Slacking productive

Last week my family took a vacation on the road system. We rented a house in Talkeetna for a week with a family of friends from Asheville, North Carolina, who had never been to Alaska before. The trip included my two-year-old son’s third visit to Denali and first ride on a bus, a boat, and a TRAIN!

I was hoping to leave my laptop home and stay connected to class activities by mobile apps. I ended up bringing my laptop anyway and trying to get some work done after the kids went to bed at night, but the mobile apps did prove to be more productive for me.

Since we are using Slack for class communications, I have the app on my iPhone. It probably took me a couple weeks to realize that there were two places where I had to turn on notifications (both in Settings and inside the app itself) in order to get it to badge the icon whenever someone posts something. I found this before I left on vacation, so the app was working for me while I was away.

Taking Chris’s suggestion, I also started using the Feedly iPhone app to follow all of the class blogs. I like the simplicity and the appearance of the interface, but I am not impressed by the functionality. It doesn’t update in real time. Posts I read in the morning show up new in the afternoon. Sometimes my own posts don’t show up for days. Comments as separate threads dilute original posts and are hard to follow. It would make infinitely more sense if it had a conversation view, like gmail. As an advantage, though, I can quickly get to an individual blog, if I want to see what a particular classmate has to say on an issue.

Slack ended up being the far more useful tool for keeping track of what everyone else in class was doing. I did make a fatal error in my slacking though: I didn’t break out of my shell and start posting until I got back from vacation, so barely anyone saw the posts I put up right before I left—I didn’t make optimal use of the tool.

Going forward, I am still using both tools, but I am still looking to Slack first, and only following up with Feedly.