Thursday, September 12, 2013

Timestyles

I'm researching an article on the history of pilot watches, and thinking what a global, mobile, time-challenged lifestyle we live in now.
 
One of the best things about working for yourself is that, for the most part, you don't have to jump out of bed in the morning, rush through a shower, throw on a suit and tie, scarf down a quick breakfast, and jump in the car or on a commuter train. (My sympathies for those of you who still do so.)

I have the luxury of easing into the day.

It especially helps that, being in Europe and 6-7 hours ahead of many of my contacts in North America, they don't even get to the office until 2-3 pm in my afternoon.

Moreover, I'm not a morning person. Since working at a newspaper my senior year in high school, my body clock has been more Noon to Midnight rather than 8 to 8. I've been known to write until 3 or 4 am, especially when I lived in Texas and the publisher was in the UK - when I finished and emailed the draft, they were just arriving at work.

That went all topsy-turvy the past year when I was in the States and Donna-Lane was in Europe. By the time I got up at 7 or 8 am in Dallas, it was already afternoon for her in Switzerland or France, and she'd often be out and about ... leaving little or no window for a Skype call. So I completely reversed my pattern: I went to bed by 9 or 10 pm (or intended to do so) and set the alarm for 1 or 2 am, which was 8-9 am for her. That way we had all of her day to find a time to talk - sometimes for a few minutes, sometimes for a few hours.

An added benefit, as I still had a day job at the time, was the 5-6 hours available to work uninterrupted - no emails, no phone calls - before my colleagues in Montreal started their day.

The new schedule made a huge difference when I moved to Europe; my body clock was already in sync with the new time. Now I often wake up around 530 or 6 am, just about the time some of my friends in North America are going to bed.

Quite often when I awake, D-L has the lamp on and is intently reading a book. We'll end up talking about an endless variety of subjects - politics, projects, personal, and playful - sometimes spending an hour or more in bed with no pressure to get up other than hunger.

I'm still basically a Noon to Midnight guy - my mind doesn't fully function in the a.m. And I still occasionally work until 2, 3, or 4 in the morning. I just shifted everything by 7 timezones.

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