Slack Hacks, So You Can Be More Productive

Slack Hacks, So You Can Be More Productive

If you’re one of the more than 12 million people who use Slack you are spending an average of 90 minutes every day using the app. That’s 45 hours spent in Slack every month. Are all of them spent being as productive as possible?

If you are being productive, you are doing three things:

  1. You finish a lot of tasks.
  2. Your work is of high quality.
  3. Everything is done in a timely manner so no time is wasted.

Slack is designed to make this happen but sometimes it can also be a huge time suck. Let’s look at some ways to make sure it’s helping, not hurting, your productivity.

1. Use shortcuts
Even a few seconds every day can add up to minutes over the months you spend on Slack. The Slack shortcuts menu adds those seconds and allow for time-saving when sending multiple messages per day. Here are some shortcuts to implement for efficiency:

  • Ctrl/Cmd + Shift + A - Browse all your unread messages
  • Shift + Ctrl/Cmd + S - View all your starred messages
  • Shift + Esc - Clear all unread messages
  • Ctrl/Cmd + F - Search through messages
  • Ctrl/Cmd + Shift + K - Go to direct messages
  • Esc - Mark every message in a channel or conversation as read
  • Alt + Shift + Up Arrow - Go to the next unread message or channel
  • Ctrl/Cmd + Shift + T - View all threads
  • Ctrl/Cmd + Shift + L - Browse all channels
  • Alt + Left/Right - Go through your channel history
  • Alt + Up/Down - Browse channels or direct messages
  • Alt + Right - Go to the next channel in your Slack History
  • Ctrl + Tab - Switch between teams in the desktop app
  • Ctrl/Cmd + , - Open your preferences in the desktop app
  • Ctrl/Cmd + Shift + Y - Set your status
  • Ctrl/Cmd U - Upload a file

It’s a crazy long list but you can copy it to a post-it on your desktop for later.

2. Format Messages Quickly
Formatting your messages makes them clear and easy to understand. It’s helpful to your team members. Two quick ways to do this are the formatting bar under the main text box or keyboard commands like Ctrl/Cmd + B for bold text and Ctrl/Cmd + I for Italics. Take a little extra time to send a well-made message and you can send one instead of four.

3. Sort Channels
If every department in the company and maybe every project as well has its own channel it may be overwhelming to keep up with all the conversations. To keep track of all the activity, sorting your channels in a way that keeps you from spending a lot of time just wandering around Slack is the solution.

Star those channels that you need to focus on. That way they will stay prominent on your channel list. Mute or archive those that you do not need to keep track of. Archiving will make them go away. And muting will still allow you to receive messages and notifications, but these channels appear at the bottom of the list. Regular leaves channels right where they are doing what they’ve always done. Good for channels that are not crucial but you need to keep aware of.

4. Pin, Save and Star Important Items
Pinning messages is an excellent way of making sure that all members of a channel see your message. It hopefully avoids having to answer the same question over and over again; saving time. To do this, hover over the message and click on the three dots to open the pop-up menu and select “Pin to Channel”.

Saving messages keeps you from having to go back and search for a message to get the information you need. Doing this also gives you reminders and gives you a to-do list on Slack. Your saved messages are only visible to you. Pinned messages are visible by everyone.

As we discussed above, starred channels prioritizes channels in your list. You do this by clicking the star icon under its name or right-click it and go to move channel>starred.

5. Use the Do Not Disturb Mode
While Slack is a tool, it can also be a distraction. Sometimes companies have social channels or threads that are less business-related. If you need to focus and want to make sure you don’t get sidetracked, use the Do Not Disturb to limit your Slack notifications.

It will pause notifications during whatever time period you designate. It can be 30 minutes or an hour during the work day or the weekend so you can maintain your work/life balance. There are lots of ways to use this tool!

Messages will still come in and you will get mentions in channels but they will get an option as to whether to notify you even though you have the DND on. So in case of an emergency you can still be reached.

6. Set Reminders
Slack will help you remember! You can use the “/remind me” followed by the reminder to make the reminder.

You can also create reminders for coworkers and channels.

  • “/remind @someone to do something” will remind a specific person
  • “/remind #general please do XYZ” will remind a channel.

You can also set them as recurring reminders in Slack channels. You can hover over a message and click on the three dots and click on “set a reminder” to have a reminder set for a message that is time sensitive.

To see all your reminders type “/reminder list”

7. Search Faster
If you’re using the desktop app, you can use the search bar at the top of the screen. Also Ctrl/Cmd + F works quickly.

Using the search function “in:[name of channel]” will limit your search to a specific channel which will make your search much more efficient. Other Slack search modifiers include:

  • From:[username] - will show you messages from a specific user in any channel.
  • Before: [date] and after:[date] - Modifiers that allow you to find messages from a specific date or time
  • On:[day/date/year] and during:[day/date/year] - for specific dates and ranges

8. Slash Command
Perform specific actions with Slack commands to speed your time through reading and sorting your messages and information.

  • /dm - sends a direct message to someone]
  • /collapse - collapse all the images and files in a channel
  • /expand - expands all the images and files in a channel
  • /me [text] - sends a message to a channel in italics
  • /msg [#channel] - Send a message to a channel
  • /mute - mutes all the messages in the channel
  • /invite [@username] [#channel] - invites a team member to a specific channel
  • /who - lists members of a channel
  • /topic - sets channel topic
  • /join [#channel] - join a channel
  • /leave [#channel] - leave a channel
  • /mute [#channel] - mute a channel
  • /away - toggles your away channel
  • /dnd [time] - starts do not disturb mode
  • /status - sets your status
  • /pref - opens the preferences menu
  • /shortcuts - opens the keyboard shortcuts menu
  • /search [keyword] - performs a search

9. Custom Statuses
Click on your profile image in the top right corner then on the update your status box. Then you can create your own status or use one created by your company. Depending on where you are using Slack, it will automatically give you a status after 30 minutes.

10. Slackbot Responses
If you find yourself answering the same questions over and over again, then Slackbot is your rescue! And it’s super simple. You set up trigger words or phrases and when they appear, the Slackbot will automatically send a reply. It’s like a Slack FAQ feature! So, if you constantly get questions about vacation time or holidays or login instructions, this is where Slackbot replies can be your best friend!

Here are the simple steps:

  1. Administration>Customize - You’ll go to the Customize your Workspace Screen.
  2. Click the Slackbot tab
  3. Click + Add New Response
  4. Type the trigger words in the “What someone says” box
  5. Type the response in the “Slackbox” box - The response can include anything.

11. Customize Notifications
You can filter what you get notified about. Choices between all new messages, direct messages, mentions and keywords or nothing!

You can also filter for particular topics, project names, customers and accounts. These are done in the keywords filter which is set up by going to preferences>notifications. You can enter any and all keywords you want to filter by. You can even use your name!

You can edit the schedule under which you receive notifications and you can modify the schedule for your different devices.

12. Use Emojis and Reactions
This might sound childish but used professionally these can really save time. How much quicker is it to hover over a message and choose a clapping emoji than take the time to type “congratulations”? May not seem like much, but it adds up! You can make it even faster by setting up one-click reactions by going to preferences>messages&media and then check the box that says “Show one-click reactions on messages”.

You can also use emojis to assign to documents to find them more quickly and to create polls.

13. Share Code with Snippets
For bug fixes or pieces of code used over and over, snippets are the way to go. Click the lightning bolt icon and select “Create a text snippet”. Give it a name, choose the programming language and add the code. You can add a message if necessary and then click “Create Snippet”.

14. Slack Integrations
Slack integrates with several other utility programs. If your company uses these and you haven’t synced them together, get that done! Utility is more efficient if it is all working in harmony. Here are some of the programs that Slack will work in conjunction with:

  • Google Calendar - Will automatically update your status in Slack and receive notifications from Slack.
  • Statsbot - Tracks Google Analytics
  • Zoom - It’s been our business lifeline for the last 18 months! Type /zoom in the slack channel and everyone can join the call.
  • Tettra - Create a knowledge base within Slack.
  • Zapier - It helps apps talk to each other better.
  • HubSpot - Track times and tasks

Now, don’t spend too much time using these tips to get more efficient with Slack!