Self-messaging on Slack seems lonely, but it’s my best productivity hack

Self-messaging on Slack seems lonely, but it’s my best productivity hack

June Wan/ZDNET

Humans have over 6,000 thoughts a day on average, some of the most important of which occur during working hours. This is where note-taking apps and notepads come in handy. Or, if you’re like me, Slack.

For my Slack users, let me share with you a basic but underused tip for staying on top of your thoughts. (But, also, if you use another collaboration service, keep reading. This applies to you as well.)

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The self-message seems to go without saying, doesn’t it? You start a new conversation, but instead of typing a colleague’s name, you type your own and hit enter. Welcome to the haven of your coolest business ideas, where everything is time-stamped, searchable, formatted correctly, and may or may not lead to business success.

As a journalist, I use my personal inbox to jot down story ideas, keyboard shortcuts, photos and videos, article links, and more. I also use the space to write messages that I send to the whole team. (There’s nothing nicer than hitting enter on an incomplete message. This will fix this problem.)

The best part is how I format the links and embed the images which will stay the same when I forward the copy to another chat or group channel because, well, it’s all on Slack. In fact, send yourself this one-paragraph blast to get a taste of what it will look like to others. You can always delete it from your inbox afterwards.

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There’s also the benefit of your personal inbox always appearing at the top of your direct message list, giving you quick access to your past thoughts. And no, you won’t receive any unnecessary notifications each time you message each other. It’s much more intuitive than auto-email or auto-text.

Finally, I emphasize this practice for work-related ideas only. Integrating Slack into your personal life is anything but a work-life balance. Google Keep is still my go-to for note-taking outside of 9 to 5, but when I’m clocked in, nothing beats the efficiency of self-messaging on the platform I’m already working on.


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