My yoga studio, which I have been visiting for many years, now works with participant lists: I have to call up front, be put on a list and if something comes up and I cancel, my place cannot be filled at short notice. Often I didn‘t attended a course because I forget to call or the whole procedure is too exhausting. After all, the studio is not accessible around the clock. The new requirments in corona times are particularly difficult to implement for smaller studios.

Especially corona times of course made the organization of clubs and studios even more difficult, but in principle one has to say that it is not easy to coordinate many members and large teams. Mostly, communication channels of choice are emails and group chats. Emails are slow because you have to wait for an answer forever; eventually it even ends up in the recipient’s spam folder and is therefore completely lost forever.

Group chats … gives me goose bumps. So confusing! Information easily gets lost, because in a long conversation nobody ends up knowing what was discussed or what was agreed upon. If a document has been shared, you can be sure to never find it again among the flow of conversation. If I do not take part in an appointment, I am still in the group chat and will be bombarded with messages that do not interest me.

 

The challenges in organizing larger teams and groups clearly lie in the way of communication and sharing information about appointments and their coordination.

Wouldn’t it be much easier to have a calendar in which you can create appointments, share them with everyone and discuss exactly this appointment in a chat room? In addition, a data storage for documents and other information.

That is exactly what timee is created for. My yoga studio for instance could work like this: create a course date, set the number of participants, share “Monday Vinyasa Flow” with everyone. Members can then immediately accept or cancel, the waiting list moves up automatically. The studio has an overview of who is participating and who is not without having to keep complicated lists.

A chat is attached to each course to discuss various things. It is also possible for the trainer to put “homework” or training plans in the data storage for download.

With timee, the studio can also conveniently share duty rosters among employees. Shifts can be swopped via the chat.

And what is in it for me? I no longer have to call the studio and can easily click on “participate” in the app. I have synchronized my private calendar with the timee calendar, so my yoga class is entered automatically form e to not miss it. That definitely makes my life easier and saves time and energy.

Let’s start with defining the word “communication”. That is the imparting or exchanging of information by speaking, writing, or using some other medium and sending or receiving information, such as telephone lines or computers.

Language developed some 50-150.000 years ago. That’s a pretty long time ago the homo sapiens managed to speak amongst each other already. Not everything we blurt out makes sense per se but isn’t it amazing how we accomplished to learn even different languages and dialects?

If I gossip with my friend, write a love letter, chat with my brother on timee, or type an email to my colleague – all these forms are shapes of communication. And not to forget the unsaid, the read-between-the-lines, the facial expressions. There is verbal, digital, written and unsaid interaction. Keep all of this in mind when interacting with people.

Team communication

Now, if you work in a business surrounding where you have to manage a lot of people or where it is essential to work productively as a team, team communication is the key to efficiency. Why? Because in order to achieve our goals, exchanging information and interacting in one kind or another with each other is inevitable. Face-to-face time with all the team members will make them more familiar with each other and helps to overcome boundaries. If you know a person, you’re more likely to put more quality in the content you share, and this will lead to a better performance of the team overall.

Why is communication important in a team?

 

Another important beneficial factor of a good communication in a team is that it will save time and money. If you’re able to implement a team communication strategy high in quality with a constant workflow, people will cut back on inefficient (email) messages. Emailing is too static and causes too much delay in feedback and answering response. A mobile team communication app like timee is perfect to gain quick reactions. If everybody has the same picture they can perform best as a team.

Summing up, good team communication needs a shared tool to work with in order to not loose valuable information. This will make every team member happy and confident because they can share their ideas and information and get a quick response as well. Work on one single platform, discuss, chat, share documents, build project groups and process the whole team’s interaction through one tool. This will help to organize the entire crew.

Next, we’ll talk about how team communication strategies should look like.

timee is a quantum leap in the appointment and event organization with DSGVO-compliant premium chat. 

Nursing services swear by it, event agencies are totally enthusiastic and even associations and club use timee. 

With timee, the appointment and event organization becomes easier than ever, and communication and the sending of sensitive data is finally secure. Because timee – the innovative app that is integrated on nearly one million Samsung handsets, is DSGVO compliant! 

timee is a new type of smartphone application that is used to quickly and easily create appointments/events (including a date for a birthday party, wedding, etc.) and allow to communicate directly with each other with all data protected. 

timee combines the structural advantages of a calendar with the dynamics and speed of an instant messenger. It is an ideal solution for organizing appointments and communicating with entire teams, departments and groups. timee’s premium chat makes it possible for the first time to request an active read confirmation for particularly sensitive and important data. 

One of possible applications: An event is scheduled for which you would like to invite employees/colleagues/friends and share important information. In timee you simply create the event and forward the link via email, messenger or sth similar. Pressing this link leads to the installation of timee, whereupon the event is automatically opened. Every invited person can now participate, follow or reject, which is clearly displayed in a participants list. In addition, all participants are then automatically networked with each other and able to share important information, documents, news, etc. in a breeze. 

All this is done in a few steps and eliminates the annoying questions once and for all, when or where an appointment takes place or what documents are to be prepared.

Time management isn’t easy. Everyone’s dream is to have more time. More time to carry out tasks at work, for a hobby, for the family, for yourself. However, not everyone knows that it comes to the use of a few tricks and in fact, the day will be longer.

Why is time management important ? 

How often do you say, “I don’t have time,” “I wish the day lasted more than 24 hours”? Such statements usually do not come from too many responsibilities, but from the lack of good time management. Time is not flexible, it cannot be stretched or extended. So how do you manage it, so that these dilemmas disappear from our lives?

Time management tips

Time management – PLANNING

An important step that many people forget about when preparing plan is to analyze the days or weeks baseline. We don’t always know how long we have been doing an activity, that is why we put too many responsibilities in the day’s schedule.

Appropriate analysis of the situation is first and foremost an accurate description of how much time we spend on specific activities: checking emails, preparing a report, returning home, eating dinner, etc.

The second stage of proper planning of your day is to create a “to do” list, i.e. list the things to do on a specific day / week and to sort tasks from the most important and most urgent to those less important that can be done later. Organizing the hierarchy of tasks is called Eisenhower matrix, thanks to which we will know our priorities for a given day. To do it, try our app, download timee for iOS or android version depending on the type of your device.

Time management – SYSTEMATICS

Success in effective time management depends on our regularity, this is why it is important to perform scheduled tasks within a specified period of time. Failure to comply with the established rules knocks us out of the rhythm and hinders the execution of scheduled tasks. A good way to avoid this problem is to leave yourself a couple of leisure hours in the evening – this will be our personal reward for the effort put into systematic completion of the plan during the day.

Best time management apps

The big advantage of time management applications is that we can actually use them from anywhere. Three hardcover calendars and a file of notes is a heavy burden that we can’t always take with us, whereas to use the application often all you need is only a smartphone and sometimes internet access.  

If you’re looking for the best time management app, you should try timee. The simplest calendar for business, associations and clubs or individuals, with many social functions and team management functionalities.

Only people who have got nowhere have time.
This way, they got farer than everybody else.

Guareschi

Let’s pause for a moment. What does this quote trigger? Did we agree with the first part, in which having (too) much free time is equaled with a lack of success? Maybe we thought of our full schedules and of our desire for having more time for the beautiful things in life – which we never grant us because of the many obligations urging on us. Who wants to be successful has to perform!

What then triggers the second part of the quote?

Giovannino Guareschi, a journalist, caricaturist, and the author of the wonderfully trenchant narratives about “Don Camillo and Peppone” was masterly in revealing discrepancies and visualize them with a wink.

Humans as Factors

Performance is crucial. This precept has shaped us socially; for the most of us it has become their own view and an inner motivator. It urges us and causes us to consistently set ourselves new aims to be reached. Sometimes however, it lets us forget what really helps to shape our lives meaningfully: the people around us. In our pressure to perform humans are often regarded as obstacles on the road to success or as means helping to accomplish goals. If we cleave to this view however, we have already forgot, that all essential achievements, all outstanding performances, but also all joys in life in the first place are made possible by relationships. We are all changed by interaction with our fellow human beings, which in turn makes development happen. Entirely new aspects emerge. Never perceptible perspectives can only be adopted by these interdependent vigors. Someone who beholds humans as factors and thinks he/she is able to perform independently from others, is off the track. It’s not solitary decisions, but communication, empathy, and fascination, which help us on.

Competencies as key to Success?

Time management systems, which should help us to work more efficiently and to use our time even better, behold competency development as a prerequisite for effective time management and higher quality of life. But what exactly means competency? In management literature of the last decades this term has been used as a conglomeration of abilities, skills, and experiences, as preparedness to and results from actions, with a mingle of preconditions and consequences of behavior relevant for success. From an economic psychological point of view competencies are seen as holistic manifestations of practically relevant abilities. Thereby we are approaching the core of the meaning, which can also be found in ancient and timeless heritages of all cultures: Real personal effectiveness is not achieved by an endless perfection of one’s skills, but derives from a combination of prowess and disposition. Personal development and character building are the key to a meaningful life.

Success and Happiness

Does success make us happy? People who lead sober and simple lives often seem to us as exceptionally happy. This observation – together with Guareschi’s quote – could lead us to the assumption that true happiness can only be found in very ordinary circumstances. From close up however, this view is more often used as an excuse with which we, as members of highly developed meritocracies and prosperous societies, are justifying the fact that wealth is extremely disparately and injustly distributed. Contrary to this, findings of research on happiness indicate that material security and professional success are important factors for happiness. Why then are so few of us happy? Maybe we are much too often our own enemies. Before asking: “Am I doing it right?”, we should pose the question: “Am I doing the right thing?” Instead of getting lost in perfection we should lower our inflated expectations, see the big picture, and be flexible and willing to compromise. Timely relaxation and interesting discussions with others will allow us not only to work more effectively, but also to acknowledge important things.

Maybe then the achiever in us sometimes feels as if he/she has got nowhere. And still, we have got farer.

References:

Covey, S. R., Merrill, A. R., & Merrill, R. R. (1995). First things first. New York: Simon and Schuster.

Hanisch, H. (2012). Soft Skills-Knigge 2100: Soziale Kompetenz, Persönlichkeit, Selbstmanagement. Norderstedt: Books on Demand GmbH.

Meyer, A.-M. (2004). Die Macht der Kürze: das 1×1 der Realität. Norderstedt: Books on Demand GmbH.

Schuler, H. (2006). Arbeits- und Anforderungsanalyse. Lehrbuch der Personalpsychologie, 2, 45-68. Göttingen: Hogrefe

Nothing is more responsible for the good old days than a bad memory.

France

“Everything was better in the old days…“

Know this saying? How often has it made our eyes roll, yet? – And how often have we caught ourselves in thinking it? Even if we suffered from peer pressure or some teacher’s despotism when we were children, as adults we long for the lightheartedness of our childhood and youth. Parents of adolescents think their present difficulties much more serious than their former, when problems were sleepless nights and stomach aches. Older people, even if they experienced hardship and privation, nostalgically remember the times when they were young and healthy.

The French author Anatole France lived in the 19th century; he couldn’t know of the findings of modern brain research. Still, he found the right words to describe this phenomenon.

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The Constructive Mind

Why do we transfigure our past into the “good old times”? In order to answer this question it is helpful to know something about of the function of episodic memory. Our ability to retrieve past experiences allows us a kind of “mental time travel”. However, memories aren’t filed as consistent and exact mental images of certain episodes, even though it seems to us our memories are stored like a kind of movie recording. Rather episode are retained in separate elements. When retrieved, memories are formed by a recombination of these discrete information units. This makes our brains exceedingly flexible and efficient, it gives rise to memory errors though. We don’t have to be police officers or prosecutors to be able to imagine the problems arising from different witnesses’ statements of people who witnessed the exact same incident and remember it differently.

Protective Function of Memory Errors

Even if our memory is fragmentary and defective: The constructive functionality of our memories accomplishes an important task. It protects us against bitterness and depression. A mental excursion into the “good old days” typically is emotional, intense, and lively. We play the lead ourselves, and negative situations become better and better the longer we dwell on them. That way, our brains shelter us from bad mood.

Create Memories

Now, should we just wait in the confidence of the automatic transformation of all our negative experiences into positive ones? We can surely depend on the universal functioning of our brains; nevertheless, we can contribute to our experience of the here and now as good days: meeting friends and splitting ours sides laughing, dancing our hearts out, coming together with others and having wonderful times…

This way, today will become “good old times” even without memory errors.

References:

Bartsch, T. (Ed.). (2013). Gedächtnisstörungen: Diagnostik und Rehabilitation. Berlin: Springer.

Sedikides, C., Wildschut, T., Arndt, J., & Routledge, C. (2008). Nostalgia past, present, and future. Current Directions in Psychological Science, 17(5), 304-307.

Put your hand on a hot stove for a minute, and it seems like an hour. Sit with a pretty girl for an hour, and it seems like a minute. That’s relativity.

Einstein

Remember those sheer endless seeming math or English lessons? This virtually limitless treasure of free days lying ahead of us at the beginning of summer holidays which, looking back seemed much too short? When watching children dividing the waiting time until a special event into “only x more sleeps”, while for adults the time until the same event slips like sand through their fingers – do we ever wonder why time perception can be so much different?

The physicist and Nobel Prize winner Albert Einstein summarized his observation of time perception in his “alternative” theory of relativity, but he neither could give us a satisfactory explanation.

The Internal Clock

One thing is certain: We don’t have a sensory organ which is responsible for time measurement. Nevertheless, many of our perceptions and the reactions to them are strongly dependent on us estimating time correctly. How could we dare to cross a street without being able to anticipate, if we will make it before the next car arrives? How could we plan any activities without knowing at least roughly how long they will take? Although researching for years, scientists still don’t agree on how exactly we perceive time periods. Some assume that our perception of time periods results from an assigned clockwork-like neuronal mechanism; others hypothesize that time periods are coded in easily accessible form as a specific and ubiquitous feature of neuronal activity. In one thing they agree though: time perception requires attention to a certain degree. This could explain why some activities seem to us particularly long, others exceptionally short.

Factors Influencing Time Perception

Time perception is a cognitive process. Our brains have to allocate attention to it, even if we aren’t aware of it. Time perception therefore is dependent on how much attention can be assigned to it and on how much additional information has to be processed simultaneously. The more other information processing procedures are performed, the less attention is available for time perception, so that we finally estimate time incorrectly. If we are busy with things we are much interested in, our brains can only process few time units, and we underestimate time intervals. The time flies.

Additionally, time perception is – as well as all other cognitive processes – influenced by our emotions: by our arousal and the fact, if we feel good or bad at present. In low arousal, positive emotions will cause an overestimation of time periods, while negative emotions will make us feel like time is flying. If we are highly aroused however, positive emotions will effect in an underestimation of time periods. Hence, we possess two different “time systems”, of which one is responsible for situations of low arousal, the other becomes relevant in situations of high arousal. This is explained by the fact, that for our ancestors already time perception in situations with low arousal and negative emotions loomed large. In such incidents they had to decide, whether to fight or flight. A differential processing of time units hence was vital.

Making Time Fly

Even if we don’t yet exactly know how our brain measures time, we normally have a very good instinct for what to do to have a good time. If our professional life is full of never ending meetings and long-winded reports, we should at least plan activities for our leisure time which we will enjoy, which will fascinate and inspire us.

This only has one drawback: Time will go by in a flash.

References:

Angrilli, A., Cherubini, P., Pavese, A., & Manfredini, S. (1997). The influence of affective factors on time perception. Perception & psychophysics, 59(6), 972-982.

Ivry, R. B., & Schlerf, J. E. (2008). Dedicated and intrinsic models of time perception. Trends in cognitive sciences, 12(7), 273-280.

Life is short. Not because of its short duration, but rather because of this short period there is not enough left to enjoy it.

J.-J. Rousseau

“When was the last time I felt really happy?“ – When wondering about this question most of us think of a certain experience: the day we met our partner for the first time, the last pay raise, the moment we drove our brand-new car. It is the same for many, if we ask ourselves when we expect to be happy again. For children this may be this one and special birthday present they long for, for adults it may be the next promotion they have been aiming at for so long. Most of us are chasing after certain events hoping to be happy again. But what’s with the time between? How is our answer, if asked: “Am I happy now?”

Jean-Jacques Rousseau, author and philosopher, not only was an important pioneer for the French Revolution, but with his ethical basic position revealed ways still took up by behavioral scientists and psychologists when investigating the question what can make us truly and permanently happy: Instead of establishing general rules, he showed what interest an individual has in acting in the sense of community.

The phenomenon of Hedonic Adaptation

Most people have a certain objective in mind and are working hard to achieve it finally. When we reach this goal, this leads to an increase in our perception of satisfaction. We feel happy – unfortunately however, only temporary. Ultimately we find ourselves back in the initial situation and are as happy (or unhappy) as before. This quickly leads us to aim for the next goal: Again, we spend a lot of time and energy to reach it in the hope to experience a new moment of happiness.

Behavioral scientists call this phenomenon „hedonic adaptation“ and it actually has its advantages. On the one hand, it encourages us to set ever new targets, to make progress and to explore new things. On the other, with negative experiences it works as self-healing mechanism. Because after setbacks and disappointments, we sooner or later find ourselves in the initial situation as well and learn to get over negative events.

This explains why alas, we accustom to positive experiences, too; why after a short period in which we perceive it so intensely, happiness disappears.

The Struggle against habituation

If “hedonic adaptation“ is a fully natural and party beneficial mechanism, does this mean we are helplessly exposed to it? Can’t we ever raise our satisfaction lastingly?

Yes and no.

Natural processes will always have their effects on us, will influence our thought, actions, and feelings. If we don’t actively oppose them, we are exposed to them, indeed. However, they can impose their greatest impact when they work in completely unconscious minds. This in turn gives us a chance to oppose them: The first step is to live more consciously.

If we take positive events or twists of fate for granted, we won’t be able to appreciate them. If we let others determine our goals, e.g. if we strive for more income or recognition instead of being led by our own curiosity or self-respect, neither the achievement nor the way to it will make us happy. Heading for the next goal leads us to miss the many daily opportunities to act in the sense of community, as Rousseau proposed. Put simply: We miss the options to give small moments of happiness to others. When was the last time we gave our seat to someone else in the subway? When did we offer help without being asked? When did we provide our partners with a bit of happiness without there being a special occasion?

In all action and striving it is the little things which make a difference. They don’t cost any money, however, mindfulness, rethinking, and change of behavior patterns often cost a lot of effort. The reward though is priceless: We will enjoy our time.

References:

Frederick, S., & Loewenstein, G. (1999). Hedonic adaptation. in: Well-being: The foundations of hedonic psychology. D. Kahneman, E. Diener, N. Schwarz (Eds.). New York, NY, US: Russell Sage Foundation, xii, 593 pp.

Papies, E. K., Barsalou, L. W., & Custers, R. (2012). Mindful attention prevents mindless impulses. Social Psychological and Personality Science, 3(3), 291-299.

Never put off till tomorrow what you can do the day after tomorrow just as well.

Twain

“But tomorrow I’m really getting started!“

Dealing with disagreeable duties, starting a new diet, finally going in for sports … Time and again we are postponing countless things without ever getting started. Postponing annoying or inconvenient duties has become an illness treated by psychotherapists using cognitive-behavioral interventions including modules to learn timely starting and planning.

Samuel Langhorne Clemens, the US-American author better known under his pseudonym Mark Twain, told us wonderful stories which became so very lively through his exact observation of social conduct. He however, bore another form of postponement in mind, since procrastination can also be beneficial.

Time Pressure and Loss of Control

Why are so many time management-workshops and seminars so very seldom of practical use? Even if we follow the advice of time management-experts by delegating less important tasks, by applying Occam ‘s razor, by reserving time periods in which we are not available for others – still, many of us feel as if they have less and less time. From an objective point of view we have more leisure time than ever before – however, we feel overworked. Where does this felt time pressure come from?

Neurobiologists examined the brains of test persons while they were set under stress. The scientists found that in stressful situations the prefrontal cortex, the part of the brain which is located directly behind the forehead and is (inter alia) responsible for action control, planning, and problem solving, loses its ability to discriminate between important and unimportant information. Therefore, we lose track and take wrong decisions. Quickly, there will be the feeling of losing control over situations and own actions.

Moreover, the same neuro-chemical processes responsible for paralyzing the prefrontal cortex stimulate the amygdala. This neuronal complex is located in the anterior part of the temporal lobe and plays an essential role in the emergence, recognition, and activation of physical reactions to anxiety. In other words, the amygdala is responsible, when we have our hearts in our mouths, if faced with a dangerous situation. In association with stress this means, we react more emotional; we develop a feeling of fear – and this will in turn lead to even more stress.

Suspending, Postponing, saying: “No“

Studies investigating workload show that employees on average are occupied with twelve tasks simultaneously. This leads to high pressure no one can stand permanently. The word “permanently” represents the problem and at the same time presents a possible solution: For short interruptions of work bring about a great difference. Scientific research conducted by information scientists and psychologists show, that people who break in on their work are able to carry out their tasks without any loss of quality and even faster than people who work continuously. Short postponements are therefore doing more good than harm.

Time cannot be multiplied. Thus, there is only a limited number of activities fitting in one single day. Sometimes the very simple solution for time problems is therefore the most challenging one for the most of us: We have to learn to say: “No”. For this as well our brains have to be able to distinguish between important and unimportant matters.

Unimportant things which we could do tomorrow or the day after anyway, we could then cancel completely and instead start with the important things which we have postponed for so long.

Links, helping to postpone:

http://t3n.de/news/prokrastination-webseiten-zeit-totschlagen-552629/

References:

Arnsten, A. F. (2009). Stress signalling pathways that impair prefrontal cortex structure and function. Nature Reviews Neuroscience, 10(6), 410-422.

Mark, G., Gudith, D., & Klocke, U. (2008, April). The cost of interrupted work: more speed and stress. In Proceedings of the SIGCHI conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems (pp. 107-110). ACM.

“Ours is the hour only. And an hour, if happy, is much.“

Fontane

Don’t we know these moments in which we feel totally off balance, in which we desperately long for more free time, time for ourselves – and still, we don’t take time off because of fear that our jobs could be negatively affected or our families will come off badly? Do we enjoy happy hours now and then or are our days so full of urgencies, thus we cannot enjoy life anymore?

Theodor Fontane was working as a pharmacist, private teacher, journalist, theatre critic, editor, press correspondent; not least he was one of the most important German authors. Surely, his life must have been exhausting sometimes, his days must have been full of work, and he didn’t find fulfillment in all of his jobs. However, he obviously accomplished to spend happy hours.

Chronos vs. Kairos

In antiquity already, people knew that time can be perceived differently. Hence, Greek mythology tells the story of two gods being responsible for time: Chronos as a personification of lifetime ensures that time passes in an exact and linear sequence of moments. His treasures are experiences. However, anyone who doesn’t use his/her time and who doesn’t learn and mature from it will be devoured by Chronos. In contrast, there is Kairos, the god of the right moment and of favorable opportunities. Whereas Chronos represents the quantity of time and the experiences derived from it, Kairos stands for the Now, for the present moment which can only be considered subjectively. This dimension of time, its quality, is much too often ignored.

Importance vs. Urgency

How on earth could we wait for favorable opportunities, if we are constantly rushed and if we submit our daily routines to the strict dictation of clocks?

In order to recognize the right moment we need peace of mind and awareness. We have to know exactly what we want, for in our complex world with infinite possibilities there are millions of opportunities – but not all of them are favorable for us.

Naturally, we want to be engaged, we want to feel indispensable, important, useful, we want to sense the ecstasy of adrenaline driving us to more and more performance. Every day, every minute is filled with urgencies to survive in our meritocracy. Urgency however, only simulates importance. If we never pause to listen to our own needs and to meet them, we will never experience quality of time. Important things don’t force on us; we have to see them for ourselves and to allow for them.

Allow for Importance

Human needs are of psychical, social, mental, and spiritual nature. This also includes long-term planning and constant enhancement of our skills as well as real regeneration and maintenance of worthwhile relations. Seeing and doing what is truly important to us, and managing to integrate these essentials into our daily lives, brings us a huge step closer to quality of life.

Even if we can spare only little time for it: this one happy hour will be much.

References:

Covey, S. R., Merrill, A. R., & Merrill, R. R. (1995). First things first. New York: Simon and Schuster.

Weinelt, H. (2005). Die zwei Gesichter der Zeit. Abenteuer Philosophie 4, 18-21.