Daylight saving time (DST) is the practice of advancing clocks during the summer months that have more daylight. This is to make people get up earlier in the morning and experience more daylight in the evening and make the most of the sunlight hours. DST was first proposed in 1895 by George Vernon Hudson. The system has had its advocates and detractors. Putting clocks back benefits retailing, sports, and other activities that exploit sunlight after working hours. However, it can also cause problems such as complicating timekeeping, and disruptions of meetings, travel, billing, record keeping, etc.
The DST discussed here, luckily, has none of these problems and it is tailored to your particular needs. It involves your own waking routine so it will not disrupt your natural body cycle. It is designed to make you more alive and productive without the use of artificial and often dangerous stimulants. Here is how it’s done:
- Opt for early bedtime. It is highly recommended that set you an earlier bedtime (about 10pm at the latest). Make sure you get a solid 7 to 8 hours of sleep. Studies show that people who average 7 to 9 hours of sleep are happier and have higher level of productive output.
- Start your day early. If you hit the sack at 10pm the previous night, you should be up by 6am. Benjamin Franklin wisely advised when he said, “Early to bed, and early to rise, makes a man healthy, wealthy and wise”. Getting enough good sleep at night ensures that you wake up in the morning in a more positive mood, ready to tackle the new day’s activities. It has been proven that the brain is most functional during the first two and a half hours upon waking up, thus besides having more time to do things, they are do them more efficiently.
- Do one thing at a time. Forget the notion that multi-tasking makes you accomplish more things in shorter time. The reality is just the opposite. Actually, less is accomplished in a much longer time because when you multi-task, you cannot concentrate on what you are doing so you tend to make more mistakes. Correcting these mistakes eats up more time. End result: you work less efficiently with unsatisfactory quality in a much longer period. It has been proven by neurological studies that multi-tasking is a physiological impossibility. No one is meant to do more than one task simultaneously effectively, not even a computer.
- Take power naps. Research has found that a 20-minute power nap after lunch can boost your time management skills. This short nap that occurs at the first stage of sleep, avoids the REM stage or rapid eye movement phase of sleep thus inducing complete rest that effectively refreshes the brain. This in turn boosts productivity, enhances creativity, and improves memory. Power naps is important in managing your time effectively since it affects your work ethic that enables you to accomplish more and better work.
- Bunch your tasks. Classify and group tasks that are related so that there is continuity in your actions. Before you make your daily schedule, estimate the time that you will need for each task. Then, schedule the right tasks at the right time. Since different types of work require different state of mind to be done more efficiently, set time-consuming tasks at the beginning of the day and shorter ones the rest of time. Work on the more challenging task when you are most energetic based on you natural circadian cycle, without disrupting your priorities. If your task is writing articles, for example, start working early when you have more time to concentrate instead of at end of the day when it is very hard to concentrate. Assign similar tasks to the same time so that you can accomplish them in one sitting.
- Make your idle time constructive. Use breaks in your day to plan for you next project or activities for the rest of your day. These can be during coffee breaks, or when you are caught in traffic jam, or while waiting for the bus or for the bank to open, etc. This is using your otherwise useless time to your benefit. This does not mean you should fill up every second of your waking hours thinking of work. You may use your free time to relax your mind and rejuvenate your energy. You can indulge in this without guilt because re-boosting your energy is also utilizing your idle time constructively.
- Take time for your health. You should not ignore your health, both physical and mental. This is a vital part of effective time management. Feeling indisposed due to illness cuts on your time to work and enjoy life. The time you set to maintain your fitness allows you to carry out your planned activities. These should include not only work, but relaxation and meditation as well since they contribute for your greater productivity and overall well-being.
- Say “NO” if you have to. Do not feel guilt for declining requests that disrupt your schedule or cause you to neglect your own responsibilities. Do not fall prey to the emotional blackmail some inconsiderate people use to make you do things for them. If acceding to do tasks requested of you makes you feel bad and stressed, drop them. Get ready with your list of alibis to turn down people tactfully so you do not get caught flat-footed. The art of saying “no” is another important key to effective time management.
These suggestions will enable you to tailor your own Daylight Saving Time to your own need. They will make your daylight time more enjoyable and productive. This will make you close your day early and ready to face the following day refreshed and energized.