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From Mess to Bless – Organise Your Slack in 7 Easy Steps

Have you ever felt being lost in your Slack channels? Follow these simple steps and make your life easier and much more effective by doing some clean up at Slack.

We at Codecool use Slack for daily collab and communication. It’s an amazing tool, we can only recommend it, if you have not yet started using it or any similar apps.

As opposed to email, Slack allows for a much more flexible view of your communication threads and you can follow conversations of work teams you are not even part of. There is a lot of extra potential in integrating it with different apps, and obviously the customisable emojis are really cool, too.

However, with the default settings you can easily end up with a chaotic sidebar and a disturbing amount of notifications, causing more pain than gain.

Especially when you start missing important tasks and messages in the noise.

Let us just share with you some tricks that worked for us. So that you, too, can quickly regain control over your Slack, by making it so neatly organised that even Marie Kondo would approve it.

The whole thing should not take more than 5 or 10 minutes max. And you can save that time daily from tomorrow just not having to fish for the latest important updates in a chaos.

So, let’s get to it!

Slack_star

Pick Your Stars

You can and should, as a first step of this clean-up, set the priority level for each slack channel and direct message on your sidebar.

1) Select max. 5 to 7 most important channels and messages that you want to keep an eye on at all times, and „star” them. Keep this list short and sweet to allow for a real quick overview at all times.

Do this:
1) Right-click the channel or direct message on the sidebar, and then
2) click „Star channel” or „Star conversation”.

So this happens: The starred item moves up to the top of your sidebar! It will be in your sight all the time.

2) Then, from the rest delete those you don’t need anymore. They should not be on your sidebar at all.

Do this:
1) Right-click the channel or direct message on the sidebar, and then
2) click „Leave channel” or „Close conversation”.

So this happens: The deleted item is gone from your sidebar.

3) Finally, mute those channels and messages that you don’t have time to follow on a regular basis. Mute as much as you can, you’ll thank yourself later.

Do this:
1) Right-click the channel or direct message on the sidebar, and then
2) click „Mute channel” or „Mute conversation”.

So this happens: The muted item stays where it is, but gets a faded colour. You will not get notifications about new messages from this channel or conversation.

Basics done.

Next, you want to make sure to only receive useful notifications from the rest of the channels.

Slack_time_management

Say No to (Some) Notifications

Now you should take care of annoying and useless alarms. Anyways, you can always set up a reminder to any single message item, or follow a thread. So it is only wise to cut down on those notifications.

4) First, set general notification rules for your Slack.

Do this:
1) Click your profile pic in the right top corner,
2) choose „Preferences”,
3) set „Notify me about .... Direct messages, mentions and key words”, and
4) add your own selection of keywords.

So this happens: You’ll not get notified about just the above: direct messages, mentions of your name and keywords. However, channel-specific settings override general settings. So you have to check those as well to make sure it all works nicely.

5) Next, (re)set channel-specific notification rules for your unmuted channels.

Do this:
1) Right-click the channel,
2) click „Change notifications” and
3) set the notifications you prefer for the specific channel.

So this happens: You’ll not get notified about things you really want to be notified about, from unmuted channels.

Almost there!

Now you just have to set a nice, organised view of your sidebar, with the most important things already at the top.

Slack_illustration

Level Up Your Sidebar Game

Last, but not least, set your sidebar in a way to get a clean view at your priorities. The starred items are already sitting at the top of your sidebar. Now you just need to make sure the rest of the sidebar is organised, too.

6) First, set the general sidebar view for your Slack.

Do this:
1) Click your profile pic in the right top corner,
2) choose „Preferences”,
3) click „Sidebar”,
4) set „Always show in the sidebar .... All DMs”, „Mentions & reactions”, „Saved items”, and
5) tick „List private channels separately”.

So this happens: Your sidebar will show you important info only. Your conversations will be shown in a separate group from your channels.

7) Finally, hide muted channels and conversations from your view.

Do this:
1) Click the 3 dots next to „Channels” category header,
2) move your cursor over „Show”,
3) choose „Unread channels only”, and
4) do the same for „Direct messages” („Unread direct messages only”).

So this happens: Your sidebar will not show you muted channels and conversations anymore. (Note that you did not change the setting of „Starred”, so you will still be notified about everything that happens in your starred channels and conversations.)

That’s it! This is how some of us at Codecool like to organise our Slack.

And now you did it, too. You made Marie Kondo happy:

Slack_Marie_Kondo

Now grab a coffee, sit back, and enjoy you new, re-organised Slack!

You deserve it.