Clocks might tell us that time ticks by at a steady pace, but we all know from hard-won experience that that's not how humans experience their lives. That dull half-hour meeting can feel like it went on for hours, while your much anticipated weeklong beach break can end up feeling like it passed in approximately ten minutes.

Short of time travel, is there anything you can do about this phenomenon? You'll have to look elsewhere for advice on speeding up that slow motion meeting, but psychology has plenty of help to offer when it comes to making your next vacation feel like it lasted a good long time.

Recently on Quartz, Jenni Avins interviewed psychologist Marc Wittmann, author of Felt Time: The Psychology of How We Perceive Time, who offered tips.

To stretch time, make more memories

Despite what you might think based on that mind-numbing meeting, in hindsight at least, it's boring stretches of time that seem to fly by.

"Any interval feels longer if you have more memories stored," Wittmann tells Avins. "If you experience more memorable events, then time stretches." Your level of engagement can also affected the perceived duration of a remembered time period. "If you're totally detached from the things that are happening, then you won't store them. Emotion is the glue to your memory," he adds.

Others have noted that this might be part of the reason why childhood seems to go on forever -- everything is new, fresh, and noteworthy, so your brain is constantly earmarking memories. Even a lazy, laid back summer afternoon can therefore seem endless looking back.

Practical advice for your next vacation

How should you put this insight to use if you're hoping to make your next break feel indulgently long? Wittmann recommends you avoid putting your vacation on "autopilot" as much as possible, and arrange things so that you'll actually focus on the present while away. In practice that boils down to a few simple tips:

  • Don't just sit by the pool. If you don't want your holiday to fly by, try something more "challenging," suggests Wittman. Avins notes that road trips, camping, or other outdoor adventures are good examples of the type of experiences that make for more memorable and engaging -- and therefore longer-feeling-- trips.
  • Keep a journal. Taking the time to assemble some written or visual log of your adventures will cement memories and stretch out the experiences, notes Avins. Looking back at these memories can keep your post-vacation buzz going too, and help you savor the experience for years to come.

  • Don't plan every minute. "Planning also speeds up the passage of time," Wittmann warns. "Because there you're always already in the future. You have this future perspective of your mind, and then you are actually not attending to what is happening right now." So leave some blank space in your itinerary to force yourself focus on what's right in front of you.

Check out Avins' post for tales of her own entertaining summer adventures, as well as much more detail on Wittmann's advice . Or read more science-backed tips to improve your next vacation here on