Sometimes you just can’t be bothered. Even if you love your job, the not-giving-a-damn-about-work feeling can creep up from time-to-time, and you just want to do absolutely nothing. What you need are strategies to help you throughout the day, which will help you avoid as much work as possible yet still make it look like you’re a busy and valued member of the team. It’s easier than you think…
This is one of the less well-known methods, but is also one of the most effective. Frightening people never get asked to do anything. We’re not suggesting you have to walk round like Anthony Hopkins in Silence of the Lambs, but be a bit prickly, uncooperative and unpredictable. Mix this in with the occasional bout of insane happiness and people won’t know what is going on. People are scared of the unknown, and if they can’t predict how you are going to react, chances are they’re not going to ask you to do anything. You’ll be left alone to get on with your own thing.
This is the favourite tactic of teenagers everywhere to get out of helping around the house. Being hopeless is also a tactic that can be very effective at work. Obviously this might not be a good idea if you’re a nuclear safety engineer, but if you work in an office it should be okay.
This technique is best used when being asked to do the small stuff at work, such as the boring, time consuming and repetitive tasks, because you don’t want to get the sack for being hopeless for the proper stuff you do. Being rubbish at the small stuff will not only get you out of doing it, it may even work in your favour, as people will think that you’re ‘too specialist’ to do such minor, unimportant tasks.
A tidy desk screams ‘highly efficient’ and probably means you must have time to do some extra work. A messy desk, however, when combined with your best acting skills to look busy, means that you’re working flat out, not even having time to stop to keep your desk tidy. Do this well enough, and if you’ve got a particularly sensitive boss, you may even find yourself having some work taken off you, or even better, your boss offering to have an assistant help you with your workload. Bonus!
Have a wander around the building
This is the classic office time wasting technique, but is still highly effective. Walking purposefully round the building with a piece of paper is a fantastic way to waste a bit of time, stretch your legs and have a chat with your mates in other parts of the building. Take it to the next level next time by announcing the fact that you’re off to take some paperwork to another office, and then ask colleagues if they have anything they want dropping off on the way. Extra time out of the office and you’re even doing your colleagues a favour.
Strike up a conversation with your boss
This one really depends upon how well you know your boss. If you’ve exhausted every other tactic, then it might be an avenue worth considering. Does your boss have something they are particularly passionate about? Maybe it’s a new ring road the council are planning to build near their house, petrol prices or even how ITV move Coronation Street when the football is on.
All you have to do is to talk about ‘something you read this morning’ and then simply ‘insert inflammatory quote’ that you know will make them go off on one. Then it’s just a case of sitting there nodding and agreeing. Not as relaxing as a nice wander round the building, but it does waste some time and saves you from doing actual work. And, your boss can’t complain if they’re the one distracting you!