Wednesday, July 8, 2009

13 ways to relax and look busy at work

By Clayton Shumway
As Featured On EzineArticles

So, you’ve plunged yourself into the white-collar, belt-loosening world. Whether you work at a small business or large corporate enterprise, we know who you are, and we know that you want to exploit every opportunity to be lazy and look busy. Enjoy these proven methods observed from yours truly (yes, observed).

1. Always sigh loudly. Works especially well when taking a seat at a meeting or every time you sit down at your desk.
2. Set up Outlook (or your main email program) to chime every time you get an email. Then loop the sound to play every 45 seconds or so. Another easy trick is to set up your email program to deliver your emails after hours (you’ll have to figure these out, I can’t give away everything).
3. Make sure your taskbar is cluttered with open programs. Also make sure that your browser has multiple tabs open. This will also make it more difficult for your managers to see your open Online Dating and Mail Order Bride pages.
4. Keep a hard and soft copy of an Excel spreadsheet, and make sure it has lots of numbers and graphs that no one but you can understand. Pull it up when someone walks by (which brings up another point, get a rearview mirror attached to your monitor) and take it with you whenever you go somewhere.
5. Set your IM status as “busy” or “in a meeting”.
6. I know what you’re thinking, but hold off on purchasing a privacy screen for your monitor. To the simple-minded co-worker, they will position you as the “yeah I’m working on important, top-secret stuff”-type, but to the savvy realist-type you’re just trying to trump your latest Desktop Tower Defense score undetected.
7. Get a Bluetooth earpiece and pretend to talk on it whenever you aren’t at your desk. Or if you have friends, you could talk to them too.
8. Be sure to stay 4 minutes later than everyone else. You can’t afford not to put in those extra hours.
9. Walk fast. And if you’re really gun-ho, run.
10. Frequently glance at your watch during meetings or when someone is talking to you. After all, you have places to be and people to see.
11. Outsource your projects. There is a kiss up in every office, use this to your advantage and make him/her do all the grunt work.
12. Keep a hidden stash of used lean cuisine boxes. When you get back from lunch, make sure no one is looking and put a couple on your desk. You just don’t have time to take a lunch.
13. If you are a guy, loosen the ol’ necktie and unbutton that top button. Women…forget about doing your hair in the morning, the brushed hair look will cause suspicion.


  1. So THAT'S how you do it at work!! Clayton,
    glad you joined the blogger world. Loved
    the pics!

    TG (so others won't think your mom's looking!)

  2. I'm not surprised at all. I've seen Clayton put all of these techniques in action.

  3. I just found your blog and I love this post!! Great ideas. Will implement ASAP.

    One I like to use: When writing a really long email, cut and paste it into the middle of a work document so that to any passersby it looks like you're writing copy for something, or a letter. When you're done with the email, just quickly cut and paste it back into your email text box.

    Another survival tip: Get to know your boss's footsteps and any other footsteps that sound like they might be stopping at your cube so you can flash open your fancy Excel spreadsheet. Oh yeah.