Small Improvements #1: Slack All Unreads

One of the ideas that fascinate me is incremental improvement. Often small improvements are easily overlooked and ignored instead of implemented. If you do apply improvements of 1% per day over a year, you will improve thirty-seven times your baseline. One of my New Year's resolutions is to notice places for improvement and I found one in using Slack.

If you use Slack, there are probably dozens of channels you subscribed to. You might not contribute to all of them but want to be proactively aware of certain projects or domains. There are of course always conversations going and you will have to check these channels multiple times a day.

The ergonomics of checking channels for me is scrolling through the list of channels, clicking one, reading the messages, and repeating. I estimate that the act of scrolling and clicking cost me 5 minutes a day if not more. In a normal 8 hour workday that is about 1% of my total work time. A perfect target for something to improve.

On the desktop version of Slack, there is a section call "All Unreads".. I recently started to use it. Instead of scrolling and clicking, there is now one place I can go to and save myself 5 minutes. This feature has been in Slack for 1+ years. I have seen it but never utilized it until now.

That freed 1% can be reinvested into programming or fixing a unit test but a 1% time savings is not a lot. There are better options like leaving channels or only checking at the start and end of the day if I had better willpower. This improvement will not make or break my day but does help set up a habit of improvement. That habit is an investment anyone can have to make life better.