04Jun 2015

Are you tired of fighting a losing battle against the “endless Inbox?” When was the last time you got your Inbox to zero–only to have it fill up again in a few hours? It’s a depressing, discouraging feeling, isn’t it?

There’s a new tool you’re going to hear about soon, if you haven’t already. It’s called Slack, and there’s a good chance it will eventually replace your email.

Launched less than a year ago, Slack has experienced phenomenal growth. Some users have reported it has already more or less supplanted internal email within their organizations.

What makes Slack so great? Taking a cue from the instant messaging client IRC, Slack groups messages into various related “Channels.” You can choose to be alerted when someone posts to a Channel–or not–depending on the importance you place on the topic in question. If you want to know what’s happening but have alerts turned off, you can also go back and check up on a Channel later. Or just search your message archive to display the relevant messages and threads.

“Private Groups” are similar to Channels, but can only be viewed by those who have been invited–so you can have a conversation with your bookkeeper or HR manager without broadcasting it to the entire company.

The traditional email Inbox uses an inefficient design which arranges messages by date in a linear fashion. Prioritization tools within the Inbox have proven to be a partial solution at best. Slack’s model of using Channels and Private Rooms solves the long-standing problem of the “endless Inbox” by eliminating the Inbox itself. Your messages are automatically grouped according to criteria your team has specified, allowing you to focus on what matters most.

If your email seems like a burden rather than a blessing, give Slack a try. You may find the way to solve the problem is to look at it from an entirely new perspective.

Brian S. Pauls is the President of PerAspera Consulting, LLC