The keyword here is “appear,” people.
We’re all well aware of the pre-holiday checkout and how difficult it becomes to keep up the work pace when we’re so close to time off. Not to mention the trazillion things we need to get done outside of work — did we remember to buy gifts for everyone? Do the kids know the words to the songs in their holiday program this year? Is Aunt Nettie going to pass out in the apple pie again, and — more importantly — how can we still eat around her? So many important things to think about.
While we wouldn’t recommend faking it all the time, we understand it’s that time of year. So we’ve compiled a list of brilliant ways to make it appear like you’re working, when you’re actually cruising Pinterest for ideas on how to totally cream your co-workers in this year’s Secret Santa. Or sleeping, because none of us are getting any of that.
1. Open a finished spreadsheet or word document and change small things
Like the colors of the cells, for example. The screen being filled with what looks like lots and lots of work is key to appearing busy here.
2. Add some flair by looking annoyed at the screen. Maybe add in an occasional swear word.
If you’re frustrated, people don’t want to bother you. Plus, they’ll assume you’re obviously working on something rather than cussing out your private December calendar that your spouse just updated with yet another awkward family gathering.
3. Pick up some papers and a manila folder, and walk around.
Anything could be in those folders; no one knows. The faster you walk, the more determined you look to get there, so people will be less likely to stop you. It helps if you have a friend to walk with so you sound like you’re talking about something important. This method gets bonus points for helping to burn off a tiny portion of the cookies you’ve no doubt been gorging on this season.
4. Fill your desk with props to make it look like you’re there.
A half-eaten sandwich, the jacket you “wore” to work or even a set of keys. Find ways to make it look like you just stepped away when you actually ran to Target to get the rest (read: all) of your holiday shopping done.
5. Make sure to respond to email
If you keep up on these, you’re golden. No one will EVER question your work ethic. Bonus points for CC’ing the entire office on something so that everyone knows how hard you’re working.
6. Don’t post on Social Media
Total rookie mistake. Perusing could get you in trouble, so don’t leave an obvious record of your non-work by repinning that homemade elf on the shelf idea that you want to use for Secret Santa. Just screenshot it or email yourself the link so you can pin it during non-work hours.
7. Take some screenshots of your actual work and use them as your computer background
If you get several screenshots you can put your background on ‘slideshow’ and really make an impression. This trick gives you plenty of time to make several personal phone calls and a great impression on your boss without having to clock out.
8. Be prepared with ALT+ESC
If you’re cruising the world wide web and your boss or brown-nosing co-worker walks by, just ALT+ESC and it will move that window behind all the other windows you have up. Just make sure you have that spreadsheet/word doc from No. 1 prepped and ready to go for more unnecessary tweaks.
9. Block off time on your work calendar
This makes everyone think you’re really busy and need to be left alone. You can’t overuse this one, so take care to only bust it out for necessary, special situations — like boredom, laziness, procrastination, bad hangovers, avoiding bosses, and post-Christmas blues.