Let’s Get Rid of Daylight Saving Time

person touching black two bell alarm clock
Photo by Stas Knop on Pexels.com

It is that time of year when one article after another is calling for an end to daylight saving time. I thought to add my voice to the mix. When I was younger, I liked daylight saving time in the spring, because it meant I could stay out later. I also slept in later so that the sun was usually up when I woke up. Now, in middle age, daylight saving time is just one more annoyance that I have to deal with. Our computers, iPhones, and iPads update the time automatically. But there are four clocks in the house that have to be manually updated twice a year. Plus the microwave and the range. And the clocks in the cars. When daylight saving time starts or ends there is always confusion. The kids get up too early or too late. Everyone is off for a few days. I can only imagine what this does to productivity. It seems time to end this practice.

If we are going to end daylight saving time, I think we should go all-in and eliminate all confusion about time across the globe. Why note eliminate time zones while we are at it? We could use Greenwich Mean Time as the standard. Midnight GMT means midnight all over the world. If it happens to be mid-day where you live, we’d still call it midnight, or 12 a.m. The fact that it is light or dark really doesn’t matter. You can say it is “midnight”, but still say it is day time. “Midnight” in this sense, becomes like the word “dial” when referring to making a phone call. Dial originally referred to the control that opened a circuit on a phone line. It has a new meaning today. So would “midnight.”

It would mean a shift in thinking about when things happen. I currently get up around 6 am local time. If we eliminated time zones, I’d generally wake up around 11 am GMT. I’d start work around 1 pm GMT. 1pm for me, would be right after breakfast.

But let’s go a step further. Time was originally divided into segments that made for easy calculations in days before computers could readily handle such calculation. A day was divided into 24 segments because 24 has a lot of factors to it. I’d suggest we move to a metric form of time. A day might be divided into 10 deci-days, each of which would be the equivalent of 2 and 24 minutes. We could further divide a day into centi-days, each of which would be about 14 minutes and 24 seconds. And, of course, we could divide further into milli-days, each of which would be 1.4 minutes. For the purposes of scheduling, I don’t think we’d need to get more granular than that. What we think of as one hour would be equal to about 4.16 centi-days. 3 centi-days would be a little less than 8 hours, a standard workday.

We could rework the years as well, but that would require reworking the day again. I should have started with the year, but I’m off today, thanks to the extra hour of sleep I got last night, and I can no longer think straight. So maybe we should start with daylight saving time, and consider it a win. At the very least, it would prevent people from making the egregious error of referring to it as daylight savings time.

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  1. Along these lines, I had thought about how we might otherwise metricize time. For one, how about a 10-day week with 7 work days and 3 weekend days?

    1. Michael, I’m all for metric, but I also was involved in the multiyear Y2K project at my company and I could only imagine the havoc such a change would create in software, especially financial software for systems and processes based on the (artificial) rhythm of a week.

  2. The same would be true for changing an hour to 4.16 dici-days in the time-keeping applications. I also lived the Y2K project at the company I worked at. That effort consumed a lot of time, brain power, and money. The short-sighted early designers could not have imagined the impact of saving 2 spaces on an 80-card column keypunch card and the associated limited storage would have a few decades later.


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