Time Management Tip: Making the Call…Managing Time Zones

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Image of world cities "New York, London, Paris, Moscow, Tokyo"Have you ever had to make a phone call to another timezone within your own country or a country or locale around the world?

Scheduling an appointment can be a bit tricky, especially when you don’t know the local time of the place you’re trying to reach.

Today’s post takes an interesting approach to time management when it comes to making phone calls and scheduling video appointments: managing time zones!

Use a time zone converter.

Depending on who you’re trying to reach, you might just end up crossing the international date line and end up having to speak with someone today…tomorrow, or end up speaking with someone today…yesterday!

Make sure you know the local time and date by using a time zone converter/meeting planner such as the one found on www.TimeandDate.com. I’m a big fan of the world clock meeting planner. It gives you a detailed schedule of normal business hours, as well as when most people are awake but not at work, etc., so you can maximize your calling and scheduling efforts.

Just plug-in your location and the location of where you’re trying to reach and you’ve got a tailored guide as to the best time(s) to call.

Provide detailed time info when scheduling appointments.

Are you scheduling a meeting across time zones? More often than not, email and other digital calendars will make the time and date adjustments for you. However, it’s still a good idea to have this information on hand for your own knowledge. Don’t make the mistake of assuming the other person knows what time you are talking about! For example, if you’re writing an email about an upcoming meeting, write out both your local time and your contact’s local time to make sure everyone is on the same page. You might write: “The conference call will take place on September 12th, 2013 at 12pm Eastern Daylight Time (New York)/9am Pacific Daylight Time (Los Angeles).”

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Educate yourself about Daylight Saving Time.

Years ago I planned an event that was to take place in Phoenix, Arizona. I knew there was a two-hour time difference between Phoenix and New York and made my calls accordingly, until one day I found out the local time had changed by one hour! What happened? Well, I had mostly been making calls to Phoenix in January-February. March had rolled around and Daylight Saving Time came into effect in New York.

This change, however, did not go into effect in Phoenix (Arizona is on Mountain Time and does not observe Daylight Saving Time), thus the three-hour time difference.

While this is a rather extreme example, it is a good example to be aware of where and when Daylight Saving Time is observed — or not!

Be prepared to adjust your schedule.

Depending on where you live and what country or location you are trying to call, you’ll have to make some time adjustments to your schedule, be it waking up early, or staying late at work. It does take a bit of effort, but it shows you are dedicated to speaking with that person or getting in touch with your intended party (I once had to make a series of phone calls at 7pm New York time to reach people in Australia at 9am…the next morning!).

Make a note or two in your calendar or schedule and/or set an alarm to remind yourself to make the call or calls as necessary.

Now to you…do you have any interesting time zone scheduling stories? Join in the conversation and leave a comment below!

Full disclosure: I did and do not receive any compensation, financial or otherwise, in any shape, form, type, or sort for using or mentioning TimeandDate.com.

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Rashelle Isip is a New York City-based professional organizer and productivity consultant who helps people get organized so they can stress less, have more fun, and be happier at home. Her work has been featured in Good Housekeeping, Fast Company, Cosmopolitan, The Washington Post, Business Insider, and The Atlantic. Get access to her free guide, 10 Simple Ways to Make Your To-Do Lists More Effective, by clicking here.
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