How to make time go faster at work. Many of us have pondered how to make time pass more quickly at work, whether it be during unproductive meetings, idle moments of downtime, or while avoiding a daunting task. Some work days fly by effortlessly, while others seem to stretch on endlessly, with every minute painstakingly counted until the moment we can finally clock out.
Occasionally, a slower day can be enjoyable, but staring at the ceiling becomes tiresome and certainly doesn’t make the clock move any faster.
According to research, engaging in enjoyable or challenging activities may cause time to feel like it is flying by. This is because increased dopamine can slow down our internal clock and create a sense of time passing quickly. By doing activities we enjoy or completing tasks, we can boost our dopamine levels.
In this article, we will explore some engaging and productive activities for slow days, popular tricks to speed up time, and other unexpected ways to fast-forward our work day. Whether you are a developer waiting for code to compile or a PR specialist waiting for responses to pitches, here are 11 ways to make time go faster at work.
Get some Work done
Hey, I apologize if this isn’t the advice you’re searching for, but let me tell you, time flies when you’re completely focused on a task. And guess what? It practically vanishes when you’re in a state of flow.
Whether you’re catching up on tasks, planning for the future, or taking on new responsibilities, keeping your mind busy will make time go by faster. Not only will this prevent boredom, but it will also allow you to engage in productive work that demonstrates initiative and increases your value as an employee.
Go on a proper break
Sitting around and counting minutes might give the impression that you’re technically on a break, but your brain doesn’t necessarily perceive it that way. You’re still “on call” and that can bring about anxieties of feeling like you should be working. Many people turn to unproductive time-wasters like scrolling through social media so they can quickly get back to work when needed or when the boss walks by.
Instead, try going for a walk, catching up with colleagues, or grabbing a coffee to recharge away from your workspace. It’s one of the best ways to make time go by faster at work and give yourself a boost to end the day productively when you return. And if you’re feeling bold, why not try power-napping at work?
Grow your skills
If you’ve got nothing else to do, why not make the most of your free time and improve yourself? Take courses, read up on industry topics, and expand your skillset to enhance your personal expertise. This can help you advance your career or even take it in a different direction. Engaging in these activities will not only help time pass quickly but also be productive.
And if you have plenty of free time, self-improvement doesn’t have to be limited to professional aspects. You can explore new hobbies, skills, and interests using the plethora of online resources available – like videos, podcasts, and course platforms. For instance, if you’re interested in developing managerial skills, check out this list of free resources that offer courses on leadership.
Organize your inbox and to do list
You could try to take your mind off a slow-ticking clock by tackling maintenance tasks that are often procrastinated due to lack of time or motivation. This could include cleaning up your inbox, organizing your files, filling out your calendar, and creating daily, weekly, and monthly to-do lists.
These tasks may seem trivial, but they provide a way to stay productive during a slow day without pushing yourself too hard. Despite their simplicity, they can consume a significant amount of your time, and before you realize it, the day is over and it’s time to go home.
Extend a Helping hand to Coworkers
Even if you have free time, don’t assume that your coworkers do too. Helping out your colleagues not only benefits the entire team but also makes time go by quicker as you work together.
When you come together, take over a task, and understand it, lunchtime will have arrived. Helping others can make a big impact on your coworker’s day and your own, and it’s a much more engaging way to spend time than sitting idly by and counting seconds.
Hide the clocks
Here’s a practical trick to make time go faster at work. When you’re trying to kill time, you can’t help but constantly look at the nearest clock, only to feel disappointed at how little time has passed. It almost becomes a compulsion, making the seconds feel like they are ticking by at a snail’s pace.
The solution is clear – simply disregard the time and minimize your exposure to clocks. It’s simple to hide or cover physical clocks, and even when working on a screen, there are easy fixes like hiding the menu bar on Windows or working in full-screen mode on a Mac. This will allow you to focus less on the time and fully immerse yourself in your work.
Let yourself be bored
It’s actually healthy to be bored. According to neuroscientists, boredom can actually boost your creativity, improve productivity, and have a positive impact on your mental well-being. So, instead of immediately reaching for your phone during downtime, try resisting the urge and just sit there for a while.
In our overstimulated world, where our attention is constantly being pulled in various directions, a session of boredom can actually serve as a form of meditation. It may not make your work day go by faster initially, but once you let your mind wander and start daydreaming, you’ll be surprised at how quickly the minutes fly by.
Explore efficiency methods and find one that works for you
Many people often try to avoid daunting tasks by wasting time, leaving them for their future selves to handle. Procrastination is a common habit, but it’s not a healthy way to manage time and usually leaves you feeling more exhausted than if you had just tackled the task right away.
Whether you’re looking to stay on top of your responsibilities or simply looking for ways to distract yourself for hours, there are various productivity methods that can help. The Pomodoro technique, single-tasking, eating the frog, time blocking, and others can really improve your focus and organization, or teach you how to do so when the workload becomes overwhelming.
Catch up on chores
During the pandemic lockdowns and the work-from-home era, we have discovered the benefits of incorporating chores and personal tasks into our work hours. It not only provides a productive break but also allows us to have more personal time after work.
Granted, doing laundry may be challenging if you are back in the office, but fortunately, there are various chores that can be easily accomplished from the comfort of your office chair, such as paying bills, catching up on correspondence, or even doing some gift shopping.
Watch Netflix (not recommended)
Hey, you know what? It’s probably not a good idea to watch Netflix while you’re supposed to be working. Your boss might not be too happy about it. So, just steer clear, alright?
By the way, did you catch this interesting fact? According to a study in 2021, Netflix ranked as the 5th most popular unproductive app among Desk Time users. Can you believe that? People are actually spending hours upon hours watching their favorite shows instead of getting their work done. And get this; a survey also revealed that 73% of remote workers actually admit to watching TV while they work.
Now, look, I’m not telling you to watch Netflix during work hours. I’m just saying that the people who do it probably have a pretty good time and don’t feel the need to look for other ways to pass the time at work.
Browse Job listings
Consider searching for a more stimulating and demanding job, whether it’s due to getting caught watching Netflix during work hours, feeling unbearably bored, or experiencing burnout.
This activity can be beneficial even if you’re content where you are, as exploring opportunities in your field can provide information on salary ranges, benefits, and other factors that can help you negotiate better compensation for yourself. Ultimately, if you’re being paid to be bored, it’s only fair to be well-paid for it.
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