Last weekend, most of us in the United States had set our clocks forward one hour for our springtime jump into Daylight Saving Time (DST).
We will stay in this mode for seven months, at which time we will “fall” back to “normal time.”
This means that every man, woman, and child in the US will realize an annual time savings of exactly—zero.
That’s right; it is a gross misrepresentation that Daylight Saving Time actually saves time. All it does is shift the clock setting forward one hour so that dusk has the allusion of being delayed. Of course, the tradeoff for this is that dawn likewise seems to arrive one hour later. So on one end, we seemingly have more time to play and on the other side, more time to sleep in. Yeah, right!
The result is that no time is created or lost in the process, merely the perception by some that they actually gained something through this temporal sleight of hand.
So, what will you do with all this extra time that you save?
Winter, as measured by the amount of snow and extreme cold, has dragged on for too long. I’m ready for spring. A milestone that signals the approaching of a new season is the annual switch to daylight saving time (DST). In case this isn’t on your calendar, get ready. It occurs in a few days, this year on March 9 (if you’re in the US), when we spring forward one hour.
However, aside from a reminder of spring’s approach, I have no other affection for daylight saving time. Consider:
It’s a Misnomer: We don’t really save daylight; we just alter our perception of when it occurs. Incredibly, some people actually believe this gives them an extra hour of daylight each day.
It Wastes Time: We spend too much time changing our clocks.
It Costs Money: Businesses must pay someone to reset clocks, adjust equipment, correct payroll issues for people working during the time change, and so forth. This is an added business expense.
It’s Frustrating: I always seem to miss a clock or two. Sometimes it’s a week or more before I discover my error, but never until after I’ve had an initial panic that I’m late or messed up my schedule.
It Confuses People: After each biannual time change, invariably someone arrives at church at the wrong time. I’m sure it happens at work, too, especially on Sunday shifts.
It Takes Time to Adjust our Internal Clocks: Switching time, messes up our sleep; it takes up to a week for me to return to normal.
It’s Dreaded: I’ve never met a person who looked forward to changing time, but I know many people who complain about it.
While many, myself included, have advocated we skip this twice a year nonsense and pick one time, I have an even better idea: let’s pick one time for the entire world. After all, we live in a global world and should be in sync with each other.
Let’s all switch to Coordinated Universal Time (UTC), also known as Zulu time. Then it will be the same time everywhere, with no confusion about time zones. No longer will we need to ask, “Is that 3:00 your time or mine?” There will be no errors in adjusting for meetings, conference calls, or deadlines with those in other time zones.
This will, of course, require a significant mental adjustment, but we’d only need to do it once. If my calculations are correct, that means I’d get up at 10:00 a.m. (not 5); eat lunch at 5:00 p.m. (not noon), my workday would end at 10:00 p.m. (not 5), and bedtime would beckon at 3:00 a.m. (not 10).
Of course, while we’re at it, we could also switch to a 24-hour clock and forgo the a.m. and p.m. notations.