Are you stressed out, under pressure and short of time at work? Or are there days when your ‘In’ tray stays empty and the hours drag on until home time?
You’re not being lazy – there is nothing to do. Not even dull stuff. How can you look busy and avoid being labelled a slacker by your boss? I’ve come up with a few tips to help you waste time while looking productive.
Paper Mountains – The must-have desk accessory for those toil-free days. Scatter files, letters and other meaningless junk across your desk. Make your own paper mountains by rescuing items from the recycle bin or photocopying old reports. Shuffle, staple and hole-punch these paper props whenever the boss walks by.
Internet – The timewaster’s best friend. If co-workers can see your monitor, hide your browser behind an Excel spreadsheet so you can toggle between the two to avoid suspicion. Look slightly pained as you surf – you are not poking your friend on Facebook, you are working out a very complicated equation.
Phone Calls – Mask personal calls as business conversations. Tell your friends to ask questions you can only answer with a yes or no. Using your best business voice, respond “Yes…yes. No.” in a professional manner, throwing in random comments about sales figures. You can chat away to your buddies and look productive at the same time.
Write A Novel – Always keep a notebook on your desk. Look busy by writing stories, shopping lists and badly composed haikus. What the hell do you think I’m doing now?
Have a Stroll – Don’t wander about aimlessly, but take a random document from your paper mountain and march around the office pretending to look for someone. Make sure they’re out – you don’t want to run into them and have to explain why you’re bringing them a stationary invoice from 1987. If your workplace is expansive you can walk around for hours. If not, have a walk around the company next door.
Caffeine – Waste valuable time at the coffee machine as you ponder the brew selections and stuff sugar packets into your pockets. Work in several trips to the water cooler and you’re well on your way to 5pm. Think of the extra time you’ll waste rushing to the washroom after all that fluid.
Meetings – Use these communal time wasting sessions to your advantage. Arrive early and scribble furiously in your notebook during the meeting (obviously you will be writing your novel, not taking notes). Ask the speaker lots of questions at the end to avoid returning to your desk – you’re doing them a favour by wasting their time too.
Desk Games – Who has the stupidest name in the phone book? How many paperclips can you stack? If you take your mouse apart, will it work when you put it back together?
Start Smoking – How come nicotine addicts can slope off and indulge their habit whenever they like? If drinkers and stoners were afforded the same privilege, time wasting would be much easier (and hazier). If you don’t want to start smoking, just go outside anyway and tell your fellow smokers you’re on the patch but can’t shake the smoke break ritual.
Get Another Job – If you spend every day making paperclip towers, wandering the corridors looking for invisible people and hiding in the washroom, it’s time to quit. Your employers are wasting your valuable time.
Life is too short to be doing a non-job, unless you really enjoy spending your day doing nothing useful. In which case you should have followed your parents’ advice and become a lawyer.