Excerpt From “An Idiot’s Guide to Slacking Off”

View of the author’s work station at his place of employment, 2016.

[Chapter 2] Knowledge Is Power

Now that we’ve identified the type and amount of slacking that you want to do, it’s time to do a little research. Your next step in this process will be to gather all of the information you can about the location in which you wish to slack. I know, I know, research is time-consuming and on a long enough timeline, ends up being boring no matter how enthrawling the subject. But trust me, getting it all out of the way now so you can be as prepared as possible.

Okay, let’s say for starters that it’s Monday. You’ve had a fantastic weekend and you’re just not ready to head back to that 9 to 5. But your vacation days are precious and not to be used recklessly. What do you do? Easy: slack at the office! Easier said than done, right? Not anymore, not for you, not while you have this book in your hands!

Your Work Area

Start with your specific work space. ARe you stuffed into a cub or is your desk part of an open floor plan? Are you and your coworkers cramped into a smaller space or is there a lot of room? knowing these simple facts will let you know what you can get away with.

  1. Office

Obviously, if you have your own office, then you are sitting on some solid gold real estate. An enclosed space with only one doorway means that nobody can sneak up on you. Slack away with one eye on the entrance and you are pretty sure to remain undeteced for your entire work day. It can be a little tricky if you have a roommate (see Chapter 5, “Common Office Personalities and How To Stay Under Their Radar for more in-depth information on this topic), but you will have an exponentially easier time keeping your slacking incognito than the readers who find themselves in the next few categories.

2. Cubicle

This is the habitat that the majority of readers will more than likely find themselves. This space still has the major advantage of the office but has quite a few drawbacks. The paradise of a single entrance into and out of your area is tarnished by the fact that, more than likely, said entrance will be to your back. Couple this with a closer vicinity to your coworker population and you will quickly find that getting your slack on is much easier said than done. In any other time period, these subtle setbacks might be a significant obstacle. Luckily the innovators of the 21st century are on your side! Lots of people far away with an exuberant amount of wealth spent endless work-hours and resources to bring technology into smaller and smaller forms. These fancy gadgets and gizmos will help keep your activities low-key and, by extension, your chance of detection minimal. For example: listen to music with headphones instead of those decade-old company speakers to get into a work rhythm without disturbing your neighbors. Surf social medial websites via phone or smartwatch instead of on your PC monitor — that way, passerby won’t be able to get any chance glances at any illicit activities. BE DISCREET.

3. Open Desk

In recent years, many managers and entrepreneurs have moved away from the stuffy and stigmatized cubicle farms in favor of an open floor plan. While the differences can be specific, the main point of contrast in this case is a lack of walls around your space. An enclosed are has been statistically proven to be counterproductive to slacking. A survey study conducted at local American businesses in 2014 indicated that offices with open floor plans had a 25 to 38% lower PSL (Procrastination/Slacking Level) than surveyed work areas without an open floor plan. In this instance the plan of attack is the same, but with so many fleeting eyes, the detection levels are going to be at an all time high. Stay low and stay alert: keep one earphone out when listening to music at your desk. If surfing the web on your phone at your desk, keep said phone in your lap at all times.

After you observe and catch a rhythm for how things go in your work space, it is time to widen your point of view to include your entire place of work. After all, work is not only just your desk. It’s the floor that your desk is on, as well! Work is the hallway to your office floor, the elevator, the garage door staircase, the bathroom, the fire escapes and the ceiling access. All of these places are available to you, but how do you know they are are proper locations for slacking? Take a walk around your office during normal office hour. Take note of where your workday takes you, what you see and what you don’t see as you travel to common areas of interest like the water cooler, the bathroom and the lounge (if any). Test doors away from your office space to find disused or abandoned areas. These can be utilized for the much needed break(s) throughout the day. Make a list of bathrooms in the building that see high amounts of foot traffic and ones that do not. Is there a route through your floor that allows for lower visibility? Utilize camouflage (as illustrated in the section titled “Useful Tools” in Chapter 1).

These are only some of the scenarios you will find yourself in on the job. But what if you decide that you would like to do your procrastination outside the office for a change? Here are a couple more tips to follow up.

I felt that this was a healthy place to end a one-off. The writing prompt was, “write a beginner’s guide to getting out of work”. This prompt shared a page with the last one, but I wanted to come at it from a different angle. What’s written above is a result.

It seems ridiculous at first but once I really started to think about it, successfully and repeatedly shirking off responsibilities in the office could end up being a lot of, well, work. Do you have a special strategy for procrastinating on the clock? Lemme know in the comments and, as always, thanks for taking the time to read!

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