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improve the shining hour
old-fashioned To maximize one's productivity; to make the most of one's time. This notion that children should at all times strive to improve the shining hour—foregoing play and rest in the name of education and work—means many children are being deprived of childhood itself.
improve (up)on something
to make something better. (Upon is formal and less commonly used than on.) Do you really think you can improve upon this song? No one can improve on my favorite melody.
Make beneficial additions or changes to, as in The company is trying to improve on the previous model. [Late 1600s]
improve the shining hourmake good use of time; make the most of your time. literary
This expression comes from Isaac Watts's Divine Songs for Children ( 1715 ): ‘How doth the little busy bee Improve each shining hour’.
improve onor improve upon
To make beneficial additions or changes to something; make something better: We can improve on this room by painting it. I improved upon the recipe by adding more spices.