Editor’s Note: This story is part of our feature, “Secrets of 13 of the most productive people.” See the complete 2018 list here.
Instant messaging platforms like Slack have transformed workplace communication, to the point that “slack” has become a verb (as in, “I’ll Slack that to you later”). But even as it solves one problem (cutting down on the number of emails), it creates another: the feeling that you must always be on and part of the conversation.
If you feel like too much of your day is eaten up with this tool designed to make work easier, try one of these approaches to cutting down your time on Slack.
Log in at set times instead of having the platform running constantly. Put your phone in airplane mode when doing important work. Use emergency override settings to approve certain contacts so you won’t worry about missing important messages.
Disable features that show others whether you’re online, reducing pressure to respond instantly, says Virginia Tech University associate professor William Becker, coauthor of the study, “Exhausted, but Unable to Disconnect.”
Ask your manager to adopt another form of communication.”Instant messaging is more dangerous than email because it’s more demanding of an immediate response,” says Becker. And those annoying notifications don’t go away until you read them.