Most of us got an extra hour over the weekend when we set our clocks back for daylight savings time. I personally think that it’s a bit of a silly practice in this day and age, and I’m not alone: there are several regions in the world that do not observe daylight savings time. You lose an hour in the spring and you gain it back in the fall. It’s a zero sum game, unless you’re still living on a farm or something.
Thinking about daylight savings time brings up an interesting concept though. Even though we are surrounded by all sorts of time-saving modern conveniences, many people feel that there are not enough hours in the day to get everything done. We try to stay as productive as possible using things like to-do lists, but there never seems to be enough time.
What if each day was extended by a single hour? With some very simple arithmetic, you would discover that you have an extra seven hours every week, 365 hours every year, and nearly 30,000 extra hours over the course of an average lifetime. That should give you enough wiggle room to get everything done, right? Unfortunately, this will obviously not be the case.
How did you spend the extra hour over the weekend? Maybe you chose to stay out an extra hour on Saturday night, playing Guitar Hero. Maybe you, like me, chose to stay in bed for an extra hour, trying to catch up on some beauty sleep. Then again, maybe you’re a real go-getter and you actually got some work or errands done. Nah, that didn’t happen.
This goes right back to the notion that it’s pointless to save time. Whenever we find a way to gain an extra hour — whether it be by billing monthly rather than weekly, by collecting related tasks together so you don’t double-dip, or by sending a quick email instead of waiting on the phone for customer service — we inevitably find a way to fill that hour with something else. And that something else isn’t always something useful.
With this in mind, I ask you: would adding an extra hour to each day have a particularly profound effect on your lifestyle? Would it be more of the same? I think that an extra hour would grant some temporary relief, but its positive impact could quickly dissipate, ironically enough, over time.