This is part of my Tech Workers' Guide To Distraction Free Work

Slack is a communication tool used by 12 million people daily1. It’s fantastic for connecting with coworkers, but it’s also a huge distraction. For example, I worked with a man I’ll call Lemonhead who was very active in numerous Slack channels. Another coworker commented, Lemonhead is always talking in Slack—how does he get any work done?

Don’t be like Lemonhead. Instead, limit your Slack usage:

  • Sign-out of unused accounts
  • Leave channels you don’t need to be in
  • Turn off mobile notifications for non-critical channels
  • Remove non-essential highlight words
  • Experiment with Slack apps that limit interruptions. (I’ve only heard of folks using these but can’t recommend any specific ones.)

Personally, just this morning, I signed out of two slack accounts I don’t follow anymore. And I have a bunch of channels to leave.

One last thought: consider closing Slack for 2 hours during the workday. It’s hard, but it will reduce distractions.

Take action: Limit your Slack usage and create time for more important things.


Tech Workers' Guide To Distraction Free Work

Common Problems

  1. How Do I Stop Endlessly Researching Topics And Get Stuff Done?


  1. We Want To Be Distracted
  2. Proximity Matters

Practices: Just Say No

  1. Just say No
  2. Stop Looking For Drama
  3. Beware Of Taking On Extra Responsibility
  4. Make an “I won’t do” list

Practices: Say Yes

  1. Track your distractions
  2. Stay focused with a To Do list
  3. Make a “Big Rock” list
  4. Follow the 2-minute rule
  5. Try the Pomodoro Technique
  6. Make a list of questions

Practices: Control Your Physical Environment

  1. Find your Den of Productivity
  2. Eliminate distracting belongings
  3. Limit disruptive noise
  4. Listen to music
  5. Silence your phone

Practices: Control Your Digital Environment

  1. Close your email
  2. Leave social media
  3. Close your browser tabs
  4. Limit distractions from Slack
  5. Try an app blocker

Practices: Get Organized

  1. Make project documents

What do books say about distraction free work?

“You could try to pound your head against the wall and think of original ideas — or you can cheat by reading them in books.”
Patrick Collison

  1. “The Obstacle Is the Way” on handling distractions
  2. “The 4-Hour Workweek” on eliminating distractions