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Why You Should Ditch Email and Chat If You Want to Be More Productive At Work

Why You Should Ditch Email and Chat If You Want to Be More Productive At Work

Email and chat are not good for a modern team to be productive, but not everyone has realised this yet. Here’re the key reasons why emails and chats don’t work so well nowadays.

1. Email communication is inefficient in a team

Do you know that the first ever email was sent by Ray Tomlinson to himself in 1971? It fundamentally changed the way how people communicate and it’s still so simple today that it usually works quite good for a number of things. However, when it comes to team talks and making real plans, it really isn’t that good:

  • You have to wait for a reply for don’t know how long.
  • You don’t have an overview for everyone’s progress.
  • You don’t know if the recipient has actually received your message or not.

So, people started to figure out another way – team chat, and then chat had got popular among teams.

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2. Chatting distracts your brain from focusing

Chat is a nice way to talk quickly, but it has one major downsize – you will interrupt whatever recipient is currently doing, and they will interrupt you too. It’s totally fine to have a casual chat with your friends about you guys’ next hang-out details, but it’s no good for team talks.

Our brain can’t really handle switching tasks very well, so when we are trying to get something done and then switch to chat and then try to continue to get something done, we are wasting a lot more time just to get something done. Horrible, isn’t it?

Both email and chat are terrible at leading people to real-life actions – even if you make a decision, it is so hard to keep track of it.

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For this reason, a new startup, Teeml is trying to change the way how teams and individuals work.

How Teeml Works

The new startup Teeml is trying to change the way how teams work. It’s not just the way how people talk to each other, but a complete set of tools and ways to really get stuff done.

There are already some interesting free tools available, but Teeml say they’re growing better every day because of customers’ feedback. Here’re some of the tools available:

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Wishlist

It’s like combining email and chat, but a “Wishlist” is built in a way that leads to real actions and won’t waste too much time. You will get new wishes only at some specific times during the day, so your brain stays happy and others get their answers. With this tool, members can talk in real-time or come back later. Every wish has a topic and leads to an action.

Meetings

One hour with 10 people takes 10 hours. Think about what those 10 people could do with these 10 hours! As it takes time to get to the meeting room and later switch back to your to-do list, it actually takes even more time. Every meeting should start with topics and lead to real actions in the end. With “Meetings”, you can limit the duration of a meeting and set topics for the meeting easily.

Smart feed

Quick flow of things are happening in your team every second. With “Smart Feed”, you know what is going on around you. It shows you things that most probably interest you and works automatically based on the team’s behaviors.

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Promises

Promises are like a to-do list, but instead of a list that’s only available for an individual, it’s public to the team. Team members will make promises – to themselves and the team, and they will commit to their promises to complete the tasks.

You can start to use Teeml individually and invite your team later; or just go all in and try it out together with your team.

Just go to http://teeml.com, enter your email address and you’ll be logged in right away.

Featured photo credit: Picjumbo via picjumbo.com

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Last Updated on July 17, 2019

The Science of Setting Goals (And How It Affects Your Brain)

The Science of Setting Goals (And How It Affects Your Brain)

What happens in our heads when we set goals?

Apparently a lot more than you’d think.

Goal setting isn’t quite so simple as deciding on the things you’d like to accomplish and working towards them.

According to the research of psychologists, neurologists, and other scientists, setting a goal invests ourselves into the target as if we’d already accomplished it. That is, by setting something as a goal, however small or large, however near or far in the future, a part of our brain believes that desired outcome is an essential part of who we are – setting up the conditions that drive us to work towards the goals to fulfill the brain’s self-image.

Apparently, the brain cannot distinguish between things we want and things we have. Neurologically, then, our brains treat the failure to achieve our goal the same way as it treats the loss of a valued possession. And up until the moment, the goal is achieved, we have failed to achieve it, setting up a constant tension that the brain seeks to resolve.

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Ideally, this tension is resolved by driving us towards accomplishment. In many cases, though, the brain simply responds to the loss, causing us to feel fear, anxiety, even anguish, depending on the value of the as-yet-unattained goal.

Love, Loss, Dopamine, and Our Dreams

The brains functions are carried out by a stew of chemicals called neurotransmitters. You’ve probably heard of serotonin, which plays a key role in our emotional life – most of the effective anti-depressant medications on the market are serotonin reuptake inhibitors, meaning they regulate serotonin levels in the brain leading to more stable moods.

Somewhat less well-known is another neurotransmitter, dopamine. Among other things, dopamine acts as a motivator, creating a sensation of pleasure when the brain is stimulated by achievement. Dopamine is also involved in maintaining attention – some forms of ADHD are linked to irregular responses to dopamine.[1]

So dopamine plays a key role in keeping us focused on our goals and motivating us to attain them, rewarding our attention and achievement by elevating our mood. That is, we feel good when we work towards our goals.

Dopamine is related to wanting – to desire. The attainment of the object of our desire releases dopamine into our brains and we feel good. Conversely, the frustration of our desires starves us of dopamine, causing anxiety and fear.

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One of the greatest desires is romantic love – the long-lasting, “till death do us part” kind. It’s no surprise, then, that romantic love is sustained, at least in part, through the constant flow of dopamine released in the presence – real or imagined – of our true love. Loss of romantic love cuts off that supply of dopamine, which is why it feels like you’re dying – your brain responds by triggering all sorts of anxiety-related responses.

Herein lies obsession, as we go to ever-increasing lengths in search of that dopamine reward. Stalking specialists warn against any kind of contact with a stalker, positive or negative, because any response at all triggers that reward mechanism. If you let the phone ring 50 times and finally pick up on the 51st ring to tell your stalker off, your stalker gets his or her reward, and learns that all s/he has to do is wait for the phone to ring 51 times.

Romantic love isn’t the only kind of desire that can create this kind of dopamine addiction, though – as Captain Ahab (from Moby Dick) knew well, any suitably important goal can become an obsession once the mind has established ownership.

The Neurology of Ownership

Ownership turns out to be about a lot more than just legal rights. When we own something, we invest a part of ourselves into it – it becomes an extension of ourselves.

In a famous experiment at Cornell University, researchers gave students school logo coffee mugs, and then offered to trade them chocolate bars for the mugs. Very few were willing to make the trade, no matter how much they professed to like chocolate. Big deal, right? Maybe they just really liked those mugs![2]

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But when they reversed the experiment, handing out chocolate and then offering to trade mugs for the candy, they found that now, few students were all that interested in the mugs. Apparently the key thing about the mugs or the chocolate wasn’t whether students valued whatever they had in their possession, but simply that they had it in their possession.

This phenomenon is called the “endowment effect”. In a nutshell, the endowment effect occurs when we take ownership of an object (or idea, or person); in becoming “ours” it becomes integrated with our sense of identity, making us reluctant to part with it (losing it is seen as a loss, which triggers that dopamine shut-off I discussed above).

Interestingly, researchers have found that the endowment effect doesn’t require actual ownership or even possession to come into play. In fact, it’s enough to have a reasonable expectation of future possession for us to start thinking of something as a part of us – as jilted lovers, gambling losers, and 7-year olds denied a toy at the store have all experienced.

The Upshot for Goal-Setters

So what does all this mean for would-be achievers?

On one hand, it’s a warning against setting unreasonable goals. The bigger the potential for positive growth a goal has, the more anxiety and stress your brain is going to create around it’s non-achievement.

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It also suggests that the common wisdom to limit your goals to a small number of reasonable, attainable objectives is good advice. The more goals you have, the more ends your brain thinks it “owns” and therefore the more grief and fear the absence of those ends is going to cause you.

On a more positive note, the fact that the brain rewards our attentiveness by releasing dopamine means that our brain is working with us to direct us to achievement. Paying attention to your goals feels good, encouraging us to spend more time doing it. This may be why outcome visualization — a favorite technique of self-help gurus involving imagining yourself having completed your objectives — has such a poor track record in clinical studies. It effectively tricks our brain into rewarding us for achieving our goals even though we haven’t done it yet!

But ultimately, our brain wants us to achieve our goals, so that it’s a sense of who we are that can be fulfilled. And that’s pretty good news!

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Featured photo credit: Alexa Williams via unsplash.com

Reference

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