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The young CEO with a new take on productivity

Meet the efficient corporate leader with a fresh approach to distractions. Her secrets? Handwriting, notification blockades, and nourishment for the brain.

7 min read

Efficiency is popular for a reason. The day only has so many hours, after all, and there’s just something immensely satisfying about getting stuff done. At least, that’s the opinion of Tine Charlotte Holm. She’s the CEO of Oslo Market Solutions, a firm that specializes in providing and maintaining IT services for the financial sector.

“I get very stressed out when things take too long. I’ve always challenged myself to complete tasks as quickly as possible — you could say I’m obsessed with efficiency,” she says.

Her career trajectory has been impressive, starting out in event and music management, before moving into her CEO role at the age of just 26. Five years on, she’s overseeing the company’s quest to become the go-to IT provider for banks and stock markets in the Nordic countries.

Not wanting to stagnate, Holm decided to pursue an MBA in Technology and Innovation of Finance on top of her demanding CEO position.

“At one point, I started to feel a little too comfortable in this job, and I realized I needed to challenge myself more. Then I found this degree, which not only aligned with my interests, but also benefits this company in the long run.”

Tine Holm’s methods for maintaining a busy schedule include note-taking, to-do lists, and exploring and developing ideas. It’s all done by hand on her reMarkable paper tablet.
Tine Holm’s methods for maintaining a busy schedule include note-taking, to-do lists, and exploring and developing ideas. It’s all done by hand on her reMarkable paper tablet.

The manner in which Holm manages her career and coursework, is a testament to both her productivity skills and her no-nonsense approach to time-wasting. It goes to show that even the most challenging schedule can be mastered with the right attitude, method, and tools at your disposal.

No time for distractions

“It’s amazing how much you can get done in a few hours on a Sunday morning if you just stay focused,” she says.

The first step to using your time efficiently, says Holm, is eliminating interruptions — especially phone notifications, which she has turned off during working and studying hours.

“I mean, how much can you really get done while twelve people are planning their next meetup in the group chat?”

She has science backing her up — studies suggest it can take the brain as much as 23 minutes to regain focus after a minor distraction.

That’s why she sticks to handwriting as much as possible: note-taking, to-do lists, and exploring and developing ideas is all done by hand on her reMarkable paper tablet.

“It liberates me from notifications and distractions when I work. Plus, I feel like writing by hand helps me learn and retain information.”

She’s also very conscious of how she approaches meetings and almost never brings a computer, preferring to rely on handwritten notes.

“Here’s the thing: If you want an efficient meeting, you need everybody’s focus at one hundred percent, which means you can’t have notifications and emails stealing people’s attention.”

Fresh air

In the name of efficiency, all employees of Oslo Market Solutions get one day a month to work on whatever they like. The idea is that by allowing their brain to drift, when they return to what they were doing they can attack their projects with fresh focus, resulting in a more effective workplace overall.

Whether it’s related to their job role or not is entirely irrelevant. It’s a whole day dedicated to letting their minds breathe, and their imaginations and intellects roam free.

The only requirement is that they have something to show for it at the end, be it poetry, a Lego castle or an app idea. Employees have developed a dashboard tracking who’s on vacation, a tool to monitoring stocks in VR, and a bot to tell them if the weather is good enough to lunch outside.

All employees of Oslo Market Solutions get one day a month to work on whatever they like. The only requirement is that they have something to show for it at the end.
All employees of Oslo Market Solutions get one day a month to work on whatever they like. The only requirement is that they have something to show for it at the end.

“It’s been incredibly beneficial. We’ve seen developers take this opportunity to create things that make their workday easier, which has huge benefits for us in the long run,” Holm says.

The effect on employer satisfaction is just as important to Holm, who is a firm believer in the importance of happiness at work.

“When I started here as CEO, I was told that I had three goals: keeping the owners happy, keeping the clients happy, and keeping the employees happy. To me, that’s not the right order.

I think it’s best to start with the employees. Keep them happy, and they’ll create better products, which will keep our current clients satisfied, and help us attract new ones. That increases our revenue, which in turn makes the owners happy.”


Quick facts:

Who?

  • Tine Charlotte Holm, CEO of Oslo Market Solutions
  • Corporate superstar, appointed CEO at 26 years old
  • Self-described efficiency nerd, hates time-wasting and distractions

Uses reMarkable for…

  • Taking notes in meetings, developing ideas, writing to-do lists
  • Sketching plans for her new home office
  • Doing an MBA: Taking lecture notes, annotating class readings, visualizing project ideas, drafting papers

Favorite features:

  • Text conversion: “Everyone is really impressed when I send out meeting summaries minutes after we’ve left the room”
  • The human element: “A laptop screen creates barriers. With reMarkable, I can take notes and look people in the eye at the same time.”
  • The wow factor: “It’s a wonderful ice breaker in meetings. Clients are usually very curious about it.”
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