Time zones are ones of those factors in life that are begrudgingly accepted. Stores set up Christmas decorations before thanksgiving, cars break down as soon as you think you’re on top of your bills, the weatherman is accurate until you have an important outdoors event coming up, and Washington state is 3 hours behind the east coast.
This fact did not mean much to me until I started working closely with those almost completely across the country from where I am.
Here are a few things I’ve learned while keeping up with two time zones and always, technically, being 3 hours behind.
1. Be conscious when agreeing to meetings and deadlines
When you accept a task or schedule a meeting, always remember to run the times through both zones. This seems obvious, but trust me, it’s easy to forget.
If you are the one reaching out for the meeting, use the other person’s time zone. It uncomplicates the process greatly when no one has to play the “which zone are they referencing game?” Get that established as soon as possible.
2. Track the other time zone
I created a time zone in my phone’s clock in the “World clock” section that tracks EST, so I’m not guessing where they are throughout the day.
This has proved to be a motivating trick as well—there’s nothing that will get me out of bed quicker then glancing at the world clock and realizing how much farther along their day is compared to mine.
3. Be mindful
This one goes without saying, but be mindful of where others are in their day. It’s not always possible to wait for the perfect time, of course, since they rarely line up. However, this does not mean consistently sending messages or requests late into their night and expecting a prompt reply.
If you have an agreement with that person, then, by all means, go for it. But unless otherwise discussed, be sure to practice the same courtesy you would with anyone you work with that shares your time zone.
4. Don’t get caught up in it too much
Though being aware and on the ball with the different time zones is important, remember that you’re still operating in your zone. If you’re like me and are perpetually behind timewise, remember that as long as you are meeting the goals and deadlines you’ve set up and received according to your clock, you are allowed to take the win.
To wrap up
Those are a few things that have helped me navigate time zones over the last year or so and kept me on track. It’s something I’m working on every day and will continue to refine as I learn more and make new connections.
I hope this helps someone who’s juggling time zones out there.
Thanks for reading!