Stop ... summer time! - John C. Kirk
Mar. 27th, 2011
10:50 pm - Stop ... summer time!
"You have so many clocks! Maybe you could just have one in each room?"
(Aouda to Phileas Fogg, "Around the World in Eighty Days" - paraphrased from memory)
Last night, the UK switched over from GMT to BST. Hopefully you all remembered to change your clocks, and didn't oversleep for anything important. When I was young, I remember that our vicar once missed a Sunday morning service after the clocks changed!
Actually, I think it's quite easy to miss nowadays. Again, thinking back to my youth, I'd look through the Radio Times to see what was on TV, and they'd draw attention to it, e.g. showing some programs in GMT and others in BST. (I wouldn't be up that late watching TV, but I'd still notice that on the printed page.) Nowadays, I don't read any TV guides, so I just glance at online listings occasionally. I went into one of the local shops last night, and the guy behind the counter reminded me about it; I already knew, but I appreciate him making the effort. Obviously the information is out there on the internet (e.g. here), but it's not practical to read every website. (I put an update on Facebook/Twitter.) Personally, each time the clocks change I put a note in my calendar for the next change, then set a reminder for a week in advance.
Looking on Twitter today, I was amused by a couple of tweets:
@sulkyblue: "All my electronic devices are telling the same time, but I have utterly no idea whether they've put themselves forwards or not!"
@neenaw: "Woke up an hour early. Couldn't remember if I'd changed my clock already."
As well as clocks, several other gadgets tell the time; one of my colleagues mentioned that his electric toothbrush has been showing the wrong time for the past 6 months, and now it will be correct again! So, I think the best approach here is a checklist. I've created a document with a list of everything in my flat that stores the time, along with a note of whether I have to update it manually (and instructions if it's not obvious). If you want to do the same, this may be useful as a starting point:
* Computers. (These should be automatic.)
* Watch. (If you have more than one, don't just do the one you're wearing today! In my case, I have one that acts as a heart rate monitor when I'm cycling.)
* Alarm clock.
* Wall clocks.
* Phones (mobile and/or landline).
* Oven, microwave.
* Desk tidy unit ("pen pot").
* OWL electricity monitor.
I've made a similar list at work, and I phoned them today to confirm that our clocks/computers/phones are showing the correct time. Some things may not be obvious, e.g. ECG machines.
Taking a specific example, we use Cisco phones, and they get the time from a central router. Here's the relevant command for the router:
clock summer-time BST date 27 Mar 2011 01:00 30 Oct 2011 02:00
(Don't modify the timezone - that appears to work ok for desktop phones, but all your wireless phones will be 1 hour out!) The router can only store one version of this command, so I can't enter the dates for 2012 yet, even though I know what they are. On the other hand, there's no need to wait until the last minute to do this change: I can update the router in November, once we're back in GMT. This is a very quick job, so the only issue is remembering to do it.
I think this illustrates the difference between management and leadership. There's obviously a lot of overlap between them, but I would say that leadership requires you to be actively involved in an activity (e.g. making decisions and delegating tasks) while management is about setting up processes for when you're not around. If you notice that a clock is wrong, it's fairly straightforward to change it, but it's better to correct any mistakes (or out of date information) before people notice that it's wrong.