Saturday, March 7, 2009

An extra hour!

This weekend, we will once again embark on the annual hoax we refer to as
Daylight Savings Time.

It’s a harmless hoax, because we’re all in it together. We’re collectively playing a giant practical joke on ourselves: fooling ourselves into believing we’ve created an extra hour!!!

After our bodies get over the shock of losing an hour of sleep on Saturday night – which, in my case, will probably take about a month of daily half-hour naps – we will be rewarded with an extra hour of daylight every afternoon until November. An extra hour!

In reality, it’s not an extra hour, because you cannot create time – not even Congress, which authored the current DST hoax – but it does SEEM to be an extra hour!

What it is, in reality, is an extra USEABLE hour each day… useable because it’s tacked on to the end of the workday.

So, for all practical purposes, we all get an extra hour per day to use as we see fit.

Hold that thought for a moment while we explore a different concept…

Time is money.

We’ve all heard that adage, and we inherently know it’s true. Time is money. If you work an hour, you get paid for an hour. If you work eight hours, you get paid for eight hours.

Now, hold THAT though for a moment while we move on to yet at THIRD concept: We are in a recession. Our economy is suffering. We don’t have enough money. Businesses are collapsing. Everywhere, people are worried about how they’re going to pay their bills… about how they’re going to survive.

Okay… now, let’s take those three concepts and try to connect the dots:

First, we’re in a recession, and everybody needs more money.

Second, time is money.

Third, starting next week, we’re all going to have an extra useable hour of time each week.

Are you seeing where I’m going with this? Doesn’t it seem like the extra hour – which is time, which is money – ought to put a dent in the recession?

Let’s do the math. If each person gets an extra hour per day, that means they have 30 extra hours per month. There are roughly 300 million people in America. That comes to 9 billion extra useable hours per month in America. Eight months of DST… now we have 72 billion extra useable hours this year. Let’s put a conservative average value on an hour of $10… meaning the extra useable hours THIS YEAR alone should be worth $720 billion…. nearly as much as the bailout!!!

So, it turns out, we didn’t really need a bailout at all… we just each need to use our extra hour per day to do something useful for our own economy!!!

That’s the good news. Now here’s the bad news. It will not work that way because – despite the fact that they all KNOW time is money – very few Americans understand how to apply that concept anymore. Once upon a time, we all knew. A century or two ago, when we were still an agricultural society, with an occasional craftsman thrown in, virtually all Americans understood that to make more money, you could simply work more hours. By working more hours, farmers could plant and harvest more acres. By working more hours, craftsmen could produce more goods to sell.

But then came the industrial revolution, and eventually mass-production, the assembly line, and factories, and suddenly most Americans simply worked whatever hours the boss told them to work. Sure, they got paid for their hours, but gradually they lost their entrepreneurial instincts.

And, today, confronted with an uncertain financial future, but a sudden boon of seven extra hours each week to use, most Americans – I would guess 9 out of 10 – have absolutely no idea how to connect those dots to create extra income for themselves.

So, just because I like to help out as I can, I’m going to give you some common-sense suggestions on how to use your extra hours for extra income.

Next week.

In the meantime, why don’t you see if you can figure it out for yourself? If you come up with really good ideas, send them to me and I will share them with the rest of the class. Email to me at

And next week, I’ll offer at least a dozen ideas on how you can use your extra hour to beat the recession.

Or, if you prefer, you can just watch TV… especially the news, to find out how bad this economy is.

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