Changing the way we communicate

Being busy should never be confused with being effective.

It finally hit me, Slack overload.

I’m overloaded with the number of channels we communicate across at work. That might be a shock to some of you as I am infamous for being able to keep up across a large number of channels and people. Maybe it’s (280 team members) * (an infinite number of slack channels) + (280 teammates) * (email, twitter, whatsapp, sms, etc) that has finally hit some tipping point but I am changing the way I communicate.

Here’s how I am changing:

  1. I am bringing back Email. I’ve been email bankrupt for years but I’ve finally gotten to inbox zero and have maintained that for about 2 months now. I will use email when communicating important announcements, stuff that requires the recipient to digest and other content that doesn’t need a real-time conversation and might get lost in the endless sea of Slack.
  2. Asynchronous (non-realtime) messages when not urgent. Email is one form of async tool but two others I am relying on are async Audio messages and async Video messages (like whatsapp, Drift Video, etc). I’m relying more and more on async messages and less and less on synchronous messages (real-time Slack).
  3. I am dealing with important issues face to face or via phone when I can. Instead of an endless back and forth in Slack trying to get my point across I am just having a real conversation when convenient. (not a meeting just a conversation)

Here is how the builders of Twist (a non-real-time Slack replacement) described their frustrations with the real-time nature of Slack (I don’t agree with all of it but there are some good points in here):

As we design Drift (we support both asynchronous and synchronous messaging) let’s keep these issues in mind and try hard to do the work for our users so they can focus on the Now.

-DC

P.S. Related to effectiveness I’ve been reading and enjoying the book Make Time by the authors of the Time Dork newsletter. If the book concept is interesting to you here are 3 articles that will give you 80% of the important concepts in the book without having to read the whole book:

  1. Choose a “Highlight” Every Day
  2. One Big Thing: a simple way to do more by planning less
  3. The “Burner List”—My simple, paper-based system for focused to-dos