Now I’m not talking EST or GMT or daylight savings or any other concept like that. Here on the island it’s more like there is zero concept of time… You see, regular everyday occurrences – such as breakfast, lunch, dinner, workouts, meetings and the like – don’t happen at regular intervals here (aside from the clubs opening at midnight on the dot each night) and a lot of island residents don’t follow a standard daily routine. No two people or days are alike, which on one hand is great, but on the other hand can lead to a whole lot of missed messages, miscommunication and misunderstandings.
Now. This is awesome when you’re on holiday. When you step off the plane and onto the Ibiza tarmac, you can set your watch to Ibiza time – and by that, I mean, you may as well just take it off and live in the moment. Allowing yourself to live spontaneously can mean a lazy beach day leads you to the VIP at Pacha (flip flops and all), followed by a chic villa party before hitting your bed long after lunch time the next day. It’s not only acceptable – it’s encouraged! Dinner can be served any time between the oh-so-British tea time of 6pm right up until the pre-clubbing-Ibiza feasts at 2am. Newfound friends become lifetime friends after you decide to miss your flight and keep the party going just a little longer.
However. When you’re living on the island and trying to run a professional business, this is where the Ibiza time zone can start to wreak havoc with your sanity. In ‘the real world’, most people finish work at their allocated hour and wouldn’t dream of calling their clients outside of office hours (even if they do go home and continue to slog overtime at the laptop). Here in Ibiza, you’ll find yourself receiving phone calls at midnight, or (worse – for me anyway, and probably also for anyone who works in the nightlife industry) 7.30am, depending on whether the client in question is a night owl or a parent prepping for the school run. I even recently received a Whatsapp message regarding a photoshoot booking at 2.30am! I know it’s important to get work done and achieve results, but come on people… boundaries! Personally, I’ve been guilty of sending 3am emails when inspiration strikes, but I feel like the email is the only acceptable form of communication outside of business hours – loosely, let’s call that 10 am to 8pm here in Ibiza – because it’s unobtrusive. Unless you’re one of those people who has the ‘ding’ notification on their phone, by their bed, in which case I do apologise profusely. And while we’re on the topic of emails – it seems answering them is quite a rare occurrence in many cases, usually a response comes only after following up with a text, a phone call and a Facebook message (and don’t get me started on people who use social media as a means for business communication).
When it comes to meetings, it’s pretty standard for people to be between 20 and 30 minutes late, always sitting down with a sigh and a sheepish shrug, “Oh, it’s Ibiza time”. But never with a phone call or text message to let you know they’re on the way. That’s if they turn up at all – there have been quite a few times I’ve been stood up by someone, who later on blames ‘Ibiza time’ or the Santa Eulalia road traffic… I’ve learned my lesson with this one – always call or text to confirm prior, and ask people to arrive half an hour before you’d actually like to meet them! Of course, I am generalising. Not everyone on the island is like this – those with super successful businesses certainly didn’t get there by being flaky. I complain, but I’d still rather be sitting here at my lovely desk in Dalt Vila, overlooking the port and across to the hills, wearing my pyjamas or a bikini, depending on the weather and my mood, with my kitty cat snoring at my feet than getting up in the dark, catching a train to work with millions of other people and then coming home in the dark. If the downsides to working here are a few intrusive phone calls… well, I’ll take them. Actually I won’t – I’ll send them to voice mail and return the call at a much more decent hour!