Losing track of time
Columnist Nancy Coop asks, 'What makes you lose track of time?'

Like many of you, I’ve recently been attending webinars on rebranding propane. The first thing to know is who our target audience is when we talk about fuel. Presenters tell us the answer is millennials and Generation Z — those who will be or are homeowners of the future. The second thing to learn is that this mighty group of people, ages 18 to 40 years old, have different concerns than those of earlier generations.

Our responders this month are members of the newly-named Young Gassers organization’s 30 Under 30 class of 2021. As you read their responses, perhaps you’ll notice a difference in their sense of what time is to them. Where do they place the value of time in their lives? And when do they lose track of time?

In this column, adopted from the familiar “Heard on the Street” format, we offer our responders a chance to answer the question posed in the title. These are their replies reported verbatim.



Tempus Fugit

The person who coined the idiom, “Time flies when you’re having fun,” surely has never been through an audit. We recently went through an extensive Department of Transportation audit; needless to say, it was stressful, but it also was quite the learning experience for us. Luckily, we passed with flying colors. However, being fully engaged in making sure our ducks were in a row surely made time fly!

Trevor Wendt
Wendt's Propane and Oil
Sanborn, New York

There are a couple of activities that come to mind that make me lose track of time. The first is being involved in conversations about topics I am interested in with people I look up to; time seems to move very fast for me in these situations. I also lose track of time if I am working on a project that is intriguing or I am passionate about. This is another one where I look up at the clock and realize half of the day is already over, although it feels like I just sat down.

Austin Davidson
United Pacific Energy
Reno, Nevada

I lose track of time when I am working with my team — planning our sales strategies, discussing customer feedback, reviewing wins and losses, or just helping out in the warehouse.

It’s easy to feel like I’m just pushing through a pile of work on my own sometimes, but when we really engage and work together, we get a lot done and usually have fun while we’re at it. Anything that gets a conversation going makes the time fly by and forms real relationships that really make the workday enjoyable.

Daryl Patias
Maxquip Inc.
Toronto, Ontario, Canada

Fully engaging in the task at hand. Whether it be something exciting or something mundane and dull, full engagement blocks out any distractions or interruptions. With these distractions, time becomes frivolous and irrelevant.

Nate DePrinzio
Total Comfort Gas
Ormond Beach, Florida

If something comes up that wasn’t exactly on the schedule for that day, such as an emergency situation where my attention is solely on resolving it, it can make me lose track of time.

Garrett Salmon
S&S Gas Service Inc.
Summerville, Georgia

You know the old saying, “Time flies when you’re having fun?” Well, it’s true. Enjoying what I do makes me lose track of time. There is always something new to learn, and there is never a dull moment with my team around.

Stephanie Ulam
Berkeley Propane Company
Moncks Corner, South Carolina

I lose track of time primarily due to the mini-computer — otherwise known as an iPhone — that a majority of us depend on daily and lives in our pocket. Don’t get me wrong: Having an unlimited amount of information at your fingertips at all times can be helpful.

However, it can also be distracting. I find myself going from emails to social media to Google, back to emails, back to social media for what seems brief until I look at the clock …

Caleb Warner
Bergquist Inc. 
Kansas City, Missouri

A well-planned day with time-sensitive tasks to complete makes me lose track of time, along with doing service work for customers. Maintaining a clear focus on the job in front of you ensures all procedures are followed and the installation is safe. In my free time, I can get lost in the pursuit of bass or walleye while fishing.

Eric Pirkl
Owatonna, Minnesota

Believe it or not, relationships make me lose track of time at work. As a manager of people, relationships are key. My management style is all about meeting people where they are at. So I often will find myself outside at the loading station with my bobtail drivers, chatting with them about their stops that day, sports, their families, etc. I can easily spend a lot of time talking with my team, both about work and about life in general. Relationships with my customers are also key.

I’ve found that regular interaction with customers (both small and large) is incredibly important. This regular communication ensures their propane needs are being met and gives me a chance to work on any area where my team and I may be lacking. I’ve realized a lot of my day can often just be spent talking. While relationship management is important, I also have many other things to look after as a manager.

What works best for me is time management and planning. My mornings are strategically task-oriented. I get all of the projects, follow-ups, inventory, payroll, etc., out of the way first thing in the morning. Doing this allows me to freely engage with both my customers and my employees throughout the day without having to worry about deadlines.

Kristen Williams (Abraham)
Superior Plus Propane
Sterling, Massachusetts

I like to keep it simple. Sunday morning coffee with my husband and two dogs, Marley and Cooper, is what makes me lose track of time. I measure time in cups of coffee instead.

Laura Mabey
BASE Engineering Inc. 
Saint John, New Brunswick, Canada


Bad News, Good News

These young professionals share ideas from their perspectives on the passing of time. They seem clear-headed and provide balance. They suggest that prioritizing work, family and personal goals can improve your daily joy, as well as slowing down and paying attention.

My 14-year-old granddaughter, Stella, told me she now realizes her greatest challenge is to keep her focus and be present in the moment. We certainly know time is not going to wait for us in any circumstance. So, I will sign off with a quote from career coach and speaker Michael Altshuler, “The bad news is time flies. The good news is you’re the pilot.”

Nancy Coop is an industry advocate. She serves as marketing director at Cetane Associates. Contact her at ncoop@cetane.net. 

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