How to get the most out of Slack (and avoid distractions)

Tips and tricks to configure Slack for your Team.

Shawn Zvinis
Mar 21, 2014 · 3 min read

We’ve been using Slack at Yoyo for about a month now. Slack brings all your team communication together in one place. Slack is a tool, like any other, and we’ve picked up some tips to make it really shine.

Highlight words are awesome. In addition to your @handle, you can set a bunch of words that will trigger a notification, so you don’t miss anything important (and avoid jibber-jabber).

You can see my priorities are pretty clear! ☺

We use Slack to talk about everything, which means you can get a lot of notifications out of the box. Switch notifications to “only for Highlight Words and direct messages” to avoid distractions to your work flow.

In preferences, select “only for highlight words and direct messages”

By default, Slack shows a (•) badge if there’s new messages in any room, which is super distracting as you switch through apps on your machine. If a message doesn’t mention your highlight words, you shouldn’t be notified.

In preferences, disable the following feature to stay distraction free.

By default, you get the clean theme that includes lots of whitespace and user avatars. By switching to the compact theme, a lot of the noise is removed and you don’t need to scroll as much to catch-up on conversations.

Switch to the compact theme in preferences to save space and see more.

By setting up a bunch of channels, you create a home for each type of conversation. By default, you get #general and #random, but don’t stop there. Add rooms for different teams, departments and offices.

Some of the channels we use at Yoyo, but go crazy and make Slack your own.

To make Slack the centre of your team communications, you should add in third-party services that you use. We’ve added Github (for each commit) and PivotalTracker (for each story). We’re looking to add Trello and TravisCI soon as well. Slack is adding lots of integrations each month.

Sorry, we can’t share our secret sauce online!

For Slack to be really effective, it should be the first place your team goes to communicate. If team members don’t have mobile apps installed, you’ll find yourself going back to email (which nobody wants).

You can get Slack on all your devices, so you never miss important messages.

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By @shawnzvinis

    Shawn Zvinis

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