Many in the United States just survived a much maligned and somewhat frustrating tradition. Daylight Saving Time (DST) began on Sunday. We “lost” an hour of sleep to “gain” an hour of sunlight every evening. Actually though, neither of those things are true. Truthfully, we just changed our clocks. Which has me thinking about obsolete traditions and habits that outlive their usefulness.
Considering Habits That Outlive Their Usefulness
Growing up I thought DST was in place because of ranchers or livestock or something to do with crops. In researching this story, I discovered that farmers were opposed to DST back in 1918 because they recognized that the clock didn’t determine their schedule, the sun did. In fact, DST was championed by retail outlets and recreational activities looking to cash in on an extra hour of business during daylight.
Daylight Saving Time isn’t some sort of centuries old, time-honored tradition. It wasn’t even legislated until 1966, and even then it was just a suggestion — a suggestion that Arizona, Hawaii, and several U.S. island territories haven’t adopted. Those exceptions (and others around the world) complicate standardized time.
Some proponents of the tradition argue that DST is a way to save energy. However, our dependence on personal computers and streaming services, plus things like street lights and automobiles or public transportation with headlights make it awfully easy to enjoy restaurants, bars, movie theaters, sporting events, and other activities after the sun goes down. So, can we all agree that DST is not helping us conserve energy?
If I use my social media feeds over the weekend to “read the room,” DST is not popular. Nearly every post mentioning it was a complaint. One meme even (jokingly) made a clever suggestion. Why don’t we “spring forward” on Friday afternoon while watching the clock and waiting for the weekend, instead of on Sunday morning when we’re cozy in bed. If we’re going to lose an hour, can it at least be one we’re not that attached to? There were even some news organizations who dramatically claimed that the time change makes us sick!
Why Keep Up the Habit?
So why exactly are we still adjusting our clocks twice a year? Is it because we always have? Is it because everyone else is doing it? (Let’s think about what our mothers would say about that second one.)
It seems like, perhaps, DST is a historical convention that is obsolete. Though we were convinced it was helpful at one point, it may just be a custom that has outlived its usefulness. If I’m being honest, it isn’t the only one in my life.
What about you? Is it time to reevaluate some of your professional habits? Are there policies that no longer serve your organization? Are there procedures implemented by a predecessor that have you feeling like you’re wearing a sweater that is two sizes too small? I bet there are things you do every day at work that feel more like mindless busy work than actual productivity.
What if we took our extra hours of daylight this week (#sarcasticfont) to reassess our regular routines? Let’s consider it spring cleaning. Make some room for productive tasks and creative endeavors by putting an end to actions that no longer serve a purpose. Though I suspect, DST is here to stay — our other obsolete routines don’t need to be. If our lives are occupied by habits that have outlived their usefulness, now is the time to make a change.