We all have those days at the office where time begins to slow, and it seems like we aren't going to ever make it out to see the day. At times like these, it's tempting to get distracted, but instead we should focus on how to make the workday go by faster by engaging in activities that not only distract us from wanting to be home, but help us get our work done efficiently and productively. We can't speed up time, so the only thing left we have to do is make the most out our remaining hours.
"The key reason why employees day drags is their focus," says life coach Chris Delaney over email. "When you focus on the task at hand, time seems to speed up. With a focus on the end of the day, time slows down. While watching the clock, the seconds hand feels like a minute and the minute hand seems like an hour."
Rather than counting down the hours, try to find ways to pass by the time while being productive instead. If you feel that you get easily bored on the job or hit an afternoon slump, consider these 11 ways to make the workday go by faster.
1. Find Things To Look Forward To
"Before you start your day, ask yourself what are a couple of things you can look forward to," says Certified Mental Fitness and Performance Coach Sara Wegwitz over email. "A break outside in the sunshine? Doing something creatively cool? Train your brain to scan your day for the moments to look forward to. Doing this begins to light up your brain’s anticipation reward circuitry."
2. Get Moving
Taking little breaks to get up and move can not only make you more productive, but it can also boost your mood, according to multiple studies. "You build energy through movement," says Wegwitz. "Take the stairs, go outside, and walk around your building. Instead of emailing a co-worker, get up and walk and talk to them in person."
3. Take A Snack Break
In addition to taking a lunch, break up your day by periodically nibbling on small, healthy snacks that can help keep you focused as well as feel like a little treat to brighten up your day. Consider keeping snacks at your desk that don't have to be refrigerated, so you always have something nutritious on hand.
4. Put On Some Music
Put on some headphones and jam out to your favorite tunes if you feel the day is dragging on. Listening to music you like can make your day enjoyable, and research from the journal Scientific Reports shows that it can even help inspire a different state of mind.
5. Focus On The Present
"Unless you have a Delorian with a flux-capacitor and a mechanic named Doc, you cannot shift time," says Wegwitz. "You can, however, change the meaning you associate to the clock. After all, time is what you make it. Stop arguing with your reality, and surrender that you have X amount of time left and make the most of it." One study from Harvard University found that focusing on the moment is linked to greater happiness, while getting distracted and daydreaming while doing a task is linked to the opposite.
6. Find A Task You Enjoy
We all know that doing something you love makes time go faster, but even if your career isn't your dream job, you should look for something within that position that suits your fancy. "Time goes quickly when you are emerged in something you enjoy," says Delaney. "Find a job, career, or task that will give you satisfaction, and time will speed up."
7. Switch Up Your Day
Nothing creates a feeling of boredom like being stuck in a rut. "Once in this state, time will feel like it has stopped," says Delaney. "Be innovative with your day. Create new ways to achieve your work goals and different ways to complete a task. This could be something as simple as sitting in another part of the office or using a mind-map to create ideas."
8. Take Initiative
Sitting and twiddling your thumbs won't make time pass any quicker. "Take a risk and talk to your associates or your boss to find out what you can do to be more valued," says personal development coach Peggy Sealfon over email. "Perhaps you're not aware that you've misunderstood the tasks that have been requested of you. Rather than entering into a self-inflicted work malaise, be proactive, take initiative. Ask what you can do to improve your work or become more helpful."
9. Get Adequate Sleep
"Make sure you're getting 7 to 8 hours of quality sleep each night," says Sealfon. Being tired can warp your perception of time — most of us have experienced the day drag on when we are feeling particularly exhausted or fatigued. Getting adequate sleep can help the day pass by, as you're more likely to engage in a number of activities.
10. Focus On Your Accomplishments
"It is easy to think about the large number of task you have to complete, especially on a Monday morning," says Delaney. "This ever-growing list can create procrastination, which slows down time. Instead focus on what you are good at, your past accomplishments and your skill base. Think about which task you can easily complete first and take action. This focus will allow time to fly by."
11. Stop Watching The Clock
They say, "A watched pot never boils," and staring at a clock won't make the end of the day arrive any quicker — instead, it will only remind you how much time you have left and may put you in a sour mood. Keep busy, and time will move more quickly.
Keeping yourself energetic and focused can help pass the time, but remember to take breaks and give yourself a moment of reprieve to keep from burning out.
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