Monthly Archives: December 2015

Time is not really running out

… but you might think so because: do we really enjoy the Christmas season in peace as Silent Night and Jingle Bells suggest us? No. Still under pressure, we conclude the last projects of the year and plan for 2016. So once again the good old subject called time management is back on the agenda. Is it out of time? Not at all. I would like to pass on some tips and hints of two colleagues who published about time management earlier this week.

Written by Jens Kügler

Nico Rose is executive in a trust and blogger of the German magazine Lead Digital. He gets to the point when he writes: time management techniques do not lead us to have more time, but it feels like that. And perceived control leads to less stress––like a placebo effect.

How does the blogger manage his time? First, he immediately carries out everything that takes less than two minutes, whenever possible. He will read the short messages or sign the documents presented to him at once so that these little things do not “pile up” and his employees can continue to work without delay. Tip number two is to schedule no more than 60 percent of one’s day in advance so that there will will be enough time for unexpected work. Important to him is that those 60 percent remain definitively blocked as time slots.

Thirdly the manager recommends to set up an automatic redirection for specific messages in the email client. Especially for those on whom he is only cc-receiver. These mails do not mean direct work orders for him. Rose writes that he reads mails like these in the evening when he’s got time.

Theresa Schunk is member of the project management and CRM platform Teamleader. She also presented her recommendations to the Internet community this week. For the readers of her newsletter, she would compile six tips for entrepreneurs.

Tip number one says: take five to ten minutes per day to update the calendar, including all tasks and delivery times. This calendar should of course be editable from anywhere, if possible, on mobile devices. Sounds very general? Tip two is already a more specialized one. Everyone should make a note of how long he has needed for certain tasks. This “time tracking” helps to uncover problems of certain tasks and motivates to focus on these, as the author points out.

Third, supervisors should let their employees manage and accomplish their (small) projects by themselves. Here, Schunk adds a Steve Jobs quote which I like to copy: “It doesn’t make sense to hire smart people and tell them what to do; we hire smart people so they can tell us what to do”.

Of course, Theresa Schunk recommends the use of project management software and surely relates to her company’s own products. But there is nothing wrong about seeing and supervising all projects, tasks, processes and employees on a single screen and window. She also speaks of the usefulness of “templates” for frequently used communication texts that CRM tools provide. Sounds plausible, be it self-promotion or not.

Last but not least she advises her readers to use any travel and waiting time productively. Clouds, digital calendars––our today’s possibilities are greater than ever. And I really have nothing to add––as a regular rail traveler using notebook and wireless USB modem.

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For the Christmas party, it may be a steamboat, too

Every year we engage in the same topic, that awful or beautiful event, the Christmas party. So what makes some of these parties so good and successful that people get excited speaking about previous year’s celebrations?

Written by Jens Kügler

The executive’s office, mulled wine from the supermarket, a couple of pieces of gingerbread: If that’s all and the Christmas celebration has nothing more to offer than the one my last year’s article, the only memories are poor ones. However, a Christmas party has something to do with appreciation. Employer branding also reflects in the way how much effort this annual get-together with all the staff is worth to the entrepreneur.

The appreciation begins with the selection of the venue. What do the employees to remember even after years? In their small talks, perhaps it’s the celebratory champagne reception, the multi-course menu, the little show or the disco night that followed. But in their mind’s eyes they always see the ambience. Be it in the historic cellar vaults. Or in the knights’ hall. The small loft high up in the warehouse district. Or the specially decorated room in the stylish sushi restaurant. Spaces characterize an event, as not only event professionals know.

A modern or historical site decorated in simplicity or elegance, an imposing architecture or a cozy interior: Why should the the place of celebration not also reflect the company’s philosophy or even the corporate design? Digital agency or creative staff, for example, love venues in former industrial buildings because these are trendy and fashionable. Yet, physically hard working people could associate places like that inadequate. Not everyone likes to celebrate in the hall of grandpa’s mine.

Therefore there’s another approach saying: choose a location that makes the employees totally step out of their everyday business look and feel. Anyone who daily has to deal with––say––premium cars or luxury real estate, perhaps looks forward to a rustic night at an Alpine style hut (and places like these already exist not only in the mountains but in many commercial areas, too). Equally happy are those who usually work among prosy files, folders and gray rolling cabinets and once get pleased with lounge furniture, lighting effects and subtle sounds. Provided, of course, history does not repeat itself and the event is really unique.

Where everybody loves to party? For example, in the small cabaret or variety theater in the city. Or in the chartered tram with nice mulled wine and party music, if this kind of celebration fits to a large part of the workforce. Even in football stadiums or VIP areas of motorsport racetracks, spaces can be rent for a few dozen people. Getting guided through the race team’s zones makes the men’s hearts beat faster. But every women gets delighted as well by an evocative show or a entertaining theme night.

For many people, the greatest Christmas present of all from their boss is when their partners and children get invited, too. Leisure theme parks are ideal for this, especially as they come up with children’s attractions at anytime and in December with beautiful Christmas decorations, scents and lights all around. There is absolutely no reason to shy away from big names and market leaders such as the Europa Park Rust or Center Parcs. Sites like these usually have smaller exhibition, meeting or even party rooms and, of course, lots of sports and leisure facilities. So the celebration may be combined with an incentive event. It’s only important to have sufficient transport links for the workforce.

An location for an event must not automatically be a hall, restaurant or bar. So why not a “steamboat”! Port barges or ships such as the Danube liner MS Renate may be reserved completely or partially. These line boats usually run their regular services from spring to autumn and can be chartered during the winter.

Inspirations for places to celebrate can be found in catalogs or online portals such Event-Locations.de. The offer ranges from town hall cafés to golf houses on the North Sea shores, castles high above the Rhine or the purpose built weatherproof party tent to be installed anywhere. Even the most diverse artists, musicians, caterers and interior decorators offer their services in these catalogs and booking platforms. They’re a perfect source of ideas!

Of course, the right proportion has to be kept. A twenty-employee company does not fill a greater discotheque or former industrial hall. And those who had just released a third of their workforce should not invite everyone to a five star hotel atmosphere. But today, there are more small and beautiful event spaces available than ever before because the market is constantly growing. And the professionals in event management positions and agencies know that if the mere location leaves a unique impression, every single party remains in everyone’s memory. Even after years.

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