When the workday seems endless, and the clock seems to take hours to move minutes, it’s time to make some changes. Even if you adore your job, routine and tedious tasks inevitably need to be done, and distraction and procrastination are tempting.
Getting through the workday without clock-watching is finding ways to focus, enjoy your work, and get it done efficiently and productively.
The 14 ways to make work go by faster include:
1. Do What You Love
The easiest way to make the work day fly by is to be passionate about your job.
The saying “Do a job you love, and you’ll never work a day in your life” means that work ceases to be a painful chore to get through and becomes a satisfying pastime.
Life coaches and career coaches agree that if you are immersed in work that interests and engages you, you enter a state of flow and cease to notice the passage of time.
Of course, you will still be working hard. There are aspects of every profession that won’t be your favorite, but to make work go by faster, try to find tasks or projects that inspire you or that you can learn from.
2. Focus On Accomplishing Goals
Psychologists have found that people are up to 25% more productive when working towards a goal.
Yes, we all have ambitious career goals, but making the work day go faster means focusing on smaller goals.
Making a to-do list helps you keep the day’s work in perspective: list daily tasks, steps to complete a project, and how and when you will accomplish these.
Productivity experts suggest first tackling tasks you can complete quickly.
Marking off what you’ve done each day or week gives you a sense of achievement and productivity, beating a lack of motivation rather than procrastinating, a time-slower and waster.
3. Shake Up Your Routine
While a routine can create a sense of order, being stuck in a daily rut can be tedious and drag the day.
Be innovative in changing your routine to spark creativity and productivity. A change can be as simple as sitting in a different part of the office or at another desk.
However, productivity gurus highlight being innovative with how you work.
For example, find alternative ways to brainstorm, use an alternative piece of software, or engage with a colleague you don’t know well.
4. Create A Sense Of Anticipation
Looking forward to something lights up your brain’s anticipation-reward circuitry.
Mental health experts report that listing things to look forward to at the beginning of a day or week can make you optimistic and more likely to experience work going by more quickly.
These highlights could include eating lunch in the sunshine rather than at your desk or finishing an hour early on a Friday.
Another possibility is “rewarding” yourself with time on an appealing task or exciting project once you’ve completed a certain number of routine tasks.
5. Be Proactive
The reality is that a job can be challenging, and the workday does lag when you don’t have many choices in what you’re doing or the tasks you’re required to complete.
However, you can take the initiative to find space for passion projects or activities that move you closer to your desired job.
For example, personal development coaches suggest you approach your colleagues or manager with ideas that will make you more productive, efficient and valued.
If you’re bored because you’re not busy enough, ask for more work on a job that appeals to you. Or take time to check out the competition and draw inspiration from them.
You can do many productive things when you’re bored, so don’t let that slow down your day.
Another proactive route is to undertake training. Studies of office workers show that training in new skills makes 80% of people more engaged with their work. Training budgets are often underutilized.
6. Work Smart
Work goes much faster when you’re productive and interested in your career. However, it’s hard to summon up the enthusiasm to be effective if you’re not passionate about your work.
Productivity experts recommend the Pomodoro Technique to break up unappealing tasks and make them manageable. Being productive in this way will improve your morale and get the job done more quickly.
The Pomodoro Technique works in four steps.
First, identify a task. Next, set a timer for 25 minutes and focus on the assignment. It’s easier to immerse yourself if you know you only half to work for a limited time.
When the timer goes, take a five-minute break.
Start the cycle again by returning to the task or tackling a new one.
7. Use Technology
Nothing turns an employee into a clock watcher like routine, repetitive tasks. If your work includes such activities, use technology to automate them.
For example, find a tool that sends mass emails instead of doing it manually.
Accomplishing a dull task quickly and efficiently is a joy, as you can turn to activities that make time fly by.
8. Create A Happy Space
Working in a pleasant, clean, tidy space puts you in a productive, optimistic mood that makes work go by faster, say psychologists.
First of all, declutter and organize your space. Use colored folders, fun stationery, or novelty gadgets to personalize your workspace.
Then, add items that motivate you, whether pictures of family, friends, and pets or motivational quotes.
9. Clear Your Head
Working through lunch or having a rushed sandwich at your desk will not make you more efficient, nor speed up the work day.
Productivity increases if you take regular breaks, especially if you move around. Activity is a mood-booster and stress-reliever, especially if you go outside.
Studies show that walking to pick up your latte, taking the stairs to speak to a colleague, or running an errand gives you re-energizes and refreshes you.
10. Make Work Friends
Time flies when you’re hanging out with your favorite people.
Career coaches recommend having fun with colleagues to reduce stress, build a stronger team, and get through the workday.
It’s worth taking time to reach out, have a friendly conversation unrelated to work, laugh together, and support each other when stressed, as work will go by much faster.
11. Don’t Get Hangry
Negativity, malaise, and exhaustion set in if your blood sugar gets too low. Being hungry often leads to irritation and an inability to concentrate, making you unproductive and slow.
Keep a supply of healthy snacks on hand to boost your energy.
If you love cookies, enjoy them as an indulgent reward for completing some boring admin or a report on time.
12. Have A Soundtrack
Offices in movies always seem more appealing because of the music playing. Create a soundtrack for your working life and enjoy your favorite music through your headphones.
Your intention is not to avoid your colleagues: science shows that listening to music can stimulate your mind, inspire creativity, and boost your mood.
When the afternoon starts dragging, pump up the music to give you energy. If you can’t focus with background noise, make listening to music part of your break.
Immerse yourself in a couple of songs guaranteed to relax you, give your mind a break, and speed through the workday.
13. Be Like Sleeping Beauty
Your work day is guaranteed to seem endless if you don’t get enough rest.
Sleep specialists have found that being tired can alter your perception of time, with the hours and minutes dragging by.
Ensure that you get your seven to eight hours of sleep and that you keep weeknight indulgence to a minimum so that you face each day refreshed.
14. Don’t Clock Watch
A watched clock never reaches the end of the day. Repeatedly checking the time makes time seem to slow to a snail’s pace.
Instead of counting out the hours until you can leave, keep yourself busy and productive. Career coaches emphasize that clock-watching isn’t good professionally.
Management will see you as bored, lacking initiative, and disinterested in your job, making them less likely to listen to or promote you.
Final Thoughts On Making Work Go By Faster
If you struggle to make it through your workday, implement some of these tips.
Doing what you love will help time fly by, as will focusing on accomplishing specific goals. Shaking up your routine and being proactive can help the hours go quickly.
And if all else fails, try using technology or music to get into a better headspace—or just make sure you have enough snacks to avoid getting hangry.
Try out these tricks and see which ones work best for you, there is no one size fits all, but something here is bound to work for you.