Multitask Less and Achieve More

Does it sometimes feel like you’re working a lot, yet you can’t get anything done? Don’t worry, you most certainly are not alone. I also used to suffer from a sickness I like to call serious multitasking. It’s quite closely related to the lack of concentration, idling and running aimlessly. I’ve come to the conclusion that serious multitasking seems to be on the increase, because for one information worker there simply are too many things to do and follow simultaneously.

Regarding work and especially results, serious multitasking is destructive, as the most serious symptom of serious multitasking is that nothing ever seems to be completed. This leads to an unhappy circle of events: when you can’t score off anything from your To-Do list, you won’t get the experiences of success, which eventually leads to decrease in motivation.

Luckily there’s a cure for this disease. I started my healing process immediately after joining Cloudriven. Although some of the symptoms still apper from time to time, I feel relieved and – most importantly – I can score off tasks from my To-Do list every week. For people suffering from a serious case of multitasking, I recommend the following three point treatment.

1) Manage Weeks, Not Years

Our CEO Jukka has said that change can’t be managed over a weekend. If actions are not monitored weekly, temptation to procrastinate is way too big. Loose and long deadlines tend to make us passive, because by nature we underestimate the time that is needed to perform a task. On a weekly basis it’s also easy to confirm, that we all are doing right and meaningful things that support the shared goals.

At Cloudriven we naturally have certain strategic goals and metrics. Instead of monitoring the metrics once a quartal or a year, we keep track of the metrics weekly by using our own Habit designed for performance management. This way we can react fast to changes and our employees’ motivation and engagement will stay high, because we can concretely see that our actions have consequences.

Our actions have a direct effect on the strategic metrics of the company.

Our actions have a direct effect on the strategic metrics of the company.

2) Choose Three Things You Promise to Deliver

The five day work week is surprisingly short, whereas a year feels like a lifetime. Yet, there are only 52 weeks in a year and at least four of those the worker spends on holiday. In average there are approximately 47 work weeks in a calendar year.

We’ve come to the conclusion that you should only concentrate on three things per week. That is why we promise in our Monday meeting to finish three tasks. The amount of tasks might sound small but in addition each of us has also other work-related responsibilities which take time. The trickiest part is to choose tasks of the right size: if you’re too greedy, time runs out. Thanks to our management system, I’ve developed a clear understanding of what I can achieve during one work week. This makes personal time management a lot easier.

47 weeks x 3 tasks = 141 accomplished tasks in a year. Serious multitasking doesn’t bring you these kinds of figures!

3) Create Positive Social Pressure to Motivate

Every Monday in our weekly “laputus” meeting (laputus is Finnish and means the act of sticking notes on a wall) we go through the tasks of last and beginning week. Positive social pressure is created, when everyone can briefly report about their doings. It’s always nicer to tell about achievements than explain away why you haven’t been able to finish the tasks. We write the three tasks down on Post-It notes and we return to them next Monday.

We also follow the tasks in our own Habit. You get points for every accomplished Post-It note and it’s easy to check from the results view, how many have reached their weekly target. To make a point of giving points, you can buy small prizes (for example, a bottle of sparkling) from the Habit point store.

We report and monitor strategic metrics in Habit on a weekly basis.

We report and monitor strategic metrics in Habit on a weekly basis.

In Habit, positive social pressure is being created with an encouraging competition. You get points for accomplishing tasks.

In Habit, positive social pressure is being created with an encouraging competition. You get points for accomplishing tasks.

You can buy small prizes from the point store.

You can buy small prizes from the point store.

So seriously, stop multitasking and start achieving! We’d be glad to tell you more tips about increasing your own and your team’s productivity. Leave your e-mail address and we’ll offer you FREE first aid for the most acute emergency.

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Software Development Company Cloudriven Aims for Rapid Growth

Jukka Koskenkanto seeks growth in internationalization.

Jukka Koskenkanto seeks growth in internationalization.

Cloudriven expands its business operations to North American markets during the next two years. Growth Track helps with the challenges internationalization might bring forth.

Cloudriven, Finnish software company specialized in gamified system solutions, has been accepted to take part in Growth Track service coordinated by the Ministry of Employment and the Economy. Cloudriven aims to get a firm foothold in the North American and European markets during the next two years. A designated Growth Pilot maps out the public funding and expert services that best fit the company’s needs and helps to boost fast growth and internationalization.

”Finland is a great product development market for us, but we seek growth abroad. For example, the potential in the US market is huge”, says Cloudriven’s CEO Jukka Koskenkanto.

Last year Cloudriven received funding from Tekes’s Skene program to develop company’s internationalization strategy, business model and gamified business solution platform. The plans are put into action in the coming years and participation in Growth Track supports the internationalization efforts.

The first phase of the internationalization strategy launches in the fall 2014 when Cloudriven starts to map out potential partners in the United States. Especially partners in the coaching and training industry are being searched for.

“We plan to launch a new coaching and training service product during the fall. The web service makes it easy and fun for everyone to develop their own skills and competencies”, says Koskenkanto.

The other cutting edge product in the internationalization strategy is Habit Behavior Engine which works as a gamified tool to manage behavior and performance. It can be used to enforce desired actions by giving instant feedback. Habit has received good response in Finland and the demand for gamified business solutions is high in the international markets as well: gamification has already been at the peak of Gartner’s hype cycle for couple of years.

Additional information
CEO Jukka Koskenkanto, Cloudriven Oy, tel. 050 560 4607

Additional information about Growth Track
Development Manager Minna Andersson, Tekes, tel. 050 5577 529

Trainers’ House Gamified Change Management

To offer better support for their clients’ change management initiatives Trainers’ House developed an innovative, gamified coaching tool Pulse with Cloudriven. “We wanted to think big and decided to introduce something completely unique in the coaching industry. We polished the Pulse service concept together with Cloudriven’s top-notch professionals. They understood quickly our needs and bravely suggested us new ideas concerning gamification”, says Antti Kiukas, Chief Innovation Officer at Trainers’ House.

Information Worker Has a Lot to Learn But Never Enough Time

“Learning is a new form of labor.”
– Shoshana Zuboff

Information worker’s chaotic desktop fills up with problems which don’t have a simple solution. There’s just a huge amount of information: e-mails, meetings, tweets, opinions, text, images, videos, good news and bad news, strategies and definitions of policies. And we shouldn’t forget the Excel-tables. Using your best analysis skills and creativity you should be able to give birth to something new and innovative from this cornucopia of sources. That is, you should find a solution.

It’s impossible to separate learning from work in today’s world

It’s impossible to separate learning from work in today’s world. Studying isn’t anymore a strictly defined part of life, which precedes working life. Especially in information work, executing tasks successfully requires constant learning and adoption of new things, because the problems at hand seldom are similar in content or even by nature. For example, consultant’s every project assignment is different, economist has to keep track of the changes affecting economy and development manager has to know the latest technology and business trends.

“I’m in a hurry, I don’t have time for that.” Does it sound familiar? One of the reasons why we are not actively developing our own competencies even if we want to, is that we simply don’t have time for it. We spend our working hours and maybe even a bit of our spare time doing routine tasks which leave us no time for learning, although the manager has given us permission to use working hours for studying during the mandatory development discussion. “We’re really investing in our employees competencies. We’re expecting you to actively find ways to develop yourself, even during the working hours.” When your calendar is full of client and in-house meetings and your ToDo-list is longer than an old man’s beard, developing your own skills and competencies is not the first thing to spring to mind. How to find time for learning when you don’t have any time left?

In network society, knowledge is fragmented and the production of knowledge scattered. The efficient use of knowledge requires close collaboration with different experts and professionals. The amount of data is expected to tenfold by 2020 to a staggering 44 billion gigabytes. Analysis of this vast information mass can’t be done merely by one Analyst, not even if you’re a Senior Analyst. Knowledge doesn’t reside just in one person’s head, rather knowledge is being made in interaction with others. On the other hand, the competition on labour markets is fierce and you have to be proud of your own skills and competencies and try to stand out from the crowd. How to build productive collaboration but still stand out from others?

What about motivation? Anu wrote in our previous blog post that motivation plays a big role in learning. Learning results of a motivated learner are noticeably better than of learners’ who consider learning as just a necessity. Daniel Pink proves in his widely read (yet very little understood) book Drive: The Surprising Truth About Motivation, that money and rewards boost better performance only in simple, performance-based work, whereas using such external motivators in tasks that require problem solving skills and creativity may even deteriorate performance levels. Information worker’s motivation for both work and learning can be found somewhere else: namely in Purpose, Mastery and Autonomy.

Time management, collaboration, motivation. How can you use these three elements to enhance learning in your organization? Here are some tips:

  • Make self-learning as easy as possible, for example short videos work well as learning material
  • Guide the learner and ensure the learning process is ascending and goal-directed
  • Let the learner monitor his own learning progress, so that he remains motivated
  • Give the learner instant feedback
  • It’s more fun to learn together and it also increases learning motivation and results
  • Make learning possible wherever and whenever by offering learning materials for mobile phones and tablets

These remarks have lead to the development of our own gamified Habit for eLearning concept. What do you think? How can we make it easier to develop our own competencies in the workplace?

SharePoint Concept Based on Habit One of the Finalists at the European SharePoint Community Awards

Gravity is based on Cloudriven's Habit

Get to know Gravity by clicking the image

Cloudriven’s trusted partner and one of the best SharePoint experts in Europe, Peaches Industries, is among the finalists of the European SharePoint Community Awards. The Gravity concept by Peaches is nominated in the Best Social Strategy category.

Gravity is based on Cloudriven’s gamified Habit solution. Gravity will help you to learn how to use SharePoint fast and you’ll adopt the benefits of the system quickly. Getting employees to use SharePoint productively is a challenge in many organizations and one of the reasons is the lack of training after the deployment of the system; users are not well aware of the versatile features and benefits of SharePoint. Gravity guides, instructs and encourages employees to find out the most meaningful and useful tools and features of SharePoint regarding their own work. Gravity transforms SharePoint use into an exhilarating and ascending journey!

The father of the concept is Jussi Mori from Peaches, SharePoint MVP (Microsoft’s Most Valuable Professional), whose ideas you can read more about in his earlier blog post SharePoint Smooth Onboarding and User Adoption with Gamification.