19 Ways to Look Busy With Work While You Slack Off During the Holidays

The holidays are a time for friends, family, mirth and merriment; not crisis, conference calls, projects, and PowerPoints.

You’ve spent all year breaking your back for work, so now it’s time to enjoy the candy canes of your labour.

You just need to make sure nobody sees you eating them…

So here are 19 things you can do to make sure you have time for the holidays while still maintaining your status as the office angel…

1. Always Look Annoyed (“The Costanza”)
George hit the nail on the head with this one; “When you look annoyed all the time, people think that you’re busy.” If George can pull it off, so can you.

2. Call People “a Life-Saver” All the Time
Only someone who is “swamped” or “drowning” and is legitimately in fear for their very existence would possibly use such terminology. When you’re this busy, nobody is just “helping”; they’re allowing you to elude The Grim Reaper himself.  

3. Remove Punctuation, Grammar, and Capital Letters from Emails
will have by friday
pls resend thx

If there’s one way you know when someone is super-busy, it’s when they can’t even find the time to press the shift key or recall the nuances of their primary dialect. If you need tips on this one, talk to someone in field sales.

4. Talk About Coffee – a Lot
It’s one thing to drink coffee, but it’s quite another talk about it like it’s more important than your children. How thankful are you for coffee? No words. How many cups have you had today? Pftt. Please. Nobody can count that high.

5. When Someone Asks if You Have a Minute, the Answer is Always, “I Guess So”
Clearly you don’t have a minute. “I guess so” is office-speak for, “Absof*****lutely NOT but you’ve already interrupted me so you might as well keep making noise with your mouth and get whatever this is over with as quickly as possible.” And that’s a nice way of saying, “I’m really busy.”

6. Be at Home When the ______ Guy Comes to ______
Air conditioning installations, plumbing work, window cleaning, UPS deliveries, dog walkers, Jehovah’s Witnesses, whatever. Someone is coming to your house and you must be there when they arrive. With everything on your plate, you’ll get more done if you cut out the travel time and just work from home. 

7. Book Meetings with Yourself
While it’s not impenetrable, the “block-off” is great for letting your co-workers know that they are, by default, a second priority to whatever it is that requires your alone time. Not only will they need to win your time but they’ll also need to beat out an incumbent: you. Plus, nobody wants to risk upsetting someone that says, “I have a meeting with me this afternoon.”   

8. Put Sticky Notes Everywhere
Having broken out of the “reminder” market, sticky notes are now the documentation Holy Grail for unorganized people that hate making folders on their laptop and can barely plan a trip to the bathroom. But man, do they do the trick. They take up a lot of room, you can see them from a mile away, and they give people a physical sense of all the important stuff that will crumble into chaos if you’re not given the adequate space and time to do your job.  

9. Only Eat During Meetings
Meal breaks are for toddlers and people in unions. In fact, the way things are going, what you really need is a tube jammed into your esophagus that automatically pumps nutrients into your body at optimal intervals to keep you from collapsing. But since you’ve got so much on your plate, your co-workers are going to have to watch you lick a few clean during strategy pow-wows.  

10. Make it Clear that Everything Was Supposed to be Done “Yesterday”
If you weren’t working so hard, you would have built a time machine. Since that wasn’t an option, you’re exactly one day behind on everything. Which apparently is a lot. So never say something was needed “several days ago” or “last week”; for some reason using precise time references isn’t considered clever and convincing. “Yesterday” is the certified sweetspot.

11. Wear Something Backwards
The more obvious, the better. Only someone insanely busy, getting no sleep, would fail to realize that their v-neck is showing off their spine or that they have a skirt seam under their belly button. Extra points for high heels and suit jackets.   

12. Always Have Tums or Pepto Bismol on Your Desk
You’re working so hard that a pint of water gives you heartburn. And it’s a new thing; just started happening this year. Probably from all the stress.

13. Send 3 or More Emails a Week After 10pm
Here’s some corporate accounting for you: Perceived Contribution (1 Email > 10pm) = Perceived Contribution (5 Emails 2pm > 6pm). You could have waited until morning, but as far as you’re concerned, “morning” is a marketing ploy made up by Pop Tarts. You’re around the clock this holiday season and everyone should be aware of that.

14. Have a Streak of Ambiguous “Doctor’s Appointments”
Everyone has to have them and nobody ever asks why. They’re the perfect cover. If anyone asks, you’re fine – they just have to do some tests and check something out. It seems harmless but better safe than sorry, right? That should be good for 2 or 3 afternoons. 

15. Print Everything and Carry it With You
Who carries 11 pounds of paper and isn’t busy? Much like the sticky notes, people are much more likely to think you’re tied up if they can associate you with a physical volume of responsibility. If you’re just using your phone, you could be looking at photos or playing Words with Friends (it’s still cool, right?). If something is printed, it must be important. Emails, PowerPoints, PDF attachments, everything; print it all out and carry it with you everywhere. Highlighting stuff is also a strong play. 

16. Speedwalk/Run Everywhere
Every second counts when you’re this busy. Going to a meeting? Dropping by someone’s desk down the hall? Peeing? Act like you’re wearing a onesie and time trials just started for Rio 2016. And don’t be shy about shouldering people out of the way either.

17. Write on Whiteboards By Yourself
You’re so busy and in need of quick progress that normal paper and other humans just aren’t going to cut it; you need a jumbotron, a box of Sharpies, and an entire meeting room to yourself. Combine this with “I Guess So” and Sticky Notes (5 & 8) and people will act like you’re fixing the climate crisis.

18. Bring Your Mail to Work
Where do you live again? Oh, right, at the office. You’re so burnt out at work that a hydro bill gets you aroused. If only you had the time to look at it in the privacy of your other home…

19. Only Make Eye Contact If You’re Crying
Eye contact = interest. Looking at people gives them the impression that you know they exist. Unfortunately, because you’re so busy, they don’t. Unless they’re going to see you suffer, thus decreasing the odds of an attack on your productivity. Then damp, blood-shot eye-contact is key.

And a Happy Work-Shirking to all!


Want more updates on the most Notable things happening so you know before your colleagues do? Get our exclusive newsletter here and follow us on Twitter for all the latest.