Slack tips

15 Practical Slack Tips to Get Your Work Back on Track (After getting distracted)

What was I working on? How can I get back on track?

You’re reading some updates in your #marketing channel and then you get a DM from your manager about some urgent work. You work on the task and submit it in an hour. Now, where were you?

We’ve all faced this kind of situation, right? 

In this article, I’ve gathered 15 handy tips to find your way in Slack. 

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1. Navigate through all the channels and conversations you recently had open

Did you get interrupted by some urgent work and now you want to get back to where you were?

Just click the “arrow buttons next to the search box.” That’s it!


You can also use Slack keyboard shortcuts:

Alt+left arrow and alt+right arrow (Windows/Linux)

⌘+[ and ⌘+] on Mac

2. How to find past messages

You messaged something on a channel and then forgot the details. How can you find your post messages quickly?

Slack search filter is here to help you. Simply search for from:me and sort the results by “Most recent.” And you’ll see all your recent messages, DMs, files, and threads.

send message

3. Find recently received direct message  

Lost the important message? You can get a list of every direct message sent to you in Slack. Just use the search term to:me. 

4. Track your mentions in the activity view

Next to your starred items in the upper right of Slack’s desktop app, the @ symbol “@ Mentions and reactions” displays your activity view. This tracks if anyone tagged your username, keyword notifications, reactions on your messages, and more.

5. Mark as Unread to see the message later

Say you’re working on some important task and get a message from your team. Slack gives you an option to mark messages unread. Click the More actions icon (three dots) next to a message, and select Mark as unread.

You can long-press a message in the Slack mobile app to see a menu with the option to mark a message as unread.

That will mark the message as unread and you can switch to another task with peace of mind because Slack will keep your message.

6. Save messages and files to bookmark them for later

You can save messages and files to come back later. This feature helps you to mark your to-dos and save something for another time, only you can see your saved items. 

Click the Saved items option in the left sidebar of the Slack desktop app to see all your recently saved items.

Recommended Article: 15 Best Slack Tips and Practices That Top Remote Teams Follow

7. Don’t forget to check your drafts area

Let’s say, you’re writing a message but switch to another channel or DM, this message is tracked at the top of your channels in a new area marked Drafts. Just go there, finish your message and send it to your team.

8. Press the Up arrow to edit your most recent message

Pressing the Up arrow key will let you edit your most recent message in whatever channel you’re in.

9. Set a reminder

Busy as a bee, or maybe feeling a little forgetful? Send reminders to yourself or other members of your team for important meetings or to-do items that you might need to come back to later.

Click the three dots icon next to any message to remind yourself to come back to a message later. 

Or type the /remind slash command in the message field to create a custom reminder for yourself.

10. Switch to Slack’s compact theme

By switching to Slack “compact” theme, you remove much of the noise and don’t need to scroll as much to catch up on conversations.

Go to Preferences > Messages & Media and select Compact under the Theme choices.

11. Change sidebar settings to only see unread messages

Go to Preferences > Sidebar > Show all unreads.

And sidebar will show you all your important messages and channels. This removes all channels with no activity from your sidebar.

12. Change your “Mark as Read” settings

When you go to a channel with unread messages, Slack will automatically take you to your last read message. This makes you read old conversations you might have missed, which is a huge distraction and waste of time.

Go to Preferences >>> Mark as Read >>> select Start me at the newest message, and mark the channel read.

13. Quickly Catch Up on Conversations in Slack

When you open Slack after being away from Slack for a while and you tap each channel and catch up on what’s happened. That’s a great way to waste your time without doing anything actionable.

Use All Unread’s scientific order – a view tailored to how you use Slack.

14. Use Pocket to save things for later

Did a teammate just share an interesting article or video but you don’t have time for it right now? Pocket lets you save it for later when you have more time.

You spend a lot of time scrolling through conversations before resigning yourself to the fact that you’re searching for a needle in a haystack.

Slack Advanced Search is here to help you – You can use it to narrow down your search and find the specific note you’re looking for.

Here are some search parameters:

In:Search a single channel at a time
from:Search messages from a single user
after:Narrows the search down to messages received after a specific date
before:Narrows the search down to messages received before a specific date
has:is a parameter that lets you search for messages that have a particular element

Do you have any Slack tips or Slack hacks to share with us? Let us know in your comment.

Check out Springworks’ amazing tools and apps here.

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Pawan Kumar

I'm a Content Marketer at Springworks. I've been featured in many reputed publications and online magazines! I'm an avid reader and movie buff. Let's connect on Social Media.

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