Did you know you can turn Slack into the ultimate task management platform? Slack is the ideal platform for keeping everything in one place: your tasks, projects, goals, KPIs… But simply putting everything in one place won’t help much — you risk ending up with a bunch of chaotic data spread all over your channels.
So how do you create the perfect Slack task management system?
In this article, we’ll share 7 advanced Slack tips that help you get your tasks from “Planned” to “Completed” in the most efficient and time-saving manner.
Tip #1: Use Task Management Integrations
This one is a bit on the nose, but you’d be surprised how many teams neglect task management apps when using Slack. Meanwhile, these apps allow for 99% of task management to be performed directly within Slack.
We’re talking about creating tasks, updating tasks, assigning tasks, tracking tasks, and so much more!
Geekbot’s Team Topics feature will give you a clear graphic view of what your team members are working on right now.
Here are our favorite task management apps for Slack:
- Geekbot. Using Geekbot, you can monitor team members’ tasks in two different ways. The asynchronous stand-ups will aid in tracking what tasks are completed during the day and what will be done in the future.
- Focus Mode (by Geekbot). Focus Mode helps you concentrate on tasks while shows what each team member is working on in real-time.
- Todoist. There are tons of productivity apps in Slack similar to Todoist, but given that many people are already using Todoist for personal tasks, why not use it for Slack task management as well?
Using Todoist integration, you can create, assign, complete, and track tasks from within a Slack channel.
- Asana. The majority of project management services (Trello, Jura) have built-in Slack integrations that allow managing entire tasks and projects without ever leaving Slack.
For example, Asana for Slack lets you create tasks, assign tasks, check milestones, mark complete tasks, receive updates on tasks, and so much more.
- ToDoBot. In addition to simply creating new tasks, ToDoBot allows you to share tasks with your teammates and even program automated checklists.
For example, you can automatically assign a sequence of tasks to every new user when onboarding them in Slack.
Tip #2. Make the Most of Slack Statuses
Slack statuses are underrated. Just imagine how many unwanted “Hey, what are you doing?” messages your team can avoid if everyone at any moment could easily see what you are working on in Slack. Surely, you can encourage people to change their statuses manually every time they start a new task, but we all know how far this goes.
Apps such as Geekbot Focus Mode allow you to automatically enter DnD mode whenever you start working on a new task. It even has a built-in Pomodoro timer to help you track time spent and take these much needed short breaks between sessions!
In addition to that, when in Focus Mode, all team members can see what task you’re working on right now and provide either help or privacy.
Here are more cool tips to supercharge your statuses in Slack:
- Sync your Slack status with your calendar. Did you know that Slack can sync with your Outlook or Google calendar out-of-box?
If your calendar is bursting with meetings and events, this is a great way for others to see your availability in real-time, without even leaving Slack.
- Automate Slack status change with Zapier. Let’s take our status game one step further. With Zapier you can automate Slack status change every time you start working on a new task or even when you start writing a blog post in Google Docs.
- Schedule your DnD times in Slack. Productivity in Slack is a hot topic right now, and sometimes the best way to become productive is to let your team know you’re off-limits.
Tip #3. Organize Your Channels
Organizing projects organically leads to the best task management possible. Period. But how do you keep your projects organized? You’d be surprised, but even a simple naming strategy in Slack goes a long way.
Here are some best practices for organizing your projects in Slack with channels:
- Don’t create too many channels. When there are too many channels in your Slack, people get lost about where to post their message or start a discussion on some new topic.
Think twice before adding new channels, create broad channels (e.g. #watercooler or #marketing” for company-wide discussions, and regularly archive unused channels
- Use prefixes to group similar projects or channels. For example, use the prefix team- for team-driven channels (e.g. team-marketing) and proj- for project-driven channels (e.g proj-redesign).
For better organization, you can create guidelines for channel names to help your team members with naming new channels.
- Make the most of every channel’s description. Write channel descriptions as if you’re explaining how a board game works to your 6-year old kid.
With this approach, newcomers and guests can quickly figure out where to send their message, while long-time users will be more organized in their messaging.
Tip #4. Conduct Asynchronous Stand-Up Meetings In Slack
Keeping track of what tasks your brilliant is working on can quickly get out of hand, especially when projects are complex and deadlines are tough. That’s especially true for distributed or remote teams who don’t have the benefits of sharing the same office space.
Thankfully, the solution is simple: asynchronous standup meetings in Slack.
By asking your teammates three simple questions every day you get to learn what they are working on, what prevents them from completing tasks, and what they intend to do.
And the best part is all that happens directly in Slack, automatically, and within minutes, replacing dozens of useless meetings.
Here’s how asynchronous daily standups power up your task management in Slack:
- Learn what everyone is working on. Every daily stand-up starts with this question: “What did you do yesterday?” It takes mere seconds to answer this question in Slack, and within a minute you know everything your colleagues are working on.
- Learn about team current plans. The second daily stand-up question is “What will you do today?”, and it helps you understand your team’s short-term plans.
- Quickly identify and eliminate roadblocks. Be in the know about any roadblocks that drag your team down with the third stand-up question “Anything blocking your progress?”
- Obtain the full history of team tasks. All replies are stored in a specific Slack channel, making it easy to find out what a team accomplished and/or struggled with at any given time in the past.
Geekbot allows you to automatically send daily stand-up questions in Slack to selected people on your team, gather their replies in one place, apply NLP-analysis to their responses, conduct custom surveys, and so much more!
Tip #5. Use Advanced Search Tricks
Finishing a task is often a matter of finding relevant information. And there’s always a wealth of information in Slack that can help you finish a specific task or a project: insights, links, documents…
But this useful data is often buried under hundreds of messages, kitty images, and questionable GIFs that your team members happily share with each other every day.
That’s why the ability to search data in Slack becomes paramount for successful task management.
Here are our favorite tips for quickly finding valuable data in Slack:
- Use advanced search filters and modifiers. A combination of advanced search filters on the right side of your search (e.g. Filter by People, Date, or File type) and modifiers (e.g. type to:@your name for searching only messages sent to you) can quickly shink down the number of search results you get from hundreds to a just a few.
- Use keyboard shortcuts. Keyboard shortcuts are a simple trick that can save you minutes and hours of time in the long run. Instead of opening the search tab with your mouse just press Ctrl + G or Cmd + G for global Slack search or Ctrl/Cmd + F for searching within a currently opened Slack channel.
- Use Q&A Bot. Q&A bots let you quickly find relevant information about a project or a task, especially in combination with Slack bots that gather team responses.
For example, Geekbot’s Conversational Analytics supports in-depth queries such as “What has the team done on onboarding in the last two months?” and returns all daily stand up reports that are connected to this query.
Tip #6. Automate, Automate, Automate
Why spend so much time doing the same task over and over again when you can simply automate it? It is amazing how many things can be automated in Slack.
And there are many ways to do that too, but we’ll use Zapier to demonstrate how powerful automation can be in your task management workflow.
Here’s what you can automate in slack with Zapier or similar tools:
- Automate data collection. Every task begins and ends with some kind of data. So why not automatically bring the required data into Slack.
Using Zapier, you can send new emails as Slack channel messages, broadcast Google sheets updates into your Slack channels, and share Google Forms responses. Use Zapier to automate any data collection process you have in Slack.
- Automate notifications. Part of successful task management is the timing, or, in other words, in knowing when to act.
Use Zapier to share new Twitter mentions of your brand in Slack channels so that marketers could quickly respond. Broadcast new user tickets in your #support channel. The list goes on and on!
- Automate complex workflows. Zapier can integrate with a wide variety of triggers in Slack to help you automate complex workflows based on certain interactions in Slack.
For example, you can create onboarding checklists and share tutorials whenever a new user enters a specific Slack channel,
Tip #7. Monitor Your Team Happiness
A happy team is a productive team. So, if you want your team members to perform tasks on time and find new creative ways of solving problems, you can monitor team happiness in Slack.
These are the ways you can regularly track team happiness in Slack:
- Custom surveys. A number of Slack apps (e.g. Geekbot, Officevibe, Simple Poll) help you conduct custom surveys directly in slack and then analyze people’s responses over time.
- Apply NLP-analysis to team responses. Geekbot uses the NLP-analysis method to analyze your daily team responses and built an interactive graph on their well-being and happiness levels.
Use this data to quickly identify issues that bring your team down and affect their productivity.
Hint!: don’t focus exclusively on negative metrics. Using happiness graphs, find out when the exact dates your team was the happiest and apply this knowledge to improve team spirits and productivity in the future!
We hope that these tips and techniques will boost your team performance and permanently improve your task management workflows.We know from our own experience that outstanding results are just around the corner!
If you are a distributed team that struggles with useless meetings, low engagement, and poor performance, Geekbot might reinvent your remote productivity.
Several years ago we build Geekbot to address these issues of our own, and now we help thousands of teams to do the same as soon as possible!
Note: Click here to get started. Geekbot is free for teams of 10 or fewer. Plus, larger teams can try Geekbot free for 30 days.
Frequently asked questions
How to Create and Assign Tasks in Slack?
There are several ways to create and assign tasks in Slack. For bigger tasks, you can create a separate Slack channel and invite assignees there. For smaller tasks, you can use threads and turn any message into a task while discussing its progress in the comments. Lastly, you can use Slack bots or integrate Slack with 3rd party task management software.
How Do I Track a Task in Slack?
If you want to track whether someone is working on the task right now, you can use Slack statuses. Every team member can change their Slack status to notify others that they are working on tasks. If you want to track task progress, use task management tools that automatically change employee status in Slack and share their current task progress with a team.
Can You Use Slack For Project Management?
Yes, you can use Slack for project management. A clever combination of built-in Slack features with Slack bots and 3rd party integrations will allow you to track projects’ progress, create and assign new tasks, track the team’s performance. You can also integrate Slack with more complex project management tools to utilize their advanced project management features.