Every six months, the clocks change by an hour. And every six months, I go mental as I try to reconcile the clock changes on my daily and business life.
It might be only an hour, but that's only if you focus on the one time zone. If you are like me, you live your life based on multiple time zone (having an international business), so it's not just one hour that changes. Nope. It's one hour one month as Daylight Savings starts in one time zone, but it's another hour the next month as Daylight Savings ends the next month. And by the end of it, the clocks have moved two hours and you lose total track of everything.
Every six months, I face this two-hour shift, and sometimes the results are me grumpy because I'm up at all godly hours in the morning.
Let me tell you of my crazy when the clocks shifted in New Zealand earlier this month.
The Sunday Clock Mishap
So… The clocks shift in the US back in March, and I was already working with that schedule. I rely on Google Calendar to keep things straight, particularly as events are scheduled based on other time zones (nominally ET in my business world). But when the clocks shifted in New Zealand on April 2nd (heading into April 3rd), I was caught completely unaware.
During the week of March 28th through April 3rd, I attended an online conference. Most sessions started at 6am my time. That might seem early for some, but I'm up at around 4am every morning, and heading out the door for a walk at around 5am, then back at the computer for a 6:30am start to my workday. This is my normal routine, and I've been doing it for years now. So, starting conference sessions at 6am wasn't an issue. But on my Sunday (my normal day off), the session started at 5am. Google made all the time zone calculations for me, so I didn't think anything of it. And I didn't question the earlier start either, because it was a six-hour workshop, compared to the two-hour workshops that had been earlier in the week.
I didn't think anything about the shifts in time—until I got to my computer on Sunday morning.
Here I was, prepping for the workshop session, 4:30am, knowing that I didn't have time to go for a morning walk before the workshop started. I'm getting everything together. Then I looked at the little clock display in the system tray on my toolbar. 3:30am.
I looked at the wall clock on the living room wall. 4:30am. "Huh?" And I looked again at the computer clock. 3:30am.
"Oh crap!" I looked at my cellphone. Sure enough: 3:30am.
I hadn't gotten up at 4am like I normally do. I had gotten up at 3am—because the clocks had changed. GAH!
I didn't go for a walk before the workshop, because with the extra hour, I actually had time to do my normal Sunday morning routine of a tarot reading. I mean, I had an extra hour to kill that I wasn't anticipating, so…
And of course, when the sun rose an hour earlier than I was used to—rising around 7:30am one day, then suddenly rising around 6:30am the next day—I was only reminded about how my morning routine was thrown completely out of whack.
While modern technology (computers, phones, tablets, and smart watches) all change their clocks based on their regional settings. Daylight Savings changes kick in, and the clocks change for you. You don't have to do anything (unlike the old days when you spent forever trying to work out which way the clock needed to go—and the computers didn't help).
But the wall clock, the bedroom alarm clocks, and the clock on the microwave all required manual intervention. Which, of course, confuses the family.
My husband got up and looked at the wall clock. "It's only 11am. Wow, I normally sleep until noon on Sundays."
My eyes narrowed at him.
"It is noon, as far as your body is concerned. The clocks changed."
"Oh… So, you've been up since 3am?"
I think the look on my face had said it all, because he just laughed, then gave me a hug.
Daylight Savings: Does it still have a use?
With all the crazy that happens in this house ever six months as the clocks change (with the family normally laughing at something that happened to me regarding the double time zone shifts), the conversations started about whether Daylight Savings even still had a use.
I jokingly say it every six months. "Can't we just move the clocks half an hour and forget about it?"
But the joke does question why we even have Daylight Savings in the first place.
Historically, Daylight Savings came in when the farming was a big part of most people's lives. The government wanted to maximize the business hours, shifting them ever six months, so they made full use of the daylight hours. But with society shifting to a global business economy, doing many interactions online, does Daylight Savings still have a place?
And as we become more and more globally connected, will time zones continue to have meaning?
Universal Time is a thing!
As a person with a science background, the concept of Universal Time (UT) was something that I had to become intimately familiar with. Working out the position of the stars was calculated based on UT. Understanding weather maps and MetService data required a working knowledge of UT. Reading satellite images required matching data based on UT. Everything was all based on UT (or Julian time, which is something special for astronomy that to this day does my head in).
And if you look at the likes of Google Calendar, when you are hunting down the varying time zones for setting event times, all time zones are listed with respect to Greenwich Mean Time (GMT), listed as GMT ± X hours. (I think New Zealand is currently GMT + 12 hours, while during Daylight Savings, it's GMT + 13 hours.)
I seem to remember reading somewhere that all clocks were based on the atomic clock in Greenwich (but don't quote me on that one… I can't remember where I read that).
By the way, UT equates to GMT. The difference is in the definition. GMT is a time zone, where UT is a standardized time.
The point is, we already have a standard time setting. Why don't we use it and stick to it?
Perhaps we need to become a little more globally connected, but I do think it will happen one day.
So, do the changes in the clock every six months trip you up too? I would love to hear about your hilarity as you try to retrain your body to the new clock time.