Is the daily standup breaking your flow? Try replacing it with a simple message in a Slack

Why do I need to interrupt my flow just to tell others what I am doing?

It’s 8 AM, and its time to dive into some uninterrupted focus time. Time you dedicated for deep work where you do quality work. You know, the thing you were actually hired to do.

…then you have to call in to the daily standup at 9:00 AM.

Which always seem to happen when you just got into your flow state.

After the standup, the best part of your day is gone and your focus is shot to pieces. 🤯

So, should we simply cancel the standup?


Keeping your team updated on what you are working on IS important! And helping each other IS important!

So how do you keep all the good things from the daily standup while still allowing people to have their focus time intact?

Here is an easy way to replace your daily standup with a simple message in Slack. (with some guard rails)

1. Create a Slack channel for your daily goal

Create a channel in Slack called #one-thing-today with this as the Topic.

Where we tell each other what we are working on today and what we think would be a good step forward.

Check periodically to see if anyone needs help.

Instructions here:

Some ground rules

  • No posting of anything other than your stated goal for the day
  • Go here first when you are done with your other tasks
  • No @-mentioning anyone or anything

💡 Pro-Tip: The size of the task you want to take on should take about 75% of your day. That leaves time to help your team mates.

2. Post something every day (template)

Here is an easy structure for your daily post

Working on (big picture): 

I'd like to have this done at the end of the day:

An example of what that might look like

Working on: 
I am working on implementing the new design for the todo-items

I'd like to have this done at the end of the day:
I am currently struggling a little with aligning the check-marks that tells if you have completed a task or not with the text describing the task using CSS. 

If I can get them to align properly on both mobile and desktop, I would be happy because then Brad can start implementing the backend.

The good thing here is that when you ask for help, people can quickly read up on what you are working on.

3. Interact using reactions

🙋 to signal you need help (:raising_hand:)

Before you do this, create a comment on your own status describing what you are struggling with.

💡 Pro tip: Remember to ask for help by being clear about what you need help with. (Want better answers? Ask better questions!)

👀 to let others know you are helping (:eyes:)

To let other people know that they can continue focusing on their own tasks, add the 👀 -emoji as a reaction to the persons status.

💡 Pro tip: If you can’t help, simply remove your “eyes” from the status and keep the hand raised. Then someone else can jump in when they go “out of focus”.

✅ when you are done with your goal (:white_check_mark:)

This is mainly for you to signal to yourself that you reached your goal. Time to give yourself a treat!

If you find yourself not adding the checkmark to your status, take some time to reflect on what may be the cause of it.

  • Are you spending a lot of time helping others?
  • Are you not really sure what is expected from you?
  • Are you a backender and the tasks are frontend heavy?

💡 Pro tip: When you see the checkmark on someone else’s status, write an encouraging reply. A simple “Yay!!!” goes a long way.

4. Now automate the whole thing

Create a reminder for yourself to write something every day

/remind me Write my #one-thing-today at 9:00 every day

Create a reminder to check if anyone needs help

/remind me Check #one-thing-today in 45 minutes

To sum things up

If your team goal is for everyone to forward towards a goal, there should be a white checkmark on each persons status update.

If not, you can dig a little deeper.

The next retro you can think about, “are we not helping each other enough?” or “are our requirements not clear enough?”.

The way Slack is organised, you can clearly follow how everyones week went. Use that as input to your retro.

Next steps

Try this for a sprint and see if it can replace your daily stand up and tell me about your experience from your experiment. Good or bad!

Shoot me an email at