A short introduction of Icelandic time management

Icelandic time management

Germans are the inofficial world champions of punctuality. That’s our pride and joy, we are famous for that and we really appreciate good time management like French would appreciate a good red wine or appetiser. We can’t help it. It is in our genes. We cultivated it to such an extent, we are close to perfection. However, it seems, Icelandic people have a whole another approach to punctuality, time management, appointments and so on. That’s due to a wide range of reasons. The most common and obvious one is the impact of nature (see also deadly breaks in the weather, #6). Blizzards, sand storms, or just an “ordinary” storm – can literally blow your plans off abruptly. That’s why Icelanders developed a distinct ability to create plan A, plan B, plan C and if you would ask them for, they also would come up with plan D and E – just in case.

Nothing is really a problem here, because they just don’t cling to plan A, like we Germans devotedly do. We will accomplish plan A, no matter what. But that’s only, because after we left the German “Miriquidi” primeval forest, we had a much more convenient and stable environment, than Icelanders ever had. We had the luxury to only pursue accomplishing Plan A, because nothing could so easily interrupt our project. Not so in Iceland: The environment is always in motion – geysirs, geothermal active areas with gushing springs, sudden earth quakes, volcano eruptions, ash & gas clouds, tremendous floods and like mentioned before, weather does its best to make conditions even more unpredictable and unsteady. So, it was crucial for them to adapt at varying circumstances and also have several plans in mind. Furthermore, they are used to changing plans and are flexible in arrangements.

First I had to relax my German mind about it. Often I thought: “If I don’t have a plan at least two weeks ahead which is fixed from the very beginning to the very end, I will never gonna deal with it.” But after a while I got convinced: “Somehow it will always work. You maybe don’t know by now, how it will gonna happen, but somehow, somewhere, it will.” Sometimes I was amazed how relaxed the Icelanders deal with situations and proceed them. But sometimes it is too relaxed. On Saturday, for example, construction workers, who shall built a footbridge over the river next beside our huts, arrived at 00:10 which is basically already Sunday … They were scheduled to arrive here on Thursday in the afternoon. I said, I am more relaxed right now, but come on … this one really put me to the test. I mean, we often waited for guests to come later or waited in vain, because the conditions didn’t allow them to get here and Icelandic guides or drivers didn’t either call at all to inform as that they won’t come or very very late. But this episode was just close to overt rudeness, in my opinion. Come on, guys, three days delay, without informing anyone. Fortunately we were still awake and the hut would have been open. But what, if not. Would they have slept in the truck or what?! Maybe they would have. Probably it was their plan C.

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