1. Create Action Lists with Reminders
We all know Slack’s usefulness as a communication platform, but it can also help with personal and team productivity.
Why is productivity so important?
A productive workforce is one which makes meaningful progress on projects day after day. That’s why focusing on maximizing productivity is a great idea for building momentum and hitting company goals.
How can Slack help?
With a simple command: /remind
This command allows you to set up Slackbot reminders, which you can use to prompt certain actions or remind you of upcoming events. If you use this feature well, you can create action lists and make sure you execute each action item in a timely fashion.
Better still, you can combine the reminders with various hashtags and channels in Slack so you can keep your team updated on the latest.
All you have to do is use the following formula:
/remind + (your task)
For example, here’s one you might set up if you lead a marketing team:
/remind #marketingteam to make a social media post about the latest article by EOD Wednesday
To schedule the reminder for a future date, use the following format: MM/DD/YYYY
Forgotten which reminders you have and haven’t already scheduled?
No problem, the following command will show all reminders you’ve set up:
2. Expand and Collapse Files
Here’s a quick tip that could save you a lot of time.
The next time you find yourself on a quest to track down important information in Slack, don’t try and filter through all the GIFs and multimedia posts.
Use the following commands to block out the excess white noise:
The former will open up all the multimedia messages while the latter will tidy them up so you can sift through the text messages alone.
- Use Keyboard Shortcuts
Do you remember life before you knew about ‘ctrl C’ and ‘ctrl V’ (‘cmd-c’ and ‘cmd-v’ for Mac users)?
Manually right-clicking everything you wanted to copy and paste was time-consuming and unnecessary.
What if we were to tell you that Slack has its own keyboard shortcuts?
Well, it does, and you should learn them ASAP if you want to start saving time today. If you feel like it’s too much effort to learn all the shortcuts, apply the 80/20 principle to single out your most-used functions in Slack.
Here are three of the most important keyboard shortcuts in Slack:
Start a new message - Ctrl/Cmd + N
Upload a file - Ctrl/Cmd + U
Start a search - Ctrl/Cmd + G
Check out Slack’s keyboard shortcut list for more corner-cutting commands.
4. Organize Channels
Channels are the best way of organizing project or team-specific communication in Slack, yet if you don’t stay on top of them, they can soon become overwhelming.
All of a sudden you can find yourself on the receiving end of a torrent of notifications and messages flooding in from all directions. Too many unorganized channels make it nigh-on impossible to find important information in a hurry.
There are three ways you can organize your Slack Channels for optimal communication:
Identify Important Channels - ‘Star’ your most important channels so you don’t lose track of them.
Mute When Necessary - You don’t need to be up to date with every Slack channel, so feel free to mute those which are less important.
Create Custom Sections - Group your channels in a way that makes sense to you with custom sections.
5. Pin High-Priority Tasks
It may sound obvious, but if you’re prone to procrastinating important and urgent tasks (aren’t we all?) then it’s a good idea to pin them.
When you pin high-priority tasks, they take center stage and remain visible even when you and your coworkers go down a GIF rabbit hole.
Pinning messages isn’t just effective for personal productivity, but it can help the team stay focussed on a particular task or project and serve as a daily reminder.
Top Tip: Use a work time log to make sure team members are spending enough time on high-priority tasks. Project hours trackers can give you a clear idea of where your team members’ time is being spent.
6. Activate ‘Do Not Disturb’ to Focus
Let’s be honest: sometimes Slack can be overwhelming.
You boot up your computer, and rather than getting into the zone with your work you’re confronted with a multitude of Slack messages.
The worst part is that we're wired to receive a dopamine hit when we see notifications or messages so they’re almost impossible to ignore.
To ensure Slack takes up less of your cognitive energy, don’t be afraid to use the ‘do not disturb’ function to guarantee several hours of real, uninterrupted concentration.
Here’s how to activate ‘do not disturb’ mode:
- Click on your profile photo
- Click ‘pause notifications’
- Set the amount of time you want to activate it
7. Search with the Advanced Filter
As you might have picked up on by now, a lot of these hacks either help you block out distractions in Slack or make it easier to find important information.
This tip falls into the latter category.
The advanced search feature is underutilized but helps you cut through the noise and locate specific information quickly.
There are various types of advanced search commands you can use depending on what you’re trying to find.
Here are some examples:
From:username - Narrows search criteria to messages only from one user
Has:link - Lets you search any posts with a specific link
Before: - Allows you to find information that was posted before a certain time e.g ‘yesterday’ or ‘today’
In:channelname - Lets you confine the search to one channel
8. Implement Integrations to Add Functions
Slack by itself is an excellent tool for communication, but combined with other apps, it can become a hub for seamless project management.
There are 19 categories of integrations and more than 2,400 apps compatible with Slack. If you already use several solutions, adding them as integrations keeps tab-switching to a minimum and helps you cut back on work about work.
Here are some of the top integrations to use with Slack:
- Google Calendar - Sync your schedule and event reminders with your or your team’s Google calendar.
- Zoom - Set up video calls whenever you need to share detailed information or check in.
- Simple Poll - Collect feedback and opinions from your team with polls.
- Zapier - Automate functions to save time.
- Loom - Record short tutorial videos and post them in relevant channels.
You can also use third-party employee tracking solutions such as Insightful for a comprehensive view of how your team members spend their time.
9. Set Up Keyword Notifications
There are times when you want to stay tuned to specific developments with various tasks and projects. In these cases, wading through a sea of channel messages just won’t cut it.
Instead, what you can do is set up notifications for a particular word or phrase so that every time someone writes it, you’ll know about it.
For example, if you want to stay on top of blog posts, you can set up notifications for ‘blog post’ or ‘article’.
Here’s how you can set up keyword notifications:
- Click your name
- Select ‘preferences’ from the drop-down menu
- Click ‘Notification Settings’ and then ‘Highlight Words’
- Enter the word or phrase in the text box that comes up
10. Bring up Channels with the Quick Switcher
If you’re short on time and you’re a member of many Slack channels, the best way to navigate to channels is by using the Quick Switcher.
To pull it up, use the following command:
Cmd/Ctrl + K
This will bring up a text box which you can use to type in the name of the channel you want to access.