Send to Kindle


My business is about appreciating and leveraging difference.  Not just cultural differences–also differences in style, personality and approach.  I write about it, teach about it, speak about it and blog about it.  Here’s one kind of difference where the expert needs help.  It is in the differences between people’s orientation to TIME!

I tend to relate to time as something finite and linear.  There is rarely enough of it.  It is stressful to me to run out of it.  To avoid that stress, I plan and start projects early.  My grown children have a totally different relationship to time.  In their view, it is fluid and plentiful.  When there is something I want them to do, later usually trumps now; tomorrow generally seems much better than today.  I have a hard time not thinking about all the things that need to be started NOW to avoid stress later.

My son is leaving on a long trip soon, and I have a number of things I want him to do (or think he should do) before he goes.  He is quite mellow about it.   As the holidays approach, I have lots of things I want my kids to do or help me do.   I said to them last week, “Being around you mellow people is quite stressful to me.”  My son thought that was worthy of putting on his Facebook page!  What I meant by that honest comment was that it stresses me to be collaborating with others who feel little urgency or don’t plan out the steps in a process.  They stress me and I stress them.  They fuss at me for always doing, wanting things done NOW and rarely “chilling out.” 

In a work environment, I have not had to deal with this.  Do you?  In personal relationships, I need my own advice.  “Stop and think.  Is my point of view really right?  Is getting started now really critical?”  They need my advice.  “Stop and consider her point of view.  Is there a good reason to plan ahead and get off my behind now?” 

I need YOUR advice.  Let me know if you relate to time more like I do or more like my offspring do.  How have you learned to work with others who relate to it differently?  Is it different in a work vs. personal relationship? How have you learned to negotiate these differences?  HELP!