Our guide on how to make time go faster outlines the simple psychology of time perception and how to change it in your mind.
The teacher is talking too much again. The boss is droning on and in a meeting. The family reunion lasts for hours again. Are there any tricks that make time go by faster?
Time goes by slowly? That’s actually incorrect. Time is a constant when talking about speeds. In that sense, time cannot go fast or slow. It always goes the same. It is a matter of mindset whether time goes fast or slow. So… we will outline how to make time go faster from your perception.
Don’t watch the clock
Another 6 hours, still another 4 hours, another 35 minutes … This is where the first mistake begins. In this case, the word “still” has a negative connotation. Instead, you should rather think: “Already 3 hours.” Here you start to approach the topic of time positively. And positive is always good. If the anticipation for the weekend is great, you check the clock every few seconds, or you write articles for Planbar to pass the time. The less you look at the clock, the faster time goes by.
‘Pass’ the time
Especially with boring activities, time seems to stand still. That’s why it’s important to distract yourself. That works with the simplest things. Take a walk around the office during the break, incorporate many short breaks. Just take different working hours, as far as possible. So distraction is the be-all and end-all in calculating time.
Now you might think: yes, how am I supposed to distract myself at school or at work? The distraction works amazingly as if by itself. An example: If a very uncomfortable appointment is coming up, for example a doctor’s appointment, job interview, a shopping tour with your girlfriend, the time goes by incredibly quickly.
That’s because you want to forget about this appointment. You don’t want to think about it and you may even be afraid of it. So we automatically look for a distraction. Even if it’s just thinking about something nice.
Another example: You wake up 30 minutes before you have to get out of bed and go to the gym. The motivation is zero because yesterday was exhausting. So you check your phone, maybe read few emails, have some breakfast … The 30-minute “grace period” goes by in a flash.
Here, too, you look at the clock every few minutes and think to yourself: Oh, only 30 minutes. Here we “only” have what would be positive in the first example, but not here.
The solution with psychology
The goal was to let the hours pass faster. The combination of “only” + distraction ensures that we perceive the hours passing more quickly. Now we apply the whole time to the case that something great is coming and the time SHOULD go by quickly. The whole thing is easier than you think. Much easier than letting the time pass slowly when you want to avoid an appointment.
After school or work, it’s arranged to meet up with your friends. Before that, however, 8 hours of work have to be overcome. The normal situation would be: look at the watch every 3 minutes and find that the minutes are not passing. But we have learned
“Going to dinner (or to a friend’s place)… that will be great.” – Consistently positive thoughts contribute to a positive attitude. “Only 3 more hours then it starts” – then keep these positive thoughts with you and perceive the time positively
And then many tips come into play: Talk to the person sitting next to you about the game and spread the anticipation. Transferring the motivation to the current job and having the goal in mind. The end of work or school. With the knowledge that time flies faster if you get involved and concentrate fully. And that even has advantages in terms of grades and assessments and time is up faster and the game / meeting begins.
So it is just a matter of attitude. If in doubt, you can simply open a blog and write a pointless article about the fictional time at precisely such moments, which cannot be right or wrong anyway. After all, time always passes quickly or slowly. It’s like the half full glass, which is actually half empty. We hold on to the fact that we all think positively: time goes by quickly!
Why does time seem to go faster as you get older?
This is only a hypothesis, but perhaps the relationship between a period of time and age also plays a role in the accelerated perception of time . As an an example:
For an 80-year-old person, a year represents 1/80 of their previous lifetime, for a 10-year-old child, however, 1/10 of their lifetime. 1/80 is less than 1/10. Perhaps this is why a year often seems to be much shorter for older people than for younger people.
But there are also scientific studies (such as this one in Scientific American) that explain the phenomenon of accelerated time perception as follows:
The more new impressions we experience within a period of time, the more of them stick in the memory and, in retrospect, make the period appear longer. With age, the number of new impressions usually decreases within a period of time (e.g. one year), which leads to an accelerated sense of time.
Period of time (e.g. year) with few new impressions> subjective perception: In retrospect, time has passed quickly.
If, on the other hand, we do not look at the whole thing in retrospect, but in relation to the current situation, it looks different :
If we z. If, for example, you are bored, eager for an event or have to wait about an hour for something, this current period of time seems like an eternity.
The perception of time also depends on whether the time span is viewed retrospectively or in the current situation.
What is different in old age?
One reason for the accelerated perception of time in old age is the decrease in new impressions within a period of time . That is probably the case. Because at a young age we experience much more new things than is the case in later years. So there is something for a child almost every day that he has not yet known – a first time.
For an adult with his backpack of life experience, there are no longer so many “premieres”. His everyday life consists of a lot of routine. Routine activities are hardly noticed, they are simply done with the left hand – but of course they also take up your time. At the end of the day, less lasting memories remain and that leads to an accelerated experience of time.
Conversely, this research result allows the conclusion that we can influence our subjective perception of time and can “slow it down”. Four suggestions:
4 ways to slow down time as you get older
Learn something new
A child learns something new every day , and not just in school. Therefore: When you learn / experience something new, it counteracts any everyday monotony and routine. Whether you are attending a dance class, learning an instrument or a language, or dealing intensively with a new topic in some other way, the main thing is that you become active.
Get out of your comfort zone (every now and then)
Sometimes it is good to break out of the comfortable daily routine, open doors and break new ground. Even if that means overcoming and maybe also effort. But that’s part of leaving the comfort zone . These personal challenges make a major contribution to our further development, broadening our horizons and getting to know new perspectives. And already we have less everyday life again!
What have you wanted to do for a long time that you haven’t really dared to do ? It doesn’t have to be great. Just try to do something every day for a week that costs you to overcome, e.g. Monday: speak to a stranger, Tuesday: get up earlier than usual , Wednesday: do something that has been postponed for a long time, …
For this purpose, you can also write tasks / projects that cost you to overcome on notes, put them in a container (e.g. glass, pot) and draw a piece of paper from them every day. That will be the challenge for the day.
Looking back over the week, you will then feel that you have lived more intensely.
Those who are mindful live more consciously in the here and now, just as children do. With mindfulness you can also break through everyday routine. But this skill of mindfulness cannot be acquired overnight. Only with regular practice – and if it is only five minutes a day – it becomes part of the flesh and blood.
Summarize the day
Our son and I have a daily ritual. After the bedtime story, we’ll sum up the day with a focus on the positive. He tells me about beautiful events, about his small and big success stories, I about my day. This alone makes me aware that almost every day there are moments that happen outside of the everyday routine. However, only through this ritual did I learn to really perceive these moments. This daily reflection can of course also take place in other ways, for example with the help of a diary.
Genevieve Dumas is a design, fashion, food and style writer who has worked on major magazines and mastheads in the United States and Europe.