Slack is great, but it gets really rowdy as your team grows. I’ve compiled a list of useful settings and features to keep you from drowning in Slacktivity.
As Praqma is steadily growing, some of my wonderful colleagues have had trouble keeping up with the increased activity on Slack. They struggled to find relevant information amidst the chaos, and grew frustrated by the constant stream of notifications. I made this little list to help them, and decided to share it with the rest of the world.
Sane Slack settings
There are many useful settings tucked away in Slack’s preferences. After just a quick dive through them, you’ll notice sizable improvements.
Disable irrelevant notifications
First things first, tick
Only direct messages and highlight words under the
This will stop Slack from bombarding you with notifications whenever anyone says anything.
I’ve no clue why this isn’t the default option.
Minimize on-screen clutter
Head over to the
Messages & Media menu, it contains handy settings to keep your chat crisp and clean.
I highly recommend using the
Compact theme and unticking both
Show text previews of linked websites and
Display information about who is currently typing a message.
You can also disable images if you’re a real fuddy-duddy.
Disable animated images
Not a personal favourite, but some people simply don’t enjoy cat GIFs or the (in)famous
party parrot emoji.
If you are one of them, head over to the
Accessibility menu and untick
Allow animated images and emoji.
It’s also worth mentioning that animated images can cause high memory consumption on some platforms.
Taming the sidebar
The sidebar gives a great overview of team activity, but it scales like crap with the default settings. The following points tame it to only display what you’re interested in.
Note: Use the
Jump to conversation shortcut (
ctrl + K/
⌘ + K) to easily jump around (unlisted) channels.
Listing what matters
I highly recommend changing the
Channel List option to
My unreads, along with everything I've starred.
This cuts your listed channels down to a minimum, while keeping quick access to whatever you’ve starred.
Starring the important
Go through your favourite channels and direct messages, star those you want quick access to. They will show up in their own separate category. You’ll find the star button near the channel name.
Muting the unimportant
Mute low-priority channels. A muted channel is greyed out, listed at the very bottom and doesn’t send notifications.
Click the mute button in the channel settings, or simply write
/mute in the channel.
Leaving the irrelevant
If you’re not interested in a specific channel, just leave it, you can always come back later.
A channel you’ve left will never show up in the sidebar or send you notifications.
Click the leave button in the channel settings, or simply write
/leave in the channel.
Snooze it or lose it
When you’re in the zone or about to crack down on a tough task, snooze notifications for a while. This prevents interruptions from all but the most annoying colleagues. You can find the snooze options by clicking the bell icon near your name in the top left.
Don’t bother @everyone
Slack is great for making announcements, but avoid using
Only use it if the announcement is urgent and reactions have a time constraint.
Think ten seconds to decide if an announcement is urgent enough, then think another ten before shattering everyone’s concentration.
Slack integrates well with Trello, Jenkins, GitHub and many other platforms. While funneling information on builds and issues to Slack sounds like a great idea, they often swamp channels with noisy updates. Keep your integration count low and place noisy bots in separate channels.
Got a grip?
A customized side bar and total control over Slack’s bleeps and bloops, not bad! Now you can kick back and enjoy this great collaboration tool in all its glory.
I decided to leave out many tips to keep the post concise, but if I missed out on a big one, let me know in the comments!