Managing Slack

My work slack is very active, partly of the result of having both a healthy remote-working environment and partly because I work with awesome people. Recently, I’ve been trying to manage the level of attention Slack takes up in my day, because folks are chatty and my brain wants to keep up with everything. I’ve tried a couple things to manage the drain on my attention, with mixed success and finally found a good solution last week.

Muting/unmuting channels in groups

This turned out to be higher friction than I would have liked. I had to remember to switch them on and off and “unreads” doesn’t work the same when you have channel groups. When you mute a group and then unmute it, unread messages don’t reflect in “All unreads” and you have to click into each channel to read the messages. (Something that I’d like to see Slack improve on)

Quitting out of slack completely

I tried this when I needed to deep focus, allowing my phone notifications to ping me with @’s. But this proved cumbersome as well. I was getting pinged often enough that having to restart slack and then close it back down was a bad experience.

Turn off the “unread” indicator

Finally! A good solution! I turned off the little red “unread” indicator on my slack icon. I now only get a tag there if I have an @ mention. It’s made a big difference in my focus level. Turning off the indicator is zero friction and I can ignore slack unless I get @’d. When I pop in to check on my @’s, I can take a moment to get caught up on whatever chatter is going on and then minimize slack again and ignore it.