The end of Daylight Saving Time (DST) in the fall is recognized on the first Sunday in November and it’s a time when most of us set our clocks back one hour. With more than 70% of countries observing DST, there are plenty of pros and cons to consider, as well as ways to adjust to the hour change and maximize your productivity along the way.
Falling back in autumn is much easier on our bodies compared to springing forward one hour in March. Nonetheless, we’re all prone to feeling a bit off as our body’s circadian rhythm tries to readjust and better align with the shift in hours.
When navigating the time change, it helps to understand that we experience our days in three energy phases: a high-energy peak, a low-energy trough and a moderate- to high-energy rebound.
For most of us, our lowest energy point of the day occurs around 2:55 p.m. Shifting our clocks back one hour means we might unexpectedly feel tired or groggy much earlier than usual. This can make staying focused during deep working sessions or staying engaged during meetings tough.
When it comes to supporting employees through the bi-annual time change, the first step to boosting morale is simply recognizing and acknowledging that everyone is going through the shared experience of adjusting their internal clocks.
Since the time change is accompanied by shorter days in the fall, and therefore darkness sets in earlier, employers and managers can encourage teams to soak in some mood-boosting sunlight by taking meetings outside or going on a quick walk. Just 15-minutes of daily sunlight can help reset or balance the circadian rhythm.
Additionally, since it’s getting dark earlier in the autumn days, it’s a great time to ensure office exits are well lit to avoid safety issues in the workplace.
Below are some tips on managing the effects of the time change and maximizing your productivity:
- Go for a quick walk outside to get an energy boost instead of reaching for sugary candy or a venti latte when you feel sluggish.
- Drink a tall glass of ice water to feel more alert and energized.
- Set a caffeine deadline for the early afternoon to help the evening winddown process.
- Keep a consistent daily bedtime and wake time.
- Avoid eating a heavy meal or working out within two hours of lights out.
Studies have shown that early risers are more productive, more engaged and generally happier than those who sleep in. If you’ve ever wanted to bump up your morning wake time, the end of DST can be an ideal opportunity to refresh your morning routine. As clocks turn back this fall, instead of staying in bed or hitting the snooze button, go ahead and get out of bed. Use this time change transition to create a new early-rising habit and become more productive than ever.
Anna Dearmon Kornick is a time management coach and host of It’s About Time, a podcast about work, life and balance. As head of community at Clockwise, an intelligent calendar assistant that frees up your time so you can work on what matters, Anna is on a mission to help the world spend time on what matters.