I have been thinking about this post for quite a while. Maybe more today since I am getting some work done at the office on a Sunday afternoon (I did play 18 holes this morning – in 3 hours!).
When I was quite a bit younger (longer ago than I care to think about) time seemed to be broken down into easily understandable units. There was school time, play time, family time, vacation time, practice time (sports or music or whatever), breakfast time, lunch time, dinner time and always the despised bed time. Summer time meant a lot when I was a kid. I am still a bit wistful about not having 3 months of no school or work. As I got through college there was class time, study time and party time (NOT in that order necessarily).
Once in the workforce there was work time, after work time (leisure time – I never liked that term very much), weekend time, and vacation time.
Then I got married and eventually had kids so and consequently the term ‘quality time’ with the family became operative. It’s all fine and dandy. But in the past few years that has really changed. People work all the time and if you do business overseas your work time can be another’s sleeping time. Many of us have PDA’s and get messages constantly – weekdays, weeknights and weekends. Social networking has messages coming to you at all times (sometimes personal sometimes business). More recently Twitter allows people to send up to the minute status reports and what they are doing at any moment.
I actually like working on the weekends. I don’t do it every weekend or even both weekend days (at least not often). Many times like so many people I know I go home and work remotely to stay ahead of the onslaught of constant messages. When I am on vacation I prefer to know what messages have been received so that I can decide what is important enough to earn a response prior to my return. I don’t know anyone who likes coming back from vacation with 624 messages awaiting their perusal.
At the same time I don’t feel guilty if I do a non-work thing during the five days ‘business week’. And whoever made up the 5 days on 2 days off thing ought to be shot – I would much prefer 4 and 3 but was not around for that meeting. Convention still dictates that people operate along the Monday – Friday guidelines since old habits are hard to break but I see that changing too. Your clients, employees, employers and associates have become accustomed to timely if not immediate response to important messages.
Eventually (if you are not already) we all will be able to be reached and be able to respond 24/7. I don’t see that as a sign of the apocalypse but I do think expectations of adequate response time will have to change. I realize that employees do not want to have to be on call and accountable to their company at any given moment. And there are plenty of bosses who already abuse that tactic. Yet I feel that knowing what is going on is a good thing. It is up to each of us to understand the expectations of action/response. There are times when things need an immediate response. But they are not as frequent as most people think. Time doesn’t really care at all. People have divided it up to suit their own desires and purposes. I wonder if our ultra connectivity will change the notion of time overall? Do you wonder the same?