Welcome to August, everyone! It's the month where not one single thing gets done at anyone's job anywhere in the world. But just because there is nothing to do doesn't mean you can just sit at your desk and do nothing. Here's a guide to making yourself look busy without troubling with any actual work.
Your boss is away, half of your contacts are also on vacation, and there are few deadlines looming until after Labor Day. So, how are you going to make the tedium of your desk job bearable without, you know, doing any actual work? Here are some simple strategies.
Nothing says, "Boy, am I busy," like the click click clacking of little typewriter keys. That means you just type away, young friend. That doesn't mean you actually have to be writing up something for your job. Write emails to your mom, the first chapter of the book you've been thinking about, screeds on Facebook, or long recaps of reality television shows for your personal blog (do these in Microsoft Word and then copy and paste them later, though, so it looks like you're drafting a report). Everyone will think that you're hammering away at some very important project they know nothing about and be totally jelly, when all you're really doing is entertaining yourself and your friends by talking about how idiotic people who say "jelly" instead of "jealous" are.
Create a Project
Before someone saddles you with some shitty work, think up a project on your own. Make sure it's something inconsequential that seems very important and looks involved when there really isn't that much work to be done. Then talk about it non-stop with all of your coworkers and anyone that will listen and create yourself a bunch of obstacles, which are also easily surmountable. When anyone accuses you of slacking off, just throw your project in their face and talk about how important it is. It's a foolproof strategy. Everyone in Congress has been using this approach with the damn "debt ceiling" for weeks now to great effect. Masterful.
Send Well-Timed Email
While you're slacking off and trying to do nothing while looking busy, you need some empirical evidence of your productivity. That comes in the form of emails. Send them early in the morning and just after 6:30pm. They don't have to say much, just some updates on what you're working on, or a little note to a superior so that they think you're in the office for a full day. This is especially handy if your boss is away or working from his beach house. The content doesn't matter, just the time stamp. The real secret is to program the emails to send at a set time so it looks like you were at your desk, when you were really sleeping late, leaving early, and dicking around in between. Now that the boss thinks you've been dutifully at your desk, you can spend the rest of your time reading all the latest Hunger Games casting news on EW.com. Yeah, they have nothing better to do right now either.
The only thing that makes you look busier than being at your desk is not being at your desk. Well, actually it's a tentative balance. If you're gone for too long, people will think that you went out shoe shopping, but if you're never getting up, people will think you aren't taking any meetings. The answer: Wander around the office. Just get up and look like you're headed to the conference room, like you're going to meet someone in reception, or like you're stepping out of the office for something important. Mention all the meetings you have right now (so people don't think you're interviewing for a job) and let them see you on the move. You don't have to actually go anywhere (stop by to see your girl Jenny and gossip, or go take a 20 minute nap in a stall in the bathroom). You just need people to think you have somewhere to go. By going nowhere, you'll actually get somewhere.
Offer to Get Lunch
If you really want to get in everyone's good graces and need some time away from your desk, just offer to buy them lunch. Here's the plan: Say you're getting lunch and ask who's in. Then call ahead so that it's ready when you get there. Then go about doing whatever the hell you want to do outside of the office (shop, work out, get stoned behind the Dumpster), and pick up lunch when you're done. When you get back to the office, bitch about how awful the lunch rush is and they messed up your order and blah, blah, blah. No one's going to care you just took 90 minutes off, because you brought back soft tacos. You're the slacker hero, my friend, and all it cost you was four cheese pizzas.