Professionals Share Their Best Ways To 'Look Busy' When They're Avoiding Work

Work can often be monotonous and tear inducing. Sometimes there is simply nothing to do. But when others are around you got to keep yourself looking like you're earning your keep. Even when we are busy and have much to do you can once and awhile find yourself staring off into the yonder. Then you're almost caught and have to cover. Oh the joys of adulting in the office.

Redditor u/ScheetyWok wanted to hear some interesting ways to stay "busy" when trying to not work by asking.... Office workers of Reddit, what's your go-to activity to "look busy" when you have no work to do?



Just look frustrated with whatever you're doing.

Squint at your computer screen, shake your head, let out an occasional sigh, have a bunch of papers on your desk you can rifle through periodically.

You don't want to look so frustrated that you might need some help, but if you do this right everybody will think you're already too busy with something to be bothered. J-Dizzle42


I'm a cleaner/janitor in a warehouse complex.

I just grab a broom or a bucket.

Can walk laps of the place for hours without doing anything if I want. Oh, I can clock up those steps believe that.

Wore my girlfriends Fitbit one day... we were curious to see how for I'd go in a day.

10 hour shift I walked over 30 kilometers. 82recluse82

Filing the Brow....

I just read interesting stuff online and if someone walks back or looks at me I furrow my brow and maybe pull on the hair of my beard by my chin. And always have a reason if someone asks what's up - "Oh, I need this file in AI to send over and they only have the JPG..." even if it's a problem you solved earlier, as long as it's real it'll do. Administrative-Koala

View Source....

My coworkers don't really know computers like I do, and since my job is 90% on the computer, I just load up 3 or 4 explorer windows over a random Excel spreadsheet, and stare intently at it. GrilledStuffedDragon

  1. Right click on random webpage
  2. "View source"
  3. Stare intently at JavaScript NebXan



Reviewing. Going over work you did for the day "just to make sure I did everything right". Vyzantinist

Find the good clean remote restroom and use it.

If you work in a big enough building, you just put something important looking in one hand (papers, a clipboard works perfectly, etc) and scurry intensely from one random place to the next. Make friends in different areas, stop to chat briefly. Find the good clean remote restroom and use it. Grab a cup of coffee. Help somebody else with work that's more interesting than yours, etc. Rinse, repeat.

As long as you're holding something official looking (change it up) and hurrying semi-urgently from place to place you can go like this right up to your yearly review. Hopefully you managed to get some actual amazing stuff done here and there along the way. Congenital0ptimist


This was over thirty years ago, but a coworker and me used to delete one important file from a test UNIX server then see how long it took the other to fix it. That was a great way to learn. PreviousResponse

Netflix uses chaos monkey, it's a script with full super user permissions that can randomly terminate any process on any live server at any time. If their systems can't cope with the damage done, and their tech support can't get it back up fast enough they consider the system to be faulty and in need of improvements. Fenrir101

Click Away....

talk to strangers on reddit. WhenAllElseFail

I work on a Mac, with reddit dark mode I just have a corner peeking out behind my main window and if the boss walks in I click away to my work window. We work in a call center, when there's no one calling it gets boring, fast. MarkStonesHair

Ready Player One.

Find something to read that they can't tell isn't work if they don't look close. Like did you know the script of the Truman show is online somewhere? That was a fun day. Jenslosingit

I read Ready Player One like this.

Part of my job was just being up to date on research and best practice. So I'd have a pdf of a work-related journal article up and another pdf of Ready Player One. I only had to tab to the journal once. brad-corp

Shuffle a bit.


When you look annoyed all the time, people think you're busy. BlinkRogue1

I have a co-worker who is always late... when they get into the office they just slam things around and shuffle papers and staple things and slam stapler down onto the desk. I guess they think if they make noise it looks like they came in and jumped right into work and are very busy! mrsh529


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