Does time really fly when you’re having fun?

Published on February 9th, 2012
Does time really fly when you're having fun?

Does time really fly when you’re having fun? Not really… time just flies when you’re not paying attention to it.

Why is it that a day at the beach or with friends seems to whiz by or a date may come to and end much sooner than you expected (through no fault of your own, of course)? And then, when you’re not really having that much fun at all, time seems to go on forever. So what gives?

Well, according to Simon Grondin, a psychologist who conducts research on time perception, time doesn’t fly when you’re having fun, but when you’re not paying attention to it. Studies have shown again and again that when you pay attention to the duration of an event, you perceive it as being longer. Much like that old saying, “a watched pot never boils”.

But here’s the thing: when you forget the pot, or the tick-tock of the clock, time seems to run a lot faster. In other words, although fun distractions do indeed make time seem to fly, you can also speed things up by focusing on something else. This explains why time seems to go faster in the mornings, when you’re more awake and able to concentrate.

According to, most scientists think that paying attention to time makes it run slower because of our limited mental resources. We only have so much brainpower available at any given moment, and so we’re forced to choose what to focus on and forget about everything else.

So, the next time if you find yourself in a situation where time seems to be dragging really slowly, just pay a little more attention to something and whatever you’re doing will soon be over!