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Productivity-Quest: How We Improved the Way We Work

Encouraged by the reaction of our community to the fitness quest that we have run recently, we decided to take a swing at improving our productivity in a series of fun challenges.

The goal was to try out different approaches to improving how we work and share our opinions on it.

We designed ProductivityQuest to be a 3-week collaborative Slack game and hoped for some interest. Instead, we got a ton of positive feedback, far more than we had dared expect.

The rules are simple...

Once again, like in the case of FitQuest, we brought along our superhero universe storyline. Every Monday and Thursday, we published on a dedicated channel in Slack a special quest to complete.

We based the whole storyline on the premise of savings trees on a distant planet from the evil forces of The Syndicate. Whenever someone completed a quest, we promised to donate $1 to https://retree.com — which comes down to us planting one tree.

The number of people participating was overwhelming. We even got people that are usually shy and not visible on Slack to take part.

To make things a bit harder, we also planted some traps here and there. For example, in the second challenge, whenever someone that completed the first challenge did not take part, the whole group would lose a tree.

Challenges

Here are the challenges that we designed for our community:

Week 1:

  • Monday to Wednesday: Complete at least 4 Pomodoros in a row (screenshot required!) to help your team focus on gathering more intel.
  • Thursday to Friday: Complete at least 2 hours of productive uninterrupted focus time (screenshot required) to decipher the collected bounty before the giant notices you.

If anyone from challenge 1 does not complete challenge 2, a tree will be stolen for each person who did not participate.

Week 2:

  • Monday to Wednesday: Share your story — tell everyone about the tool(s) you use on a daily basis for productivity/focus and how you use them (maybe you have a custom workflow, a set of lists, Trello boards, etc.) — required submission format is a Slack Post
  • Thursday to Friday: Try out a new tool and share what you have picked and how you like it — to make it more interesting we will reimburse the cost of it!

If anyone from Challenge 2 misses Challenge 3, trees will be uprooted and stolen at 2X per missed person

Week 3:

  • Monday to Wednesday: Create an Eisenhower Matrix for the following two days and work your way through it. Show screenshots of your progress.
  • Thursday to Friday: Inbox Zero Day — chow down as many mails in your inbox as possible. E.g., you can create automated filters to help you maintain your Inbox Zero — screenshots of inbox mail count before and after required. Share your filters setup if you can.

Here are some examples of how it went viral when people just started sharing their progress:

Gathered some pomodoros on our way Gathered some pomodoros on our way

We planted some virtual forests as well We planted some virtual forests as well

Shared some of our workflows and daily routines Shared some of our workflows and daily routines

Hacked the Eisenhower Matrix Hacked the Eisenhower Matrix

Or got rid of a bunch of emails Or got rid of a bunch of emails

Plant it!

It was a great success, and we managed to score 187 trees to be planted. We decided to round it up to $250 donated to the cause of Retree and spreading the amount by voting on trees to go to different countries. Also, every participant that completed every challenge in the quest was given three golden coins, which can be exchanged for X-Team Swag — 3 coins can get you an X-Team t-shirt. This was a great experience and we hope to run it once more. Stay tuned for Season 2...

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