Every year at this time, one of my colleagues throws a fit. “I can’t believe we’re still doing this!” she exclaims. “I hate it!” She’s usually calm and good-natured; what could get her so riled up? The end of Daylight Saving Time. She describes herself as “violently opposed” to Standard Time, lamenting that it “defies logic and happiness.” She argues that permanent Daylight Saving would result in a few more dark mornings for people on the western edges of the time zones, but would more than make up for it in the extended evening daylight that everyone would enjoy.
In fact, studies are torn on the efficacy of changing the clock. The Energy Policy Act of 2005 extended Daylight Saving Time by 4-5 weeks, an attempt to help Americans save energy by using less lighting. Studies found that lighting using did decrease a bit, but heating and cooling usage increased. People went out more, but there was a corresponding increase in gas usage. At certain times of the year, it would delay sunrise in a few places until 8:30am. Meanwhile, the US Chamber of Commerce praised the move for increasing the amount of shopping that occurred after work hours. Even the candy industry loved it, because it provided Halloween trick-or-treaters more daylight. More daylight, more trick-or-treaters, more candy!
Whether you like it or not, fall back you will this weekend. Here are suggestions on how to maximize the value of your bonus hour:
1. Build Your Relationships
Many people complain about their work-life balance. It seems there are never enough hours in the day to fulfill your personal and professional obligations. They also complain about a lack of opportunity to network, learn, and work on their business. So with this extra hour, consider investing time in your relationships. Give an hour of uninterrupted time to your significant other, parent, or child. Invite a business connection to coffee to discuss how you can make money together. Host a happy hour at work to improve morale and deepen your company’s community. Life is all about people, so make your extra hour all about them, too.
As fall fades to winter - and as the days get shorter! - it becomes more difficult to make time for personal health. There are lots of good reasons this happens: it’s the busiest season at work; it’s the time of year when kids have millions of activities; fewer daylight hours mean daylight-sensitive items get re-prioritized, etc. But here’s the thing - winter might be the most important time of the year to exercise. It releases endorphins to combat the winter blues, and it helps strengthen your immune system against those nasty winter bugs. Exercise also helps maintain healthy habits that won’t require drastic efforts to undo in the spring. It keeps your brain sharp and helps you sleep better, too.
My wife is a daily yoga devotee. She has found it makes her fit and strong, and also helps keep her mind sharp and agile. Even if yoga isn’t your thing, the focus and clear headspace encouraged during yoga is an excellent skill to possess. So consider using your hour to find and practice a meditation method that works for you, and make a plan to do it every day for a week. You may find the benefits to be profound.
Sleep is so essential that you’re supposed to devote a full third of every day to it. But be honest - how many of you actually get a solid 8 hours regularly? Even occasionally? Probably not many. So since you have an extra hour this weekend, stay in bed late or take a cat nap. It’ll feel like a treat, and your body and mind will thank you.
5. Plan a New Initiative
Do your team a favor this winter. Take the extra hour and use it to help develop your employees and grow your company. Plan a learning event, organize a guest speaker lunch, or invite a wellness expert to visit your company. There are lots of inexpensive ways you can build a strong culture and help your colleagues flourish.