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Begeara's avatar

What are the tactics you use to get through a long day at work?

Asked by Begeara (371 points ) August 27th, 2011

I recently got a job at the local grocery store stocking shelves. Sometimes the eight, nine hour shifts really start to drag on. Lately I’ve discovered that avoiding looking at the clock at all costs helps to speed the passing of time. I’ve heard of other people who manage to zone out but still accomplish their tasks. I was wondering if anyone had things they did to make a long and painful day at work go by faster?

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18 Answers

Symbeline's avatar

You answered your own question…don’t look at the goddamn clock. A good trick for me.

I sell clothes to people. I also find that the more unreasonable and unpleasant customers make time speed by, even if it makes my day shit. I don’t have much control over that though. Well I could, but I’d get fired. Just don’t lookit the clock, man. Destroy it if you must!

iphigeneia's avatar

I find that if you keep looking out for jobs that need doing, it feels like you don’t actually have enough time.

Bellatrix's avatar

Stop and have a cup of tea and talk to your peers every few hours. If you can, try not to have to do the same task for hours. Break up your day.

Leanne1986's avatar

Luckily I have an office job that allows me to Fluther when there isn’t much to do and time is dragging! On really slow days I take walks around the building often, visiting friends in other offices. If you can make friends where you work that will speed time up because even if the work is dull the conversation can be fun.

XD's avatar

Pretend that you are a performance artist acting out your job.

MRSHINYSHOES's avatar

I find that talking with the people around you makes time go faster, but of course this is not always feasible, especially when there’s no one around. Also, talking too much might get you in trouble. But if you can, during the course of you shift, find a customer nearby and converse with him/her——small talk, things that interest both of you, etc., that would help somewhat. Sometimes making games out of repetitive, boring work can help too——for eg., see how much you can stock in such and such a time and then do it again with different merchandise and pretend you are competing against your last effort.

But the best way to make time go faster is to not think about it. When you are occupied with your work, keeping busy, time goes faster.

augustlan's avatar

Go out of your way to be friendly to customers and co-workers, alike. Take a break every so often, and walk around. Eat a handful of peanuts or sunflower seeds to keep your energy up. If you’re allowed, you could try listening to music while you work, too.

flutherother's avatar

Concentrate on the job you are doing and getting it done stage by stage instead of thinking about the time. If you can, listening to the radio makes the time pass quicker.

Cruiser's avatar

I floof my way through each and every day at work often while I am on the phone with a customer too! ;)

Pied_Pfeffer's avatar

As others have said, focus on the customers and co-workers. It can make the day fly by. If you adopt the FISH! Philosophy, I guarantee that it will make a world of difference. Essentially, it’s about Play, Make Their Day, Choose Your Attitude, and Be There. Several of our company’s hotels adopted this philosophy, and they all loved it, including the customers If interested, you can probably find the easy-to-read book in any local shop or order it online.

There is also another book that might be of interest. This one is about a bag boy in a grocery store who took on the FISH! Philosophy without ever hearing about it. It’s called The Simple Truths of Service, and apparently the book now comes with a DVD.

Good luck! Let us know what you decide to differently and how it works out for you.

bunnygrl's avatar

@MRSHINYSHOES is right, chatting makes a shift fly past. As our dear @augustlan says, go out of your way to be nice to customers and your fellow workers. Wear a constant smile, or as near constant as you can.

Honestly, I have gotten through some awful shifts. Where I’ve been feeling beyond drained, internal batteries completely flattened, and in pain (I have RA and FM) just by pushing the negative stuff behind a big mental door inside, refusing to acknowledge them and smiling. I know it sounds insane but after a while you forget you’re making yourself smile, start to feel a little better and just like that you’re smiling for real. I’m at a checkout and so I spend every shift chatting all shift long. The result? time passes faster, I enjoy my job, and as a bonus? I have regular customers who have a choice of 19 checkouts, as well as the self service ones and they come to mine each week. I can’t even begin to tell you how much that means to me.

We chat about husbands, life stuff, hobbies, everything, I get to congratulate my ladies when they’ve just become a Gran again, or when, as happened here two weeks ago, term time begins and their children/grandchildren start school for the first time or head off up to “big school” or go to college. I know the news on tv and in the papers is often miserable but there is so much good stuff, things really worth smiling about, in the world. Wear your best smile for a while at work and you’ll see it too.
hugs honey xx

Seaofclouds's avatar

Stay busy! I work 12 hour shifts and most of the time, I’m so busy I can’t believe it when it’s time to give report to the oncoming shift. Also, taking a late lunch helps the last half of your day go faster (at least it does for me).

gondwanalon's avatar

You are working to do a job. Not to simply get through the long shift at work. Concentrate more on your job. Try to be the most efficient worker. Strive for total excellence and exactness with no mistakes. Don’t waste time chit chatting and or taking impromptu breaks. Your hard efforts will likely be recognized and rewarded. I find that time passes fast when I’m really into my work no matter how boring tedious. Good luck!

bunnygrl's avatar

@gondwanalon honestly, I mean no offence, but “chit chatting” is not time wasting. For every penny my employers pay me in salary they get double that amount in work back from me. No one wants to be served by a long faced silent checkout operator, more keen to get rid of you and move on to the next customer, than to have any interaction with their customer. I tell new colleagues at work to always spend a few minutes chatting to our elderly customers, many of my elderly ladies and gentlemen live alone, and maybe that little conversation we have with them about what’s happening on the soaps, or how their grandchildren are, well maybe that might be the only conversation they have that day.

I know that they appreciate it, because I am told so, very often, and my employers seem to think so too since in my time with them I have won several service awards, including employee of the month. I’m sorry but I felt from your reply that you were saying chatting was being lazy, and I promise you I work very bloody hard. Again, I’m sorry if this sounds short but your reply offended me greatly and has upset me actually.

augustlan's avatar

I have to agree with @bunnygrl, and especially in a service environment. Friendly chit-chat cements customer relations, and I (as a customer) appreciate it very much!

gondwanalon's avatar

@bunnygrl I’m sorry to offend anyone. I mean no harm. Of course the customer should always be treated with a smile and a sincere attention to their needs that tells them that they are your number one priority while you are serving them. Yes talking with them is a good thing.

I work in a clinical lab where I most of the time am working far back in the lab with hundreds of patient specimens and several other other coworkers who love to talk (mostly females). Most of the time my work is fast-paced, boring, tedious and a grind where attention to minute details is critical and NO mistakes are tolerated. At times a coworker will spend far too much time talking with their friends and or family on the phone. I never say a word because they are human beings with problems and feelings. I just let it go while I pick up their work. This is the type of chit chatting that I think should be limited. Because it forces others to work harder.

Now and then I’m required to drop my work in the back of the lab to draw blood on patients that present themselves to the lab’s phlebotomy area. On those times I may be very tired but I quickly shift gears and become like a Hollywood actor playing the part of a happy go lucky friend of each customer whom I give service to. I chit chat, smile, offer them something to drink and use my >30 years of lab experience to draw their blood in the most exacting and gentile way that I can. I give each customer the care that I would give a dear friend or family member.

bunnygrl's avatar

@gondwanalon I’m so sorry, I didn’t mean to offend you either <hugs>. I didn’t know you worked in a lab, that is very specialised work, and it must need a great deal of care, not to mention expertise and serious concentration, I’m appalled at the idea that your co-workers act this way. Even more so at the fact that you have to then pick up the slack, and so increase your own workload, from their being so… well I’m sorry thats just unprofessionial! They shouldn’t have their jobs if they choose to act like this! and probubly wouldn’t have them if you weren’t covering their work for them. Please accept my apology, I have misunderstood your original post entirely, and I so wish I could just smack your co-workers for you. They really don’t deserve their jobs. What you’re doing is serious work, with consequences if test results are misdiagnosed ect, they should keep their phone calls and gossip for break times or non working hours. sending hugs xx

@Augustlan aw thank you honey! it’s so nice to hear that customers appreciate honest friendliness. I work with a couple of girls on checkout, bear in mind that its a huge supermarket so there are, as i said 19 main bank large checkouts, as well as the self scan ones going, so lots of us there, but I can think of a couple of co-workers who irritate me terribly at times. They can be very rude to customers, by either not bothering to interact at all, or worse, by being downright openly rude to them by 1.scanning their shop too fast for the customer to have a chance to pack (might as well just be throwing their shopping at them IMO) and 2. then demanding payment when the customer (by then very frazzled and stressed) is still trying to pack this mess the co-worker has created! I once saw one co-worker not even bother to tell the customer how much her shop was, she just pointed quickly at the display on the checkout, then extended her hand towards the customer and snapped her fingers! how rude!! I know how I feel as a customer when I’m treated like this, I have a couple of stores I go out of my way to go to, simply because the service is so friendly. So, again honey, thank you so much for saying that, it means the world to me. I love doing my silly wee minimum wage job :-) It’s also so nice when I see any of my ladies “out and about”, ie: when i’m not in my uniform, on my days off while getting my own shopping or whatever, and getting to have a proper chat without a queue developing lol.
hugs honey xx

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