How to make time go faster at work: 12 Practical tips

Author: Karolina Matyska

How to make time go faster when the workday seems to never end? In fact, there are some proven ways to make time go faster at work, and in this article, I am going to share my favorite techniques.

Unfortunately, I cannot help you manipulate the passage of time. What I can do instead, is to teach you how to change your perception of time.

If you’re looking for tips to make time go by faster at work, you’re in the right place. By applying some of my tips, work hours will fly by, and you’ll quickly be free to enjoy yourself after you’re done for the day

how to make time fly

Practical tips on how to make time go faster at work

How to make time fly during your workday? Here is a short guideline:

  1. Learn time management techniques
  2. Track time at work
  3. Implement task management techniques
  4. Stop looking at your watch
  5. Practice deep work
  6. Create a predictable routine
  7. Try time blocking
  8. Prioritize pleasant and meaningful work
  9. Change your work scenery
  10. Incorporate background music
  11. Engage in activities that help pass time
  12. Challenge yourself to constantly acquire new skills

Let’s get into the details.

1. Learn time management techniques

There are so many time management techniques that make time pass faster! Let me mention my favorite ones, like Eat the Frog technique, day theming, following your internal clock, or the popular Pomodoro Technique.

I’ve been practicing all of them for numerous months now, and they definitely helped me to achieve a flow state at work. To discover more strategies, read the article about time management techniques.

2. Track time at work

Time tracking is another life-changing practice that helps time fly. The key to success is to use a time tracking app like Timeular instead of an old-school pen-and-paper method (it’s too boring and takes too much time).

Using a time tracker can make time seem faster as it shows you how much time has passed since you started working on a specific project. Visualizing your progress can provide a sense of accomplishment and momentum, making time feel like it’s passing faster as you move closer to completing your goals.

how to make the work day go faster – implement time tracking

3. Implement task management techniques

One great trick to make the time speed up while you work is organizing your day so there are no dead moments. Following a flow keeps us stimulated and much more productive.

To achieve that, you’ll have to plan your day efficiently. A practical step to planning your day efficiently is creating a to-do list, which helps in organizing tasks and making use of time productively during a slow day.

4. Stop looking at your watch 

By now, you’re likely aware that constantly checking the clock doesn’t speed up time. Our perception of time is subjective; the more you focus on it, the more granular it seems. This excessive focus on the clock can significantly contribute to the feeling that time drags, making the wait for something exciting feel even longer.

Then there’s chronostasis. It occurs when you glance at an analog clock and momentarily feel like the second hand has paused. Did you catch the clock in a momentary lapse that only you noticed?

No, science explains chronostasis as the brain’s attempt to fill in the gap caused by a rapid eye movement, momentarily halting visual input, with a fabricated narrative. The rapid eye movement creates an information break, which is “hidden” with the illusion that the clock is not moving.

So instead of looking at the clock every few minutes, only to be left feeling disappointed, try to divert your attention elsewhere.

how to make time go fast – 12 tips

5. Practice deep work

To really get what deep work is about, it helps to start by looking at the opposite.

These days, most of us spend our time jumping between tasks, dealing with emails, calls, and loads of messages in the company chat. But here’s the thing: multitasking decreases your productivity. It just leaves us feeling drained and doesn’t lead to meaningful work.

Deep work is the complete opposite. It’s all about zoning in on one thing, with no distractions. That’s where you find your best work – more productive, higher quality, and more creative. And weirdly enough, time seems to fly by when you’re doing it.

Some people call it being “in the zone.” Whatever you call it, deep work is one of the best ways to make time go faster at work – and get stuff done while you’re at it!

6. Create a predictable work routine

Have you ever noticed how you hardly remember the route you take to work every day? It’s like it’s on autopilot, right? That’s because routines, especially when they become predictable, are so ingrained in our daily lives that we barely notice them.

When you establish a predictable routine, your brain goes on autopilot and handles tasks without realizing how much time is passing. This strategy not only helps reduce moments of uncertainty or boredom but also makes time feel like it’s moving faster. While it may not be the best way to increase productivity or find fulfillment at work, it certainly helps time go by faster.

make time go faster by building a daily routine

7. Try time blocking

Time blocking aka time boxing is not only a great method to make your time fly, but it’s also one of the most effective ways to accomplish the deep work we discussed earlier.

Time blocking consists of blocking off periods in your calendar to work on certain tasks. During that time, nothing should interrupt you.

Each individual should create blocks according to his or her priorities and the ability to concentrate. I advise you once again to try the Pomodoro Time Management Technique and a Pomodoro timer (25-minute work sessions alternated by 5-minute breaks). If it doesn’t work for you, look for alternatives in our post about the best Pomodoro alternatives.

TIP: Use our free printable time blocking templates to start with time blocking.

how to make time fly by – try time blocking

8. Prioritize pleasant tasks and meaningful work

Engagement tends to drop when you’re stuck doing work that feels meaningless. And when you’re disengaged, boredom creeps in. You find yourself checking the time more often and feeling like the day drags on forever.

To avoid ending the day feeling completely drained, try organizing your day or week in a way that prioritizes meaningful work.

Here are a couple of tips:

  • Focus on the work that excites you the most when your creativity is at its peak (for many, that’s in the morning).
  • Save the less demanding tasks for when you’re naturally less productive.
  • Sprinkling enjoyable tasks throughout the day can also help time fly by, making the less pleasant tasks feel more manageable.

9. Change your work scenery

The place where we work influences our well-being and productivity. For this reason, I suggest you improve your work environment by getting rid of all clutter and distractions. 

Another suggestion is to change the scenery during a break time if you work on-site. If you work at home, try working from another room or going to a coffee shop, a co-working space, or a public library. Change is good, exciting, and stimulating.

These small changes in your daily work routine will make the day more exciting and the hours go by faster.

10. Incorporate background music to jazz up tedious tasks

Adding music to mundane work can make it more enjoyable and help time go by faster. This simple trick can jazz up your workday and enhance productivity.

Your favorite tunes can uplift your mood, boost motivation, and keep you focused. I recommend you to choose instrumental tracks like video game soundtracks or genres that aren’t too distracting.

Here are my personal favorite Spotify playlists:

how to make the time go faster? incorporate backrground music to jazz up tedious tasks

11. Engage in activities that help time go by faster

When you find yourself in the midst of a long workday, engage in activities that help break up the monotony and keep your brain fresh.

Take short breaks at regular intervals throughout the day. They don’t need to be long – even just a few minutes away from your desk can help recharge your batteries. During breaks, consider engaging in simple, non-distracting activities such as stretching, going for a short walk, or practicing deep breathing exercises.

These activities can help you stay alert and focused while also providing a much-needed mental break from your work. By incorporating these activities into your daily routine, you can make the workday feel shorter and more manageable.

12. Challenge yourself to constantly acquire new skills

Sometimes demotivation can be a result of a feeling of lack of novelty and knowledge to go further. Without knowledge renewal, your work will become less and less challenging and, therefore, more boring. In turn, the more bored you are, the slower time passes – we’ve already covered that.

Therefore, you must ensure you don’t become stagnant. Find opportunities to grow and learn, whether it’s enrolling in a course, attending a conference, or a webinar. Who knows, you may even be promoted to a position where the speed at which time passes is no longer a concern.

PS. Yes, engaging in mental challenges like puzzles, brain teasers, or strategic games can also help keep the work engaging and make time pass more quickly.

how to make work go by fast? first understand why time passes so slowly

Why does time pass so slowly at work?

Time flies when you’re having fun but drags on endlessly when you work on boring projects. This phenomenon, known as ‘time drag’, occurs when engaging in repetitive or dull tasks, as there’s little to stimulate the mind or capture interest, which can significantly impact teamwork and engagement.

The perception of time is very particular and variable. It can change with your emotional or physical state, engagement, and even events in your personal life.

Unfortunately, not everyone is working their dream job. With very rare exceptions, we’ve all worked at some point at something we don’t like. And this poses a real mental challenge.

Even if you have a job that you genuinely enjoy, there may be moments when you feel time is passing more slowly.

There are multiple reasons why time passes slowly at work:

Perception of time is highly subjective

…and can be influenced by individual differences, such as personality traits and cognitive styles. For example, individuals with a tendency to ruminate or dwell on negative thoughts may perceive time as passing more slowly.

You’re bored

Uninteresting meetings seem to last a lifetime, while a dinner with friends goes by in a flash. Vacations rush by, but the first week of work feels like three. You get our point, right? When you are feeling bored, especially when performing repetitive tasks, time seems to slow down, and there is lots of research proving that.

You have too much workload or your task is too complex

Theoretically, having mountains of work should make time pass faster. Unfortunately, it doesn’t. When you don’t know where to start or feel lost in the amount of work that awaits you, your internal clock is lost, too.

You focus too much on the clock

If you’re spending time keeping an eye on your clock, you’re more likely to notice how slowly it progresses. And the more aware you are that time passes slowly…, the slower it goes!

You feel disengaged

There are many reasons why you feel disengaged. It may be due to the nature of the work, your state of mind, or even a failure to identify with the company’s values. Whatever the reason, this feeling of non-identification or lack of purpose can contribute to the feeling that time passes more slowly.

Conclusion

The truth is that there are no perfect jobs. At some point in your work life, you have felt like you would like to wave a magic wand and make time go faster.

Our perception of the passage of time depends on several factors, from our workload to our mental state and motivation. If you’re going through a difficult time when work doesn’t fly by, I hope this article has helped you.

FAQ

How to make time go faster at work in retail?

In retail, effectively incorporating break time can significantly enhance your day. Taking short breaks to rejuvenate, especially after completing least pleasant tasks like restocking or cleaning, can help make time go faster. Break down these tasks into smaller, more manageable steps, and use your break time to refresh and maintain productivity.

How to make time go faster at work in a call center?

Call center work can sometimes feel monotonous, but engaging in a brief conversation with colleagues during breaks can serve as a mental reset, helping you lose track of time and make your shifts feel shorter. Focus on improving your performance by staying busy and allowing yourself to become fully absorbed in your tasks, which can make time pass more quickly.