Did you know that it takes an average of 23 minutes (and 15 seconds) to recover from a distraction at work? Pings may sound like a funny word, but they seriously eat away at your time and focus. The good news is that most apps, including our favorite messaging platform Slack, let you pause notifications via Do Not Disturb mode. In this article, we’ll teach you how to manage your Slack notifications and get some much-needed Focus Time — no matter what operating system you use.
What is Do Not Disturb mode on Slack?
Here’s what happens when you enable Do Not Disturb (DND) on Slack:
- You snooze notifications. But don’t worry, you can still view any missed messages afterwards.
- Other teammates in your workspace can see when you have Do Not Disturb enabled. If someone has an urgent message for you, they can bypass Do Not Disturb and reach you via direct messages.
How to enable Do Not Disturb on your desktop
To turn Slack to Do Not Disturb mode on the desktop app, go to the upper right corner where your photo is located. Click on this and a dropdown menu will appear. Hover over the “Pause notifications” option. This will expand more options that allow you to pause notifications anywhere from 30 minutes to two hours.
There is also the ability to choose an “until tomorrow” option or a “custom” time frame for silencing notifications. Slack has recently added this feature allowing users to set a notification schedule that repeats every day. This helps with work-life balance as you automatically make notifications stop at the end of your workday.
If you want to turn off the Do Not Disturb settings and turn on notifications, go back to the upper right corner and hover over “Pause Notifications.” It will now give you the option to turn Do not Disturb mode off. Then you can catch up on all the new messages in the top left sidebar of Slack under the workspace name.
How to enable Do Not Disturb on your mobile device
When using the Slack app on mobile (whether iOS or Android), changing your notification preferences looks different, but is just as simple as the desktop app. When you open the app, look at the various options that run across the bottom of the screen. In the bottom right corner, you will see “You” — select that option. A menu will open with various settings. Second from the top you will see “Pause notifications” next to a bell icon.
When you select this, you will be given multiple options that allow you to customize the time frame during which to snooze notifications. You can further customize the settings by selecting the “Custom” option.
Unlike the desktop app, the mobile app doesn’t allow users to set a daily, scheduled “Do no Disturb” mode, but you can still turn off notifications on a day-to-day basis to keep your iPhone from ringing with notifications when off-the-clock.
How to customize your Slack notification settings
In addition to the Do Not Disturb feature, there are other ways to keep Slack notifications at bay so they don’t distract you.
Mute a conversation
Slack allows users to tailor the notification settings on a channel-to-channel basis. If there’s a large amount of activity in one channel that you want to silence, just right-click on the channel name on the left-hand side of the app. This will open up a list of different options to choose from. Select “Mute Conversation.”
Now, notifications from this channel won’t distract your workflow. To catch up on what happened, open the Slack app. Just like unmuted channels, you will see a notification for each unread mention.
Change Slack status
You can change your Slack status so your teammates know if you’re in a meeting, commuting, or out of the office. This is also located in the upper right corner. Click on your image and then click on the first option, “update your status.”
There, you’ll see emojis accompanied with the reason you aren’t available. For example, “Commuting” (next to a bus emoji), defaults to 30 minutes. However, when you choose that option, it allows you to adjust the length of time and decide if you still want to receive notifications.
Set posting permissions
Admins in the Slack workspace can change the permissions that different team members have. Use this to set who can use various “slash commands” or “@channel” commands. In certain instances, limiting the people with access to these commands can be helpful.
Use outside apps, like Clockwise, to manage notifications
Clockwise is a free time orchestration tool that integrates seamlessly with Slack and can help you get the most out of your focus time. It automatically updates your Slack status to “available,” “in a meeting,” or “in Focus Time” depending on your calendar.
You can also use the “Focus Time” feature to block notifications to enable you to be focused and productive. (Don’t let each Slack message derail your productivity for 23 minutes!)