This Quick Hack Tamed My Slack Chaos

This Quick Hack Tamed My Slack Chaos

A few years ago we switched to using Slack for all internal communications in our company. I initiated the move - because i fricken hate email and think it's absolutely ineffective for internal communication.

It was a HUGE success. Everyone was now on the same page - people were having conversations together in channels - instead of one to one in emails.

But it bought with it one tiny problem... we were constantly being inundated with notifications all day long. And that hasn't let up moving to a work from home lifestyle - it's got worse.

I could easily get hundreds of Slack messages a day, I have over 20 channels to check, there is a lot going on. We try hard to keep it manageable. We have daily zoom standups were we save up non important things to ask each other which has eliminated some of the chaos.

But I have always had one thing that bugged me about Slack... there is nowhere to go and read recent messages. Like if I read an email it's still in my inbox. But if I read a message in a slack channel, say on my way home from the gym in the morning, and I don't act on it straight away.. it's gone.

Now, they've definitely improved this by adding the Mentions & Reactions tab at the top. But if I wasn't mentioned - that's no good to me.

So I needed another way to not miss things, or be able to find things that needed an action from me. I thought it might be helpful for anyone else who is also dealing with Slack chaos:

Step 1: Save Actionable Items

Throughout the day as I'm in Slack and messages come through that need a direct action from me that I can't do in less than 2 minutes, I hit the save 'bookmark' button. Immediately I know it's in a place where I can review later.


Step 2: Process Slack Into Your Quick Capture Task List

Towards the end of the day I go to my saved items and do a quick process. I transfer anything that I need to action into my quick capture task list (that i keep in notion). I also copy the Slack URL to that message and dump it into the task, so I can easily refer back for context.


Step 3: Process Your Quick Capture Into Your Permanent Tasks List

At the end of my day when I'm reviewing my day and preparing for the next one I process all the quick capture tasks (not just ones from Slack, but also ones that came up from meetings, in my head or emails) and either schedule them into my timeblocks or move them to upcoming weeks.

This process has seemed to work and I feel much more on top of my Slack game, less stressed because I'm trying to remember where all those messages are. Now if you don't want to do two process steps, you can easily just process the saved messages into your task list and tag them and assign projects, etc. I just find the quick capture works better and quicker for me until I can be in the frame of mind to review where and when I can get that particular task done.

If you're using Slack too, hopefully this can help calm some of the chaos. And if you have any more suggestions on how you can tame Slack, follow me on Twitter and let me know.

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