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Anmol Shukla
Anmol Shukla

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How I achieved clean inbox on Slack

Title image Credit: Helpscout (

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 (

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!

Top comments (1)

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.