How to Look Really Busy at Work
Do you have this really annoying place you have to go to everyday called a "job"? Are you expected to actually work once you show up? Has anyone given the whole "there is no I in team" speech to you? Man, what is up with that? Looks like you are going to have to look extremely busy at work.
What happens when you are not really busy at work? What happens if there are a few blissful moments in your day when you might want to, oh, I don't know, stop and breathe for a moment? Of course, you are not allowed to do that! You need to keep that job! You have to look really busy at all times.
In today's economy, managers are looking to squeeze as much productivity out of all workers as humanly possible. More work and less pay - that is just the way it is now. If you are like me and get your job done quickly and efficiently, you are in trouble. A manager will just come along, see you are not pulling your hair out from being overwhelmed, and dump more work on you. So I am here to help you with some advice on how to look extremely busy even if you are only just plain busy.
Stop Working So Fast
Are you going in and getting all the work done correctly the first time you do it? Well, you'd better stop. Plenty of your co-workers are working late and looking busy, but it is because they are making mistakes on a regular basis and spending most of their time fixing issues. You know who is looking impressive now? THEM! They look like they are working like crazy over in their cubicles. It is time for you to do the same.
Instead of working efficiently, allow yourself to get distracted here and there. Also, just simply pace yourself. You might even find you enjoy the task more since you are allowing yourself more time.
Fix Other People's Mistakes
You know what kills a lot of time? Fixing mistakes. If you are not making enough mistakes of your own, start fixing other mistakes you might find. I am sure if you look, you will have no problem finding them. Your customers and co-workers are probably making plenty of mistakes. It is a thankless job, but hey, someone's got to do it.
Talk to Yourself
If you are at a job that only acknowledges people that seem to be overworked and freaking out all the time, well, you can do the same. The best way to look crazed and overworked is to start talking to yourself. I will give you an example:
You are sitting at your desk updating a fairly boring spreadsheet. Nosy Suzy from down the hall keeps peeking at you everytime she walks by your cubicle. There is no doubt she is thinking about approaching your supervisor and asking if you can help her with a nightmare project that she should have completed weeks ago. After all, she had to take off 3 days for a number of different reasons (and she happened to come back with a tan after one "sick" day), so why shouldn't you be a team player and do her work for her?
Now is the time to start mumbling things to yourself while working. You should start looking pretty aggravated at the spreadsheet. If you begin saying things to yourself like, "these numbers just aren't adding up," or "how am I expected to get all this done by the end of the week," it is a sure bet Nosy Suzy will just poke her nose somewhere else and you will be left alone to finish your spreadsheet. As a matter of fact, your supervisor might even suggest you visit a nice, friendly therapist in the near future. Hey, what a great idea!
You may not realize this, but thoughtful nods go a long way. It says that you are truly engaged in your activity. Basically, you should nod slowly while lifting one eyebrow. That says, "Hmmm... interesting." If you can place your hand under your chin or lay your finger on the side of your head, that totally takes it to a new level.
Now that you have your nod down, here are some moments when you can use it:
- At a meeting when a manager is talking. Sure, you are thinking about what you need to buy at the grocery store later, but it looks like you are listening.
- When you are "researching" something on the internet. Perhaps you are only reading an email from Grandma, but look serious while you are doing it.
- If you are looking through your notes from a meeting; maybe you are simply admiring some of the artwork you drew while trying to stay awake, but it looks like you are putting some of your important thoughts in order.
- While staring out a window or just checking out the wall. No one has to know you are trying to remember the names of all the seven dwarves. They think you are pondering deep thoughts.
- If you are having a phone conversation; it doesn't matter who you are talking to on the phone, make it seem important with some thoughtful nods.
If part of your job includes going through periodicals, books, or something along those lines, you can always sneak something fun to read into the pile. Certainly it is important to get the job done, but isn't it equally important to find out what Garfield and Odie have been up to lately? If you add a thoughtful nod into the equation, everyone is going to think you are really busy.
Pretend You're On the Phone
If all else fails, one way to appear busy is to pretend you are on the phone. This works on many different levels. Yes, you will seem very busy when anyone walks by, but also, it can get rid of a nuisance co-worker. Sometimes Mildred just wants to stop and tell you for the 5th time that day why her cat is the cutest cat on the planet. You can save yourself from that story if you start talking to a pretend irate customer.
When faking people out with a phone call, remember to pause at all the appropriate times when another person should be speaking. Make sure to look frustrated or shocked at times. It helps to even point at the phone a time or two, and shake your head. If you can even start a sentence and then abruptly stop as if you are being interrupted, you will have no worries making this call believable.
You just need to keep the fake conversation going after the person leaves your view. You never know when someone is just waiting a minute around the corner just to start a new conversation with you. Also, end the conversation as you normally would with a "thank you and have a nice day." You don't want to appear suspicious!
Actually Be Busy!
If all else fails, you can opt just to be busy. Yes, I know! What a crazy idea! If you are actually bored at work and don't have a lot to do, maybe you should ask for more work. We all have different situations in life and we all have times when we are busier than other times. If you sincerely are not busy at all (dude, where do you work?), then it is probably ethical to ask for more assignments.
Just remember, there is no "I" in team. Sometimes helping out your co-workers is actually the right thing to do, but only you can determine that, my friend. Good luck to you!
Copyright ©2013 Jeannieinabottle
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