How to make work go by faster
By Eleanor Hope-Jones
May 19, 2023
7 of our best tips and tricks to make work go by faster
Do you ever feel like your workday is lasting forever? We’ve all been there. From a thankless task you wish you could get out of, to a tricky problem that's impossible to solve, it's difficult to not clock watch when time passes slowly.
But we all know a watched pot never boils, and sometimes you need to find a way to maintain concentration on the boring things on your to-do list.
Let's take a look at the top insights and tips shared by FLOWN's Flock facilitators to help make work go by faster, and speed up your ability to get things done in the process.
Don't know what a Flock is?
Flocks are online focus sessions designed to free you from distraction and take the willpower out of productivity.
Try a Flock for free today, and see how much you can tick off your to-do list!
Nate sets micro goals
We all know setting goals for yourself helps with motivation, but have you ever really broken a goal down?
Rather than finishing a presentation by the end of the day have you thought about drafting a slide every 30 minutes? Rather than completing a 2,000-word report, have you thought about how many words you can write in 20 minutes?
Nate, FLOWN’s head of live experiences, says these mental challenges can help us pass time and get us into a flow state. Micro goals make mundane tasks more urgent as we sprint towards the finish line at the end of each time block. Try combining your micro tasks with the Pomodoro technique for a real spike of motivation.
Georgie always Declutters her desk to get work done faster
A 2011 study hypothesized that visual distractions like clutter and mess overload the brain's cognitive function and reduce working memory.
This can create a slow workday as you can't find the momentum to get through your to-do list, not to mention the hours go a lot slower in an unpleasant environment.
One study even suggested that excess clutter can trigger avoidance strategies like eating junk and watching TV shows.
Georgie, FLOWN's resident creativity and wellbeing coach, suggests decluttering your physical space is a bit like wiping your computer. It’s going to leave you with a lot more brain processing power to get meaningful work done and make time go faster.
Micah recommends taking a break in nature
It can be tempting to try and power through a slow day without taking a break, but this will only make you less productive overall and reduce your focus.
FLOWN's productivity coach Micah’s advice? Take a break to give your mind a rest. You’ll be surprised at how much more efficient you are after a dose of fresh air when you come back to your work.
Science reckons the most efficient break-to-work ratio is job-related tasks for 52 minutes, before a 17-minute break.
Vic enjoys working from a new location
And she's not the only one. Studies show a positive link between work location enjoyment and productivity, especially with remote workers.
So if you're trying to make time go faster for a piece of work or feeling bored, why not try taking that work into a new environment such as:
Co-working at a friend's house
Going to a remote working space
Visiting a cafe
Working from the library
Vic says this change in the physical state can make time go faster by stimulating you even if your work doesn’t.
Arjun uses time blocking to create his perfect routine
Time blocking is the practice of breaking down a longer period of time. For example, taking a 9-5 day and turning it into a series of two-hour blocks.
You can then allocate specific tasks to each block, which will increase productivity and help you better focus on one task at a time.
FLOWN's mindful meditation instructor Arjun says if you use this practice regularly you can shape your week with a mixture of deep and shallow work to make time go faster based on your preferences. For example, doing deep work first thing in the morning, shallow work after lunch and meetings in the late afternoon.
Time blocking is a great way to access a deep work state that should make work go faster.
Jack tries to prioritize meaningful work
It's easy to get stuck in non-essential tasks, moving from one boring thing to another because they feel urgent. But for the longevity of your work engagement, you can make time go faster by seeking out pleasant tasks and meaningful work that inspires you.
Foundational meaningful work is defined as challenging work, in which you have a clear role and there is a meaningful reward for it. So if you're waiting desperately for the working day to finish all the time, consider:
Finding work that challenges you and develops your skills
Clarifying your role in a project so you know how you're contributing
Having a one-to-one with your boss to talk about where your role could be heading if a project is successful
Figuring out how a task connects to your deeper why and visualizing how you'll feel once it gets done
FLOWN's Awe Walk guide Jack suggests experimenting with prioritizing deep work when you normally have a slump and need to make time go faster. Whether that's the first thing on a Monday morning or jumping over the Wednesday afternoon hump, your daily routine should set you up for success.
Lorna swears by changing up her background music
If you're someone who likes to listen to music whilst working, FLOWN yoga guide Lorna reckons trying a new style or playlist can sometimes refresh a stale working routine. It won't suddenly make a dull role into a dream job, but if you have a specific task that is dragging, a fun playlist can help you get through it a bit faster.
(Lorna's electro swing cover playlist is the stuff of legend within Flocks.)
Remember some important factors help define whether music is a help or a hindrance when it comes to work, such as:
How complex the music is
Whether it has lyrics
Whether you’re used to listening to music to concentrate
How difficult the task is that you’re doing
Whether it's your choice to listen to the music
So whilst a neo-classical work playlist you choose to listen to can help make time go faster, a lyric-filled pop playlist may just slow things down.
Your working habits are in constant evolution
As you go through different phases of your relationship with work, you’ll need to consistently update your practices to keep you engaged. Try experimenting with our tips and tricks and reflecting on how they make you feel.Though there will always be tasks that you find more boring, on the whole, If you’re focused and engaged with work you find meaningful, time will fly by.
If you find yourself consistently dreading your job and clockwatching every day perhaps it's time to start asking deeper questions about what kind of environment you need to thrive.
Join a Flock for free to help the time pass
Our expertly facilitated deep work sessions will help you focus and get more done than you ever thought possible.
Run on Zoom and guided by one of our expert facilitators, Flocks are unique, fun – and so effective that 88% of people who try one come back for more.