Slack is the new email

Does this look familiar?

Person A [6:37 AM] Please ping me when you are online.

Person B [7:42 AM] What’s up?

Person A [8:56 AM] What do you think about topic X?

In case it’s not immediately obvious, this conversation is horribly ineffective. It’s imprecise, has a high degree of latency, and is hugely wasteful.

Email gained a bad reputation because people started abusing it. Slack is the new email because it’s become an “all-day meeting with random participants and no agenda.

I deleted the Slack desktop app a while back. Being signed in to a dozen plus Slack organizations led to notification paralysis — the unread indicator made it impossible to get anything done. Since then, I open the corresponding Slack organization when I’m actively working on a given project, and leave it closed otherwise.

But, this approach still has the problem of mentions / direct messages, email notifications, and high latency. Going forward, I’m instituting a new policy of encouraging email (or some other async medium) when I’m not actively signed in to Slack. If you see me online, feel free to ping me. Otherwise, please use a more appropriate medium.

Three new experimental life hacks

Three new experimental life hacks I’m instituting today:

  • Waiting until 6 am to begin working. For a while now (year or more), I’ve been waking up anywhere between 3:30 and 4:30, and diving right into work. Needless to say, this is a recipe for sleep deprivation during the week. By forcing myself to wait until 6 am to work, I’m (hopefully) forcing myself to sleep another 45 to 60 minutes.
  • Only using Slack through the web browser. Rather than follow every community all the time, I’m only going to open each Slack organization as it’s relevant to what I’m working on. As far as distractions go, Slack is the new Twitter.
  • Using Focus to limit access to distracting websites and apps. I probably should’ve done this a while back. I’d much rather have 7.5 really productive hours in the day, than 10 moderately productive ones.