Time Enough for What?

Are we all really so busy, that “the act of canceling a meeting or dinner date can constitute the most precious gift one busy professional can bestow on another”. That’s apparently the way of the modern business world, according to story, “Pencil It In Under ‘Not Happening’“, appearing in tomorrow’s New York Times.

“In an overscheduled world, are there any words more lovely than, ‘Can we reschedule?'” writes Alex Williams. I won’t deny that some cancelled meetings are cause for celebration. The Times quotes psychiatrist Edward M. Hallowell: “With cellphones and BlackBerries, people are too reachable. We sign up for too much. So when fate intervenes, it’s better than found money. It’s found time“. 

But, of course, Edward is wrong. There is no found time, because if we had enough time there would be no joyous reaction to those cancelled meetings. Time shifts from one task to another.

People are too reachable—about that Edward is right. My reachability starts and stops with the cell phone. I’m no longer willing to check e-mail or IMs day and night. One of the few downsides to working out of a home office is the long day. I always work late. The line is drawn at the cell phone. For example, on my work trip this week to San Francisco, I had e-mail access morning and night from my MacBook Pro. But I didn’t carry an e-mail capable smartphone or Blackberry during the day.

Should I by some slim chance take a vacation this year, e-mail will stay on the computer. Occasionally read.

As for meetings, I almost rarely reschedule or cancel. Damn, it must be that Maine work-ethic and sense of keeping commitments. Or: I must be a bad person, if the logic holds true that cancellation does somebody a favor. 🙂

Photo Credit: Thomas Hawk