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Cover image for How I achieved clean inbox on Slack

How I achieved clean inbox on Slack

Anmol Shukla
Developer at Postman
・2 min read

Title image Credit: Helpscout (https://www.helpscout.com)

We've all heard of the inbox zero. It sounds like a distant dream, an empty screen signalling that all that you had needed to attend to, has been attended to. It's the logical equivalent to the 😌 emoji. It also, if guides and blogs are to be believed, takes a lot of effort, a logical equivalent of the 😫 emoji.

Alt TextCredit: Slack (https://www.slack.com)

While that may be true for emails, I was able to achieve an Inbox zero (almost) in Slack, and I feel the bliss that comes along with it. Like the discovery of the X-rays, this discovery was too, accidental. Here's the algorithm that I follow:

  1. Slack now supports sections, which are logical groups that you can make for your chats. More details here.
  2. Group up your channels however you'd like (I have 6 categories). Alt Text The emojis really give the sections some character 😅 3.Important: Make sure that one of the sections is called 'Noise'
  3. Fill up those channels in 'Noise', which have a lot of messages coming in per hour (these are usually channels with bot(s)) and messages which are not that important. 5.Important: Collapse all your sections so that your sidebar looks really neat 🧹 ✨
  4. Now, expand the sections one-by-one and go through the unread channels. Collapse the section as soon as all the unread channels have been read.
  5. Voila!
  6. Go through the 'Noise' channel once every 2 hours or with a lesser frequency using the 'All unread' section. This allows you to skim through really quickly.

Note: Do not forget to collapse the sections once you're done reading the channels within.

Why this works (for me):

Seeing 6 sections, a subset of which is highlighted is much less daunting than seeing a multitude of highlighted channels.

Additionally, the power of categorization lies within your hands, which allows you to group channels in terms of priority. For example, I have a section called 'Priority', and it becomes imperative that I check that section before anything else.

Happy Inbox 0!

Discussion (1)

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sirseanofloxley profile image
Sean Allin Newell

This is helpful! My previous boss encouraged me to ignore requests when I'm working or have a deadline, as long as I respond within a day or two for inquiries or have a way for people to express urgency qnd priority to interrupt when absolutely necessary. It's helped me swipe away and just hunker down and get more things done.

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