What to do with an extra hour in the day

Published 4:47 pm Friday, November 5, 2021

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On the first Sunday of November each year, anyone watching the clock on your phone or TV or computer at 1:59 a.m. will notice that the next minute on display is 1 a.m. again instead of the usual 2 a.m.

No, you’re not stuck in a mini sci-fi time loop. And your technology is working just fine. It’s simply the annual end of Daylight Saving Time.

Yes, that moment twice a year when we move the clocks one hour forward or back. It’s confusing to keep up with, and a good reminder every year that time is really just some sort of ridiculous trick the whole world has been playing forever. (This is especially blatant when you realize that Hawaii, most of Arizona, and U.S. territories abroad don’t even observe DST. So things are probably extra confusing if you’re traveling there or making a call across time zones.)

For the next few weeks, you’ll probably be waking up at the wrong time or feeling like you want to go to bed at a different time, because it takes some time to readjust if you’ve already got a routine set. And of course, plenty of people get extra grumpy with a lack of daylight when they get home after work in the evenings.

Actually, according to NPR, it’s the business industry who’s been advocating for DST for years. Basically, if it’s not dark when you leave your job each evening, you’re apparently likely to go shopping on their way home. Because of that mindset (which is probably true, honestly), DST has gradually been expanded by the government bit by bit until now it lasts for 34 weeks (or about eight months). The most recent expansion took place in 2005 when Congress agreed to move the start date up to March and the end date to November.

Many states have started supporting the idea of just keeping DST permanently in place, and we can just do away with clock-changing nonsense twice a year. But the decision rests in Congress’ hands, and I’m assuming they’re arguing over slightly more important things right now.

So, for now, we’re stuck with “springing forward” and “falling back” and trying to remember to manually reset any clock we have that doesn’t change automatically. (To be honest, some years I just leave the clock display in my car unchanged. It doesn’t really make me get to my destination any faster either way.)

Personally, the best thing about DST in my opinion is that one extra hour we get this time of year. Anyone like me who constantly says “there’s not enough hours in the day” should be thrilled to actually have an extra hour of the day!

Here a few simple (silly) suggestions on what you can do with that extra hour at 1 a.m. this weekend (or, if you read this later than Nov. 7, you can use these suggestions next year):

Watch the first episode of a TV show you’ve been meaning to check out. But ONLY the first episode. Binge-watch culture is at an all time high, so there will definitely be a dangling cliffhanger at the end, urging you to just keep going to the next episode and the next episode and the next episode. But the end of DST only gives us an extra hour, and unfortunately not an extra day.

Get an hour of exercise in. Sure, that might not be the best idea to do at one in the morning, but hey, haven’t we all been telling ourselves that we’d start exercising more if only we had the extra time to do it? Well, here’s your chance! Grab the hand weights and let’s go!

Balance your checkbook…….

……on second thought, if you’re like me, you may need more than an hour to do this.

Get started on a new hobby. Maybe you’ve been wanting to try out knitting or drawing or yoga or other stuff like that. Maybe you’ve been procrastinating on it because you don’t quite know how to begin. No worries! After an hour of struggling to figure things out and questioning why you ever wanted to do that thing to begin with, you’ll be ready to give up and try again another day.

Make a list of things you need or want to do. Goals, chores, etc. You won’t have time to actually do any of those things, but at least you’ll feel a little more organized and accomplished afterwards.

And lastly, you can just sleep during that extra hour! Who among us doesn’t need a little extra time to snooze? In fact, out of all these suggestions, this is probably what I’ll do. And probably what most other people will be doing as well. It’s really the most reasonable option for the middle of the night.

But however you chose to spend that extra hour, just remember that one day we may not have to deal with all this confusion after all.

We’ll still have to contend with the headache of time zones though. But that’s a topic for another time… maybe when I have an extra hour free.

Holly Taylor is a Staff Writer at Roanoke-Chowan Publications. Contact her at holly.taylor@r-cnews.com or by phone at 252-332-7206.