When Apple announced Focus Mode as part of the suite of updates coming to iOS 15 at least year’s WWDC it was seen as a work life balance tool, helping separate work time from home time intelligently. I loved it, but then tired of it automatically switching to work mode and restricting some notifications. But now I’ve fallen back in love again, creating my own ‘Holiday” mode on a recent family break and boy – was it powerful.

Taking a week off is a great feeling, a family trip, a flight, new place to stay and new adventures.

But even the best placed Out of Office email won’t stop your phone beeping and buzzing because not everyone is on holidays.

So leading into our break, I chose to setup an all-new Focus Mode on my phone.

I think creating your own is the smartest way to do it, because it allows you to make clear decisions about what you want happening on your phone.

From my experience, there are three keys to making a Focus mode work.

First, choose WHO you want all notifications from, this means calls, texts and emails from these people will appear as notifications. Importantly, I should note, this doesn’t work in third party apps, like WhatsApp.

Next, which apps do you want notifications from.

In my case, this was easy. Arlo – for my security alerts at home when I’m away. EFTM because hey, never miss a story, Flighty because it’s all my travel info and it’s amazing, MLB app because I need to know when the Dodgers play, and WhatsApp because it’s how my family communicate.

Tip, for WhatsApp users, slide across on any group chat and MUTE that conversation for a week – means those threads are still there, but you can read them at your leisure instead of getting every notification.

Finally, phone calls. I chose to allow calls from people in my contact list. Sorry, but if I haven’t saved your number, you can send me a text – and I’ll see that when I open the messages app – not when you send it:)

Add a cool icon, turn the mode on, and you’re ready to take a break.

Honestly, it was a game-changer. I’m going to turn it into my “Weekend” mode, and have it turn on every Friday at 6pm and turn off on Monday morning – because hey, the weekends can be holidays too!