Technology has always given us more control over time–especially now at the dawn of the digital age. But no matter how precisely we can count our milliseconds, neither our bodies nor our businesses are proving as programmable as our computers.
Digital technology tends to make one minute look the same as any other. Still, try as we might to ignore them, the people who work for us, invest in us, and buy from us are guided by rhythms we ignore at our peril.
While our technologies may be evolving as fast as we can imagine new ones, we humans and our culture evolved over millennia and are slower to adapt. The body is based on hundreds, perhaps thousands, of different clocks, syncing to everything from the sun and moon to levels of violence and available water. We can’t simply declare noon to be midnight and expect our body to conform to the new scheme as if it were a Google Calendar resetting to a new time zone. Neither can we force our businesses to conform to an always-on ethos when the people we work with and for are still obeying a more deeply embedded temporal scheme.