Monochronic People vs. Polychronic People

956 Words4 Pages
The way people view time differs from culture to culture. In The Dance of Life, anthropologist Edward T. Hall describes and demonstrates two different perceptions of time – monochronic and polychronic time. According to Hall, “monochronic time means paying attention to and doing one thing at a time” (Hall 45). Monochronic time cultures emphasize schedules, a precise reckoning of time, and promptness. Time is viewed as a discrete commodity. People with this cultural orientation tend to do one thing after another, finishing each activity before starting the next. On the other hand, “polychronic time means being involved in many things at once” (Hall 45). In polychronic cultures, people tend to handle multiple things concurrently and to emphasize the number of completed transactions and the number of people involved, rather than the adherence to time schedule. Many people often ask themselves whether they are monochronic people or polychronic people. In fact, knowing which time culture you belong to is very important, because it will help you understand about yourself, including how you fit into the world and how you get along with others. The most significant difference between a monochronic person and a polychronic person is the way they perceive and manage time. To a polychronic person, time is continuous, with no particular structure. Polychronic people see time as a never-ending river, flowing from the infinite past, through the present, into the infinite future. In workplace, polychronic people prefer to keep their time unstructured, changing from one activity to another as the mood takes them. They do not want detailed plans imposed upon them, nor do they want to make their own detailed plans. Polychronic people prefer to work as they see fit without a strict schedule, following their internal mental processes from one minute to the next. Monochronic people
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