Thursday, July 14, 2011

Your Time, My Time

I woke up around 4pm this morning.

Yes, you read that right, and no, it's not a typo. It just so happens that the time I swung out of bed was late afternoon on America's east coast. My widget told me the time there before my sleep-muddled mind figured out that it was about 9am here in New Zealand.

This is an increasingly common occurrence as I work with a literary team that's spread across the globe, and Eastern US time is a point of reference at the start of my day. Much of my idea-mongering is initiated, mulled over and completed in online chat circles where my co-workers are well-versed about what time I am to be found there. We talk design, marketing, editing, task assignment, contracts, and of course writing, along with day-to-day stuff and everyone's news, reviews and plans.

It's the reality of international publishing, and it can be fun trying to liaise with this person and that one at a time when we're all awake. Some things take a little longer to sort out because of it, but we have to learn patience and work on as many things at once as we can so that the whole operation still moves along at a nice pace.

And there are some odd but useful side-effects. Like doing business with a Stateside nightshifter in my early evening. Or being told by a morning-fresh compadre to hurry up and go to bed because it's after midnight. Since I'm a night-owl I sometimes work on projects through the "wee small hours" and I can enjoy the instant support of people who haven't had to stay up all night to help me.

On the other hand, most of my friends are gone by 4pm my time (Midnight Eastern) and my evenings here are fairly quiet of online activity except for the night shift and the European contingent - plus a few very early risers. This has led to my online social life occurring during the day and my work mostly after dark. Strange but true.

Depending on how late I stay up on a given day, we can all cross paths again by the time it's midnight downunder. I may keep working (with admonitions to get enough sleep coming from the distant morning) and sooner or later shut down to sleep their day away - just as well, or they'd likely get nothing done!

I'm so grateful for the technology that allows us to work so closely in this way, even though we've (mostly) never met face to face. Having to figure out the time zone calculation is a very small price to pay for this great gift: that we even found each other in the first place.


  1. All I can say is I am thankful for Google's little time zone clock gadget. And my kids think it is very cool that their mom talks to a Kiwi from the future :).

  2. Love the post. I find my world very quiet in the mornings until everyone finally begins to wake up early afternoon. Of course the extra hours on a deadline have come in handy of time or two. :-)

  3. Fun thoughts, Grace. When we lived in South Africa, our daughter used to call from Texas late night for her, early morning for us. Sometimes they would be having a thunder storm, and my husband, the wether buff, would go the internet and find her local doplar radar to commiserate with her. Technology has made this a whole new world.

  4. I keep a time on my phone so I don't make mistakes of waking up crit partners with plot-freak outs! (Which I have done) :)

    Fun post!

  5. Yes, and be careful planning podcast interviews when one person has been working all day and the other is just waking up. It makes for an odd balance of tiredness ;)