pressure whatsoever of course :).

I think you should be able to set some apps which are used for focus such as study aids. This should not impact your focus levels and instead show you are on task

Hello!

I love this app, it has helped me tremendously with my ADHD. One suggestion, could we allow unlimited use of certain apps without the screen time being affected? I drive 6-8 hours a day and use my phones GPS. My screen time is always so high because of this and I’ve never been able to get an accurate number.

Thanks!

Maggie

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I 100% agree with this thread
The focus score at the moment is not accurate. We should definitely be allowed to at the very least omit some apps from the Focus Score, or even better, set some apps as ‘productive’, and possibly remove some apps from the ‘productivity’ tab as well (e.g., Mail is considered productive but I actually kind of want to cut down on the time I read emails).

One of the biggest issues with the built-in Screen Time app is that the app categories aren’t accurate at all, and also counts all screen time indiscriminately, productive or not, so there is huge potential in the app to fix this problem by allowing users to adjust the app categories/productive score themselves. Otherwise the focus score is just a fancier but just as inaccurate version of the ‘total screen time’ counter on the Screen Time app.

I want this feature so much that I made an acc just to write this here

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I agree particularly with the folks requesting that we custom-assign which apps are productive and which aren’t. There’s never going to be an app or site that you can safely universally call “unproductive” for everyone.

Twitter or Facebook—maybe the user is a business’s social media manager and posting & engaging with customers is their job, and they use Opal to not listen to podcasts & watch Youtube during work hours.

Podcasts & Youtube—maybe the user is a college student whose professors post class lectures as podcasts or videos, and they use Opal to not get distracted by phone games while studying.

Games—maybe the user writes indie game reviews, and they use Opal to not get distracted by Facebook/Twitter when they’re trying to analyze a new mobile game release.

Even something as obvious as “adult sites”—maybe it’s a nonprofit reaching out to sex workers. Productivity is relative.

Right now, the only thing my focus score tells me is when I’m using my phone. It doesn’t tell me how focused I am.

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