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:
You finish a lot of tasks.
Your work is of high quality.
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
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
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
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.
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:
Administration>Customize - You’ll go to the Customize your Workspace Screen.
Click the Slackbot tab
Click + Add New Response
Type the trigger words in the “What someone says” box
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
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
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
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!