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Take Control of Slack Basics: Chapter 11, Be Productive

This article is a pre-release chapter in the upcoming “Take Control of Slack Basics,” by Glenn Fleishman, scheduled for public release later in 2016. Apart from Chapter 1, Introducing Slack, Chapter 2, Get Started with Slack, and Chapter 12, Start a Slack Team, these chapters are available only to TidBITS members; see “Take Control of Slack Basics” Serialized in TidBITS for details.

Chapter 11: Be Productive

Slack’s name has a high degree of irony: Isn’t slacking the opposite of working? If you’re “just chatting,” doesn’t that mean you’re not working at all? Slack also connotes the notion of “slack time,” one definition of which would be a period in a job when there’s no actual work to do, and you’re sitting around. In fact, I wouldn’t be surprised if some companies avoid adopting Slack precisely because of its name. (Although, does HipChat from Atlassian sound more productive?)

We struggled with the name of this chapter, because it’s about both using Slack to be productive and keeping Slack from reducing your productivity.

You can put too much time, creativity, and social energy into Slack just as easily as you can into text messaging and other social networks. And, careless or excessive use of Slack can also drain your team’s energy and cost members time. The initialism FOMO—fear of missing out—is just as relevant in Slack as elsewhere, especially if you use Slack for work purposes. You can always justify to yourself that you’re working, even when it would resemble chatting to any outsider—and perhaps to your boss.

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