Part of too many Slack channels? Here’s what you can do about it

Part of too many Slack channels? Here’s what you can do about it

There is a saying in Automattic that goes: “There is always a Slack channel you can join”, and that’s true at any moment! Keeping up with Slack channels is like keeping up with the Kardashians, it’s a never ending drama.

But let’s understand how we ended up here…

You know what drives our excessive checking of Twitter feeds, Facebook updates, etc?. Or the common behavior of checking our phones dozens of times every day? It’s FOMO, the Fear Of Missing Out. ie, our brain goes into “What if something interesting is happening?” mode.

While it started in social media and apps, FOMO is no longer contained to those only. It’s stepping into the world of work too.

There is a lot happening in the office environment and chit-chats “breaks” are the distributors of information/news. During these breaks, co-workers share latests news, politics, scandals… you name it. Whatever the news, there is a 100% chance you’ll hear it in a chit-chat break.

For remote companies, real-time chat apps like Slack are replacing the office’s “breaks”. There are so many things happening, in different Slack channels, and at any moment of the day. And as humans, there is an urge to know about everything!

We worry about missing out, and we end up joining too many Slack channels. This makes us happy because the constant flow of information and news makes us feel we are on the top of everything. But this takes so much energy from us.

Besides, are we on the top of everything? Or, does it matter to be on the top of everything?

Do you need to know what every team is working on? What’s the progress of all projects?

Do you need to join all email threads to be “in the loop”? Or to join all Slack channels so you don’t miss anything?

No, you don’t!

There is no advantage in knowing everything that’s happening in your company. Most of it has nothing to do with you or your work, and the rest of it doesn’t matter.

On the rare occasions when it does matter, rest assured you’ll hear about it. Information will come to you anyway. A ping, a direct email, a phone call… You’ll hear about it.

By “unfollowing” non-useful Slack channels, email threads, and news circles… you are freeing yourself from the FOMO and joining the JOMO. The Joy Of Missing Out.

You are freeing your time so you can focus on your work while enjoying the process. Because you know, deep inside, that if something is worth it you’ll hear about it. And that’s without following the Slack channels 24/7.

So here’s what you should do instead

This may sound unachievable, or extreme, but I promise you it’s worth it.

Here are a few questions first:

  • What are the Slack channels you use every day? This includes your own team channels, projects channels…
  • What are the Slack channels your company use for announcements? Company news, C-level appointments…
  • Are you part of any channels for hobbies? Like dogs, cats, cooking…?

Once you have that list, those are the channels you need. Quit everything else. Seriously.

Not sure if it’s a good idea? Guess what, nothing is irreversible. Try it for a week and add other channels gradually.

What if you are curious about the progress of another project/team? That’s normal, visit the channel weekly/monthly, but don’t be part of it. Only visit it when you remember it, not on a daily basis.

That’s it, welcome to JOMO!

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