This is the approach I use for work/professional related slack channels - essentially environments where I’m paid to be on Slack.
These tips are not for everyone or for every situation. They are only tips that have worked for me at a few companies where Slack is used as an infinite landfill for conversations.
Tip 1: Use compact mode
Slack has an incredibly noisy interface. Using compact mode is an easy way to stop it from barfing all over your screen.
Tip 2: Don’t show or expand media/images
This also just helps with the noise barf.
Tip 3: Leave Channels
Joining and leaving Slack channels is really easy. Feel free to leave all sorts of non-critical channels to reduce noise.
Tip 4: Disable Information about who is typing
Given how many other notifications and other noise Slack pushes on you, this is a simple one to turn off and try to get a little bit of your mind back.
Tip 5: Don’t put Slack on your phone
This helps me make sure I’m only focusing on work slack when I’m actually working.
Tip 6: Don’t install the Slack App on your machine
At some jobs, Slack usage is just such a disaster that it might make more sense to only use Slack in the browser a couple of times a day.
If you have multiple work machines, put Slack on the machine you use the least.
In these situations, also consider a hard to use client like slack-term to help get your time back.
Tip 7: Apply the same theme to everything
For me, I make every Slack “project” I am in the same thing. I use the Terminal theme from slackthemes.net. I use this to also just help me get some mind space back by keeping Slack more predictable in its visual noise.
Tip 8: Be very liberal with Do Not Disturb
Slack has a ‘do not disturb’ feature on it. Make sure it lines up with your work hours so you are not accidentally distracted by work stuff when you are on your own time.
Tip 9: Make sure the distraction of Slack is represented in your project planning
Since Slack is designed to be a massive interruption device, make sure you are factoring this into when you are planning any project at work. One of the most professional things you can do is keeping your workplace honest about the cost of their choices like Slack.
Tip 10: Mute all channels
Mute is one of the best features of slack. If you can’t leave a channel, then ‘/mute’ might be your next best friend. Like leaving, it is really easy to do and undo. I mute every channel by default, and if I happen to be wrong about the value of a channel I unmute it. It is totally ok to be initially wrong about the value of a channel and mute allows me to safely gamble that the channel is most likely a worthless distraction.