You can’t quit these apps. Here’s how to stop them from derailing your day

An insider’s guide to the apps that run our work lives—whether you’re a hardcore user or just getting started.

You can’t quit these apps. Here’s how to stop them from derailing your day
[Source images: SpicyTruffel/iStock; Margarita Lyr/iStock]

Google Drive

Base level: You can quickly find any files your colleagues have shared by typing their names into the search bar.


Bold: If you’re stuck using the same Google account for both work and personal storage, consider color-coding folders by right-clicking on them and selecting “Change color.”

Baller: To quickly compare multiple documents, hold Control or Command while clicking on them, then right-click and select “Preview.” You can then use the arrow keys to cycle through each document.


(Microsoft, Outlook, Google, or iCal)

Base level: To avoid getting distracted by upcoming dinner parties and kids’ ball games, consider hiding Saturdays and Sundays from your G Suite calendar. Under “View Options” in the Settings menu, uncheck “Show Weekends.” Outlook has a similar option, called “Work Week,” in the Home menu.

Bold: By installing the Google Calendar Plus extension in Chrome, you can set your views to only show working hours, display full event titles when you hover over them, stretch out the monthly view to show more events per day, and more.

Baller: Use Calendly, Woven, or to schedule meetings with fewer back-and-forth emails. You set your availability in advance and let others pick the time that works best.



Base level: The key to responsible Slack use is managing your notifications so you’re not tempted to address every little issue after work hours. By default, Slack’s Do Not Disturb mode mutes notifications from 10 p.m. to 8 a.m., but why not start earlier in the evening, so you can unwind without interruption?

Bold: Tell Slack to generate less noise in the first place by using the Settings button at the top of each channel. From the Notification Preferences menu, you can silence all alerts from a given channel, or just mute the @channel and @here alerts that go out to everyone.

Baller: Let colleagues know when you don’t want to be bothered by integrating your calendar with Slack. Head to the Slack App Directory and install either the Google Calendar or Outlook add-on, and your Slack status will automatically show “in a meeting” during calendar events.


Base level: Keep up better with the news by returning to a chronological feed; just tap the star at the top of the screen. (Twitter will switch you back to an algorithmic feed at some point, and you’ll have to do this again.)

Bold: Add important sources to a Twitter list, which will always flow chronologically, or use TweetDeck, Twitter’s alternative website for power users. It lets you monitor many lists at once and schedule tweets for later.

Baller: Set up advanced search columns in TweetDeck. In addition to keywords, you can search for a link (to see who’s talking about a particular story), limit your search results to verified users or a minimum engagement threshold, and get desktop notifications when a result is found.


Facebook Pages

Base level: Managing a Facebook business page can be stressful, but a little automation can help relieve some of the pressure. From the “Automated Responses” section of your inbox, try scheduling messages for when you’re not working, or create an instant reply that automatically provides more information to the sender.

Bold: Tired of answering the same questions repeatedly? While viewing any conversation, click the chat bubble to set up canned responses that you can send with one click.

Baller: Connect your Facebook page with the automation program IFTTT to integrate with other services. Automatically upload photos from Instagram, post updates from WordPress, share YouTube videos, and more. Your brand presence will practically run itself.

A version of this article appeared in the Winter 2019/2020 issue of Fast Company magazine.