Pickin’ Up the Slack

Don’t let productivity tools slow down your productivity

At Leverage, we are constantly optimizing. We aren’t just using and customizing the latest new tech, but deeply exploring more efficient and clever ways to use what we have as effectively as possible. We feel it’s our duty to to test and perfect these models in order to equip you — our clients and community — with the right information.

Each tool we use, whether it’s email or something like Slack or Trello, is only as good as the way we use it. Email can be a great tool, IF it is used effectively. Same rule applies to Slack. It can be one of your biggest productivity boosters, or productivity killers, if you let it.

We are huge advocates for Slack and use it daily for keeping in touch with our team that spans across 16 different countries. Considering our heavy use and integrations, we would estimate that we were in the top 1% of users, yet we weren’t even close to optimizing it — until now.

Steps to optimization

Check your security settings

Only admins should have the ability to create a new channel. This helps manage how many channels are active and useful, rather than allowing it to get out of control. To put this into monetary terms, we had 30 people in an “offboarding” channel when this only needed 3 key team members. A few weeks ago we were having a conversation about offboarding a team member and the conversation went out of control and took 30 min. Now if it were just the 3 key people that did this it would be fine, but when you have 27 unnecessary people wasting their time…it can be a significant cost. If, say on average, I pay people $30/hr, then 30 min of wasted time times 27 people = $405 of pure waste for that one conversation!

You’ll notice in the screen grab that there’s a lock symbol next to the channel names. This setting ensures that only admins and owners have control of the channel.

Create naming conventions

Once you have an idea of what channels you need, you can create a naming convention to make them easily searchable by department. In this image you’ll see an example of our channels — anything with a 0 is first since they are task related and most frequently used. Then we get to onboarding, HR, marketing and several others after these.

Muting and snoozing

If you have alerts set for every public message to push a notification to your phone or desktop, you might end up getting a ping every few minutes. This is a BIG part of the communication tool that can lead to hurting your productivity. In order to not get sidetracked you can mute your notifications when you need your laser-focused attention on a project, or snooze them to let members know you’re out of the “office” — even if it’s a virtual office like ours. — by setting the do not disturb parameters. You can also choose to only get push notifications when you are directly mentioned, as pictured below.

Integrate to keep it all in one place

Slack has all sorts of integrations — for instance if you use intercom as a CRM, you can receive your inbox directly to a slack channel. You can also have your calendar show up as an automated reminder for a date and time of weekly meetings, or even type “/zoom” and click send to immediately create a zoom meeting ID.

Last but not least, HAVE FUN WITH IT!

Constant text can get boooring. That’s why it’s fun to spice it up and keep the culture light-hearted among all the hard work. There are tons of apps within Slack to enhance the experience, such as donut and our teams’ personal favorite, guggy. With guggy you can write anything and it will turn it into an image.

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