Work like you’re in a different time zone; Show up without being real-time

Liz Presson • 9 October 2014

If I’ve noticed anything about my work from having a significant time zone difference, it’s that I’ve been living in a world of unnecessary synchronous communication. And, I’ve been using asynchronous communication tools — I’m looking at you, email— for too many synchronous, or real-time, interactions.

Living in a place where many of the people I work with wake up 7 hours after me has been incredible for making big moves on my most important projects. I set my schedule for the day and actually follow my plan. I’m also taking real breaks, and I get away from wifi when it’s not necessary. There’s something about the work that I do in a notebook or even via voice memo on my phone that just doesn’t show up when I’m in front of a computer screen.

I realize I won’t be in Europe forever and that nothing can replace a real-time face-to-face conversation, but I’m done putting an emphasis on trying to answer emails in real-time and striving to always be the one available on chat “just in case” someone needs me.

Because, truth is, someone always needs something, and if you’re stuck getting their most important things done, you’ll never make progress on your own.

What’s dictating your day—synchronous requests or actual work? Both will keep you busy. Only one will move you forward.

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