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How to use 'Do not disturb' schedules in Google Chat

If you're a Google Chat user, and you want to prevent your contacts from interrupting you at specific times, try this handy feature.
Written by Jack Wallen, Contributing Writer
Reviewed by Min Shin
Person typing on laptop
d3sign/Getty Images

I don't use Google Chat much. But for those contacts that do communicate with me via Google's service, I've found that (thanks to differing time zones), it can quickly become an issue when I'm either off the clock or need to be focused on a particular writing task. 

Also: How to let the right people reach you even when you're on Do Not Disturb 

Anyone who makes a living writing words understands. You get into a flow and every time there's an interruption, it can take time to get back into that groove. When that happens consistently, not only does it take more time to complete whatever it is you're writing, you run the risk of a jarring narrative. It happens to me daily. Between my wife, my cats, and (yes) Google Chat, I have to excerpt considerable effort to stay focused during those times of intense concentration.

Once that concentration is blown, I know it's going to take me some time to get back into the flow.

Also: How to send large files in Gmail -- up to 10GB!

That's why I've started using Google Chat's Do not disturb schedules. One way I use this feature is by creating Do not disturb schedules for those times of the day when I know my concentration is more easily broken (for example, from 7 a.m. to 8 a.m. and 2 p.m. to 3 p.m. Those are the times during the day when I'm either just ramping up or my brain is starting to get a bit weary of banging out words. To that end, I set DND schedules for those periods to ensure no one can pull me out of my flow.

How do you do it? Let me show you.

How to create 'Do not disturb' schedules in Google Chat

What you'll need: The only things you'll need for this are a valid Google account and a web browser. That's it. Let's get to work.

1. Open Gmail Settings

The first thing to do is open the Gmail Settings window. 

Also: How to set Gmail app notifications so you never miss an email

To do that, open Gmail in your browser, click the gear icon in the upper right corner, and then click See all settings from the popup menu.

The Gmail gear icon drop-down menu.

The Google Chat settings are accessed via the Gmail Settings menu.

Jack Wallen/ZDNET

2. Go to Chat Settings

In the resulting window, click the Chat and Meet tab and then click Manage chat settings.

The Manage Chat Settings button in the Gmail Settings window.

You can also access the Google Meet settings window from here.

Jack Wallen/ZDNET

3. Create a custom Do not disturb schedule

Scroll down until you see the Do not disturb schedules section and click Create new.

The Do not disturb schedule listing for Google Chat.

By default, you'll find two pre-configured Do not disturb schedules you can immediately enable.

Jack Wallen/ZDNET

4. Add your first schedule

In the popup window, select a start and finish time for this first schedule and then select the days for which you want the schedule applied. By default, every day will be selected. 

Also: How to create multiple Google Calendars (and why you should)

Once you've created the first schedule, click Save and you'll be taken back to the Do not disturb schedules section.

The Google Chat new schedule popup.

You can create a Do not disturb schedule for a single day, multiple days, or the entire week.

Jack Wallen/ZDNET

5. Continue creating custom schedules as needed

Continue creating custom schedules until you're satisfied. Make sure each of your new schedules is enabled and you're done.

Google Chat Do not disturb schedules enabled.

My custom Google Chat Do not disturb schedules.

Jack Wallen/ZDNET

With your new Do not disturb schedules configured, you can be sure no one will interrupt you during those periods. 

Also: How to quickly search Google Calendar for past or future events

I've found this feature to be invaluable to keep me focused (especially during those times when I need the most help). 

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