M E M O R A N D U M
From: Galen Black
Subject: Wasting Time at Work
Date May 2, 2001
There are lots of people out there who just dont understand the finer points of wasting time at work. Lots of people are so afraid of getting caught, they dont waste time at work. They work the entire 8 hours. For those scared of being fired for being too slack, you are right to be afraid. There is a delicate balance you must find between not doing any work and doing too much at work. The bottom line is you must get your work done. A lot of people dont like to hear that. They just want to do nothing. If you want to do nothing then stay at home, but dont expect people to pay you for it.
To be an effective time waster, you have to chip away at the hours of the day. If you start goofing off for hours at a time, youll get caught and fired. You have to find many small ways to eat up time. You may find some of the following tips only waste a few seconds each, but seconds add up to minutes that add up to hours.
Drink Lots of Water
Water, Tea and Coffee make you urinate quicker and more often than other drinks. No one can blame you for normal bodily functions. Only a real jerk of a boss will yell at you for taking a leak. Once in the bathroom, take your time. I would even suggest that men take up the feminine habit of sitting during all trips to the toilet. Urinals were designed for speed, men. Dont be robbed of those precious extra seconds of pulling down your trousers and pulling them back up again. (30 seconds to 2 minutes per trip)
While youre in the bathroom take an extra couple of seconds to wash your hands thoroughly. I see too many people rush through this exercise. Take your time washing your hands and most people will not notice. Barely get the tips of your fingers wet as you run out the bathroom door and everyone avoids touching things you touch. (13 to 32 secondes per trip to bathroom)
A good hour or two can be gained every few weeks if you keep your desk a mess. Friday afternoons and Monday mornings are perfect times to set aside for cleaning up your work area. Just say you want things neat for yourself when you start the week and "wah-lah" you have just made some time for yourself refiling papers, rearranging pens in your desk, and categorizing your push pins by color. (Which reminds me, always have the office manager order you the multi-colored push pin packs.) (28 minutes to an hour once a week)
Load your computer with unnecessary programs that make your machine run slower. While your waiting for the PC to process information sit back and relax. If the boss questions you just say, Damn computers Hell laugh and agree with you and say something like, Seems like we use to get more work done without those gall durn contraptions. Agree with him and hell walk away never suspecting that you arent doing anything. (roughly 42 minutes a day)
The World Wide Web is a red flag. Be very careful misusing the company PC to surf the web for personal enjoyment. Your boss knows the internet is a big waste of time and is watching for people who are doing web searches for MP3s and games. The best way to use the internet to your time wasting advantage is to use it for all research. If you need a phone number for a client across town, use the internet to find it. Most people just reach for a phone book, which is by far faster than using the internet. Dont miss this chance to legitimately use the internet for business and waste time. (roughly 9 to 33 minutes a day.)
Lots of people want to take naps at work. This is very dangerous and should only be attempted by the most seasoned napper. No matter how many news magazines do stories on how taking naps improve employee performance in other countries, you will never be paid to sleep here in the U.S of A. The USA work ethic hates sleep, even the good 8 hours a night kind.
If you must take a nap you might try this idea from the Nap Play Book.
Nap #643 -- Fill a coffee mug. Find a low traffic area in the office and spill the contents of the mug on the floor. Lay down on the floor face first with your coffee mug laying on the spill. The purpose is to make it look like you fell, passed out or tripped on something. After you place yourself in position, go to sleep. If someone finds you, theyll rush to your aide. Have an excuse ready. Theyll think you are hurt or sick, but dont let them send you home. You dont want to eat up sick leave, thats your personal time. Never repeat this exercise in the same location and dont do it too often. This nap will be less effective if you snore. If you snore while you sleep its tougher to pass off sleep as unconsciousness. (Naps can buy you any where from 10 minutes to several hours depending on where you take the nap)
Enter business conversations around the office that are taking place in the open. You dont have to be a part of the conversation very much. The important thing is to be there physically. Just nod your head a few times. Beware that others in the conversation may turn to you for comment. Youll need to be prepared with a good quick exit line or a response. One good answer that can buy time is, Im sorry, I was thinking about how were gonna manage to do everything on time and still stay on budget. Theyll either repeat the question or continue without your input. If they do the latter, you might want to excuse yourself and move on back to your desk. (23 minutes to 1.3 hours)
Go to every meeting that is appropriate for you to attend. Everyone knows meetings are a colossal waste of time, so use them. Youd be surprised at how many people miss the opportunity at wasting time by ducking out of or avoiding meetings. Once youre in meeting, its all about you. You can plan your weekend, think about the game you watched the night before, or fantasize about Georgia/George in Legal. (According to Office Studies International the average meeting takes 42 minutes and meetings happen every 5 hours. Count on 2-3 meetings a week)
I hope these tips help you be more productive in wasting time. Remember, you cant waste the companys time if you dont work for the company. With a little effort no one will ever know how little you do.