I’ve been struggling with productivity this week.It’s becoming increasingly difficult for me to come back to my room after a full day of classes, work and rehearsals, only to have to spend time on homework for the rest of the evening.
I don’t want to work on assignments in my free time; I’d rather get food with friends, or hang out with my housemates. And, to be completely honest, sometimes I just want to collapse on the couch and scroll through Twitter to my heart’s content.
I think one reason I’ve been feeling so unproductive is the hour of sleep we all lost this weekend.
It’s been a struggle to get out of bed in the mornings since Sunday, when our clocks were set forward an hour for the annual switch from standard time to daylight saving time.
As annoying as the time change has been, there’s good news: This could be one of the last times we ever have to deal with it. On Tuesday, the U.S. Senate approved a measure to make daylight time permanent in 2023.
If the legislation, fittingly titled the Sunshine Protection Bill, passes in the House and is signed by President Biden, our sleep schedules will never again be interrupted by the pesky “springing forward” in March and “falling back” in November. And there could be other, longer-term effects as well: a decline in seasonal depression, and even a decrease in heart attacks and car accidents, which have been seen to spike after daylight saving time each year.
But as I read The New York Times’ briefing on the bill, I noticed one sentence, in particular, that felt less exciting: “Retail and leisure industries have argued that more light in the evenings would give consumers more time to spend money.”
Of course. Like many pieces of legislation, this bill is, at least in part, designed to squeeze more out of all of us — as consumers and as producers.
It’s discouraging to read about a law that claims to be in our best interests, but is also interested in gross domestic product. And I feel a little sad knowing that even this bill, which could benefit a lot of people, is rooted in the idea that productivity determines our worth as individuals.
So, here’s the deal: It doesn’t matter what the clock says. The number of hours in the day doesn’t change, and the number of them in which the sun is up will still wax and wane with the seasons, with the angle of the sun to the earth. I’ll still be tired after a long day of classes, and I’ll still procrastinate. I’ll still want to spend more time with friends and, unfortunately, I’ll still scroll through Twitter.
And that doesn’t diminish my worth as a person, no matter how many legislators, employers or professors tell me otherwise. We can celebrate the possibility of an end to clock-resetting and all the good things that come from that without endorsing the myth that we must be productive at all times of the day. You decide how to use your time — no one else.