Sometimes, the workdays in the office can feel stagnant, as if the passage of time slows down. You keep looking at the clock, begging for the end of your shift to come sooner. If only there were a way to make time fly at work on such days. That leads many to want to know how to make time go faster at work.
To get to the root cause of the problem, break it down into smaller parts and analyze them. If you’ve been working hard lately, perhaps occupational burnout is catching up with you. Consider asking for a day off from work to relax and rest properly.
How to Make Time Go Faster at Work
Below are behaviors, habits, and ideas that you can use to create your very own toolbox that will help you not just go through “slow days” at work but eliminate them completely
1. Stop obsessing about time
Stop sabotaging yourself by constantly checking the time. This won’t make it pass faster.
If you constantly check the clock, hide all possible clocks. For example:
- Remove your wristwatch
- Flip your phone (screen down)
- Remove the clock from the wall
- Hide the clock on your computer screen
Obsessing about time at work can be stressful. Do your best to properly unwind when you return home from a slow work day.
2. Mind the ultradian rhythm
As you know, time flies when you are focused on your work. But nobody can do “deep work” for 8 hours straight. The human brain’s capacity for optimal performance has limitations.
Ultradian rhythm is a term used to describe the human body’s biological cycles. In this case, it is important to understand how it relates to your work capacity and the perception of time. A person would usually need rest after 90 minutes of performance, be it physical or mental. This means that after an hour or so of deep work, your stress levels will naturally rise, so you must take a break.
After 10 to 20 minutes of rest, you will be ready for another period of deep work. What’s important here is to not fight these natural urges for small breaks. Take them, and then you can get back to doing more in-depth work; that’s when you are the most productive, and it seems like time is passing fast.
3. Break down your workdays into time blocks
To make 8 hours go by faster at work, don’t think of your workday as one prolonged period of hard work and mental strain.
Instead, break it down into smaller time blocks with small breaks in between.
Designate each time block for specific tasks and aspects of your work.
The best part about this concept is that you can match your time blocks according to your natural ultradian rhythm.
4. Facilitate deep work
Use the concepts of ultradian rhythm and time blocks to create periods of deep work.
You will feel like your workdays go by quickly with more periods of deep work.
It all comes down to your ability to achieve the so-called flow state. This is the best way to make time pass faster at work.
5. Create a productive daily routine around your time blocks
Think about how your time blocks for work fit into your day.
Do your best to align your time blocks for deep work with when you feel the most energetic and present.
Remember that energy and focus are the two main conditions required for optimal productivity. Here is our complete guide on how to create a daily routine that is centered around productivity.
6. Eliminate as Many Distractions as You Can
Distractions are the bane of productivity. A distraction is a tiny thief of time.
Yes, it takes only a moment to check your phone, but it will take your brain minutes to recover and return to a deep work state. So, do your best to limit the distractions at work.
For example, if you are usually most productive in the morning, ask your colleagues to contact you in the afternoon if they need your help so you can have some time blocks of deep work without any distractions.
7. Tackle complex tasks first
Use your distraction-free time blocks to handle your most demanding daily tasks.
This way, you will know they are correctly handled no matter what happens later in the day.
The most difficult tasks usually require the most intense focus. This means that you will be in deep work mode, and it will seem like time is moving fast.
8. Make your work environment more pleasant
It is important to be engaged in your work and not think about the passage of time.
But it is also important to feel good. So do your best to make your work environment you enjoy spending time in.
For example, you can make your office more cozy and homey if this is something that you would enjoy.
9. Give yourself small rewards
Use those small breaks between deep work time blocks to give yourself small rewards.
- Take a walk outside.
- Get a cup of warm beverage.
- Have a tasty snack.
- Have lunch
- Check your phone
- Talk to someone
- Look through a window
You have earned these small moments of rest, so enjoy them to the fullest. They will lift your mood and make your workdays more enjoyable. This is just part of your natural work capacity cycle.
10. Make time management a priority
As part of your newfound understanding of how you should spend your time at work, do your best to be constantly mindful of how you manage your time. After all, time is the most valuable resource that we have. You can take notes and adjust according to your specific needs and goals. If the concepts explained above seem a bit complicated and you’ll need more time to implement them into your work routine, the next best thing you could do is focus on your work to the best of your abilities. A busy workday usually goes by very quickly. The hours will pass without notice if you can get some work done. Here are some tips on how to achieve that.
11. Focus on your work
To make the day go by faster at work, you can resort to the 10-minute rule. Here is how it works – tell yourself that you will focus on your work for 10 minutes. By the time the 10 minutes pass, you will be so immersed in your work that you won’t notice how the time went by. This way, you will keep your mind occupied and be doing your job, so you won’t have to think about the passage of time.
12. Tackle some pending tasks
Indeed, some tasks have been waiting around for somebody to tackle them. This can be the day you tackle them for everyone. This can be an excellent opportunity to clear some tasks that have been waiting for a while. This way, you won’t have to deal with them later on when you might be busier than usual. Pending tasks that pile up can be a significant source of stress and frustration in the future.
13. Plan your future tasks and projects
You can use this opportunity to plan your work. Planning tasks and projects is essential for long-term productivity. This way, you will always know what comes next. It is also a great way to stay on top of things, ensuring the work gets done appropriately.
14. Keep a comprehensive to-do list
The best way to plan your work is to keep a well-structured to-do list. This way, you always have a pool of tasks waiting for you. You can structure the list according to the tasks’ nature, priority, and difficulty.
15. Ask a coworker if they need help with something
Killing time with more work is just very effective. You can be a good coworker by helping one of your colleagues with some of their tasks and duties. This is a great way to keep the team productivity high and build a better connection with the people you work with. They will be thankful and appreciative of the help. It’s a wonderful way to keep morale high in the office.
16. Ask a coworker to teach you something new
Maybe there is something related to your work that you don’t know to do quite right yet. Perhaps you can ask one of your colleagues for additional training and support?
17. Ask your boss to give you a task
Isn’t it every boss’s dream to have one of their workers tell them that they are done with their duties, so they need more tasks to handle? This can be a chance to score some extra points with your boss. Being highly productive at work and achieving good results are among the best ways to get a raise or to be promoted.
18. Do some research
Why not research statistics and case studies that relate to your work? This way, you can apply new principles and ideas to your work to achieve better results.
19. Gather your coworkers for a brainstorming session
Whenever the workday feels dull, you can gather your team in the office and talk. You might find that brainstorming sessions where all sorts of crazy ideas are thrown around are unique, and they can recharge everyone at the office with energy and enthusiasm about work. Not only that but unique ideas are also generated like this. Even if just one of those ideas is workable, it is still worth it.
20. Prepare an internal training
Is there something that you would like to teach your coworkers? You can prepare a simple presentation with the key points and schedule a 30-minute meeting to tell your team all about your ideas.
21. Declutter your web browser
If you have some time to spare, put some order back into your web browser. Create some adequately named folders and arrange your links in a way that will help you to be more efficient in your work.
22. Declutter your desktop and file folders
If your desktop is covered in random images and files, it’s best to arrange them in folders neatly. Wouldn’t it be great if you could see that lovely wallpaper you have on your screen?
23. Declutter and clean your desk
A messy desk is counterproductive. You know what they say: a messy workstation equals a messy mind. Get rid of the things you are not using and are there purely for decorative reasons. Keep only the useful items and maybe just one or two sentimental items. And remember to wipe your desk and work monitor frequently, as dust can build up quickly!
24. Listen to a podcast
Whenever you handle a mundane, repetitive task at work that doesn’t require too much thinking, there is nothing better than listening to a podcast to pass the time. Besides, you can listen to a podcast that is somehow related to your work.
25. Listen to an audiobook
Listening to an audiobook is also an excellent way to pass the time at work. You can do your job and listen to whatever you like to read – fiction or some popular self-help book.
26. Keep a reading list
Reading useful resources related to your line of work (or not) is another way to pass the time. Keep an emergency reading list folder with at least five interesting or valuable articles.
27. Watch some videos
The good old Tube is here to help! It’s always a pleasure to see what your favorite content creators have been up to lately. But there is plenty of educational and professional content available as well. You know, if you’re feeling at least like doing something worthwhile
28. Look for inspiration
Whether professional or personal inspiration, this seems like an excellent moment to rekindle it. Think about the people that you admire professionally. Find out what made them successful. Find out what their inspirations were.
29. Nurture your creativity
If you are in any creative line of work, why not take some time to develop your creative mojo further? For example, examine somebody else’s work and consider what makes it notable.
30. Sign up for an online course
If you have plenty of time to spare at work, why not sign up for online courses to acquire new professional skills? There is plenty of free know-how content available online as well. All it takes is a bit of desire to learn.
31. Practice meditation and mindfulness
Of course, you can always retreat to your mind palace. Whether meditation, visualization, or mindfulness, these disciplines offer plenty of avenues to explore.
Once you realize that slow days at work are a problem for you, you should take immediate action. The best way to make time pass faster is to find something to do rather than wait it out. This could include organizing files and folders in your Google Drive, reading job-related guides and news on the web, developing strategies to optimize your workflow, helping a coworker with a task, or brainstorming ideas for different company projects.
You can use these ideas and the concepts and practices explained above to create your very own system that will help you to “speed up” the time you spend at work. Remember that time passing slowly at work could be related to the fact that you are not satisfied with your job. If that is the case, consider looking at how long you should stay at a job.