How to Fake Looking Busy at Work

How to Fake Looking Busy at Work

Today I don’t feel like doin’ annnnnnything.

By Sarah Taviani | 11th August 2016

ALL RIGHT. All you lazy pieces of poo want to know how to look busy at work. This is probably because, unlike me, you don’t get to spend your day thinking up ways in which other people can procrastinate. Sucks to be you. Should’ve done an Arts degree. (Lies.)

With great power comes great responsibility and I have decided to use my powers for good instead of evil. That’s right. Today I, the busiest of busy humans, will lead you to glory. (Disclaimer: I am not the busiest of busy humans. Cynthia Erivo, who stars in the Broadway revival of The Color Purple ran a half marathon and then did two shows back to back. SHE is the busiest of busy humans and she’s still flawless. So think about that the next time you think you’ve accomplished a lot in one day.)

First, we need to set a benchmark. I’m going to assume you want to do absolutely no work because that’s the dream, right? Getting paid to do nothing. Forget the white picket fences and let’s proceed on our journey to fake looking busy at work.

1. Make lists

Like this one. See how I’m making a list right now? It’s keeping me sahhhh busy. If your list-making skills are really prolific, you could even smash out that book you’ve been meaning to write, in LIST FORM. Just submit it to a publisher right now. Your new style of writing is so meta they won’t have any choice but to publish you. And you know what? Don’t even bother turning on your computer. Handwrite your list. People know that when someone is using a PEN to write something, they mean srs bsns.

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2. Stand around the photocopier/printer

Because you have to copy/print a lot of things (like your new manuscript) and you’re that important. Does anyone else need to print? WELL, TOO BAD. Just throw their stuff in the bin or something. Make everyone think the printer has died and spend your day “sorting that out”. Also, by hoarding paper you are creating something called artificial scarcity and if it worked for the Norwegian butter crisis then it can work for you.

How to Fake Looking Busy at Work, busy at work, how to fake, tips and tricks, advice, how to

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3. Stare at your watch a lot

Don’t have a watch? Draw one on. Oh, what’s that? You think you’re too good for a drawn-on watch? DO YOU WANT TO LOOK BUSY OR NOT? ADULT UP AND GRAB A PEN TO DRAW ON YOURSELF, DAMN IT.

How to Fake Looking Busy at Work, busy at work, how to fake, tips and tricks, advice, how to

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4. Staple things

Or remove staples. Maybe curse every so often about those dang staples and how annoying they are. They’re ruining your life. But they’re also making your life better because while you waste a valuable office resource you don’t actually have to BE a valuable office resource. It’s the circle of life and it moves us all.

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5. Highlight stuff

Like, all of it. What should you highlight, you ask? Well, it does not fricking matter. No, it doesn’t. Just grab a dang phone book and start highlighting all the As. Then the Bs. Then the Cs. There’s a pattern here. Have you picked it yet? I will assume you have, because you seem like a pretty switched-on person.

How to Fake Looking Busy at Work, busy at work, how to fake, tips and tricks, advice, how to

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6. Make your desk really messy

And then clean it up. Repeat. Bonus points if you can spill some kind of liquid on the desk and either render your keyboard useless or be “forced” to “redo” all this “work” you “did” because it now has a gigantic effing coffee stain all over it and that’s just not going to cut it. It also helps to put Post-It Notes all around your computer screen until you can barely see. They have to have writing on them. Even if it's just “I'm trying to fake looking busy at work here, go away.”

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7. Spend a lot of time on the phone

If you sit quite close to someone, this one could be tricky but it’s always worth a go. You have to make it realistic, which means the phone actually has to ring. Call the number from your mobile phone (under the desk), then answer it and proceed to have a conversation that sounds v. business-like and v. impressive.

An example: “Yes, indeed. When they told me that the modular variation of the Arkansas Tribunal was going into receivership, do you know what I said? I said, ‘Rupert, old chap, you are PULLING MY LEG.’ And then I punched him in the face. That’ll teach him. And if not, I’ll set the authorities on him. Can’t have anyone interfering with the business model that I’ve been developing with Sir Richard Branson.”

Repeat this step throughout the day as necessary, usually when someone tries to speak to you about something. “Oh, sorry, I am much too busy with the phone.”

Don’t have a phone? Pick up that stapler you were just pretending to use and simply pretend that’s a phone. Who is going to notice? OK, probably quite a few people because it’s not that hard to tell the difference between a stapler and a phone but 80 per cent of faking something is committing to the lie. Who are they to say that you didn’t get a fancy new wireless stapler phone? You’ve been working with Sir Richard Branson, after all.

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8. Look stressed

I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but when you look stressed and start maybe rubbing your forehead or sighing a lot or glaring at paperwork and TYPING REALLY LOUDLY, people tend to leave you alone. They might also ask you what’s wrong because they’re considerate but you can fob them off with a well-placed “Everything is wrong” and then go back to looking stressed.

How to Fake Looking Busy at Work, busy at work, how to fake, tips and tricks, advice, how to

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9. Tidy things

Sometimes the only way to fake looking busy at work is to actually do something else. If you have a storeroom at your work, lock yourself in there and start sifting through things on your mission to “find that thing” that you “misplaced”. Along the way you’ll probably end up reconfiguring the entire store room (or totally wrecking it if you’re a jerk). Hey, at least you got something done, right?

How to Fake Looking Busy at Work, busy at work, how to fake, tips and tricks, advice, how to

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10. Open a bunch of different programs

You know how we were talking about messing up your desk? The same thing goes for your computer desktop. The more hectic it is, the more it’ll look like you’re totally swamped and you’ll look like YOU DO NOT NEED TO BE BOTHERED RIGHT NOW, MARGUERITE. Jesus.

How to Fake Looking Busy at Work, busy at work, how to fake, tips and tricks, advice, how to

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Now, go forth and do absolutely nothing. You are a mighty oak among palm trees and nothing can stand in your way.

PLEASE NOTE: All How to Fake stories are satirical in nature. However, if you DO decide to take on any of this really excellent advice, let us know the results on Facebook, you champion.

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Article by Sarah Taviani

Sarah is a Journalist. She loves lists, stationery and dresses with pockets. Sarah frequently breaks her self-imposed book-buying ban when she’s not looking.