Slack is Killing Your Productivity

11 ways to make Slack your servant

Hyper-Responsiveness Compromises Deep Work

Users are spending over 10 hours a day logged onto Slack — that’s basically their entire workday. As a result, they’re suffering from hyper-responsiveness, perpetually glued to the app’s red notifications. Needless to say, this lends itself to anxiety and workplace stress as games of whac-a-mole ensue, compromising core priorities in the process.

Screen Switching Compromises Deep Work

Furthermore, people are switching screens or tasks once every 40 seconds — whether to email, Slack, social media, some other app often masquerading as a work tool, or between Slack conversations and channels themselves.

Decision Fatigue Compromises Energy and Decision-Making

People are suffering from decision fatigue as they sift through hundreds of messages a day, determining what is valuable and what they need to respond to — many of which aren’t directly or even remotely related to their work.

1. Create and foster a culture that practices asynchronous communication and prioritizes deep work

This is numero uno.

2. Turn off notifications

Having built such a culture, you should have no qualms about turning off notifications for periods of the day, if not the entire day.

3. Batch your use of Slack and log off for periods of the day

In addition to turning off notifications, consider logging out of Slack for periods of the day that you have assigned to deep, focused work.

4. Use the Must-Read plugin

Get notified and notify your colleagues of the messages that are absolutely must-read, and spare the world of the need to sift through hundreds of other messages.

5. Use Meekan to set up meetings within Slack

Avoid the back-and-forth of setting up meetings, and leverage the Meekan plugin, which integrates with calendars, to set up meetings within Slack at a time that suits both or more parties.

6. Run your standups via Slack

People often complain that their daily standups have devolved into chores that don’t serve much purpose.

7. Leverage reporting plugins

Consolidate key information within Slack and avoid switching screens. Consider integrations for project management tool such as Monday, Zapier, Trello, Google Analytics, Zoom, JIRA, and others.

8. Get on the phone

When it appears your Slack messaging is going back and forth like a 5-set finale at Wimbledon, often a quick phone call might quickly resolve what might otherwise devolve into a 60-minute message exchange.

9. Learn how to write asynchronous messages

Ensure that asynchronous messages:

  • provide a due date
  • provide a path of recourse if the recipient is unable to meet your requirements.

10. Don’t send messages for the sake of it

The more you send, the more you’ll receive — this is almost a universal law of nature.

11. Keep team and channel sizes small

If you’ve got hundreds of people in your channels, then chances are the number of messages in said channels will be in the thousands. By keeping team and channel sizes small, we can limit the number of messages being sent and received.

Final Thoughts

Let’s not confuse the means to an end with an end in itself. Tools like email and Slack are supposed to support us in our goals, and when they get between us and our goals we should stop, reflect, and course correct.

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Founder: Collective Campus, Host: Future Squared, Author: Time Rich & Employee to Entrepreneur. Clubhouse: @steveglaveski Visit: #MELB

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