With spring around the corner, it’s time to prepare for the dreaded lost hour of sleep as we “spring forward” on Sunday, March 8th. Twice a year, Daylight Saving Time (DST) sneaks up and surprises us early Sunday morning and even more so the following Monday, as we prepare for the work week.
According to a 2014 survey from The Better Sleep Council, “more than half (61%) of U.S. adults say they feel the effects of Daylight Saving Time the Monday after resetting their clocks.”
As if Mondays weren’t hard enough, twice a year, Americans start these two weeks with disruptions to their sleep patterns, morning routines, daily schedules and even their health. And for a small business owner, small inefficiencies can mean a big loss in productivity and profit.
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But it doesn’t have to…
Here are time-saving tips to help you make big gains from that lost hour as we move into spring.
Re-adjust your internal AND external clocks
Now that you know the date (March 8), schedule a reminder to set all of your clocks forward by one hour either Friday night or Saturday morning. Don’t forget your watch, car radio and other electronics that don’t automatically account for DST.
Waiting until Sunday at 2 a.m. to reset your clocks adds unnecessary pressure to the beginning of your work week and little time for your circadian rhythms to adjust. One benefit to spring and summer is the additional sunlight we receive, so take the time to adjust your body to the new “sun schedule”.
Embrace the sunshine by eating lunch on an outdoor patio, spend time outside at the park or take an evening walk after work.
The Journal of Psychosomatic Research reiterates the importance of aligning your internal clock in a recent study that concluded establishing a quality routine sleep schedule is more important than the quantity of hours slept when it comes to feeling rested and rejuvenated.
To quote Benjamin Franklin, “Early to bed and early to rise, makes a man healthy, wealthy and wise.”
You likely already have plenty of to-do lists written on post-it-notes around your desk, but like most Americans, the problem with to-do lists is that they never end.
We have a tendency to add more items to our lists, rather than completing the most important tasks first.
An effective way to prioritize and save time is to create a “not-to-do-list”. Focusing on what you don’t need to do immediately, determines what you can do.
Schedule at Your Peak
Once you prioritize your day or week, plan ahead and schedule the top priorities on your calendar. Whether your calendar is on your wall, your smartphone or in the cloud, schedule specific times to complete your tasks.
As you identify the most important action items, tackle these projects during your body’s peak hours. Some of us are morning people and some of us are night owls. Find your peak performance hours and align the most essential work assignments accordingly.
For most people, the Monday after Daylight Saving Time affects everyone in the office. As you plan that day, avoid scheduling early morning or late afternoon meetings. More importantly, determine whether or not your meetings are providing true business value.
As you reevaluate, also consider whether cutting a one-hour meeting down to half an hour could be a more efficient use of everyone’s time, including yours!
Put Your Health First
Avoid adding unnecessary stress to the Monday after Daylight Saving Time. Implementing these tips in preparation for the lost hour takes the surprise away from you, your job and your health!
According to the American College of Cardiology, moving the clock forward may alter the timing of when heart attacks occur. The study revealed a 25% increase in the number of heart attacks the Monday after we “spring forward.”
Disruption to our circadian rhythm has been linked to health problems such as diabetes, depression and obesity, says Steve Kay, professor of molecular and computational biology at University of Southern California.
By taking proactive steps to prevent disruptions to our schedules, we can save time, stress and even health implications. The time change is inevitable. Take time to plan ahead this spring and eliminate the unnecessary stress for you and your small business.
Want more small business tips and insights? Visit the FedEx Office Small Business Center here. www.fedex.com/us/office/Small-Business/