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All summer long, I’ve been grinding away at an internship in sunny Miami. By “grinding,” I mean begging for tasks and spending a lot of my time surfing PGP and ESPN.com. Yes, it is an internship. No, it is not paid. Needless to say, it hasn’t been super demanding and I’ve gotten to take a lot of three and four-day weekends just for the fun of it. I know, what a rough existence I lead. But these 7-hour days at work with nothing to do? Brutal. Here’s a list of things you could be doing at work when there’s no work to be done.
1. Stalk your own social media.
This is a really fun one for me. I like to go stalk my own Twitter and Instagram, and pretend that I am a stranger seeing it for the first time. Maybe this is only enjoyable for me because I think I am one of the funniest people to walk planet earth, but it’s worth a try on a slow Monday. I even went through my Instagram last week and deleted about 80% of my horrifically embarrassing posts from 2012 to now. I’m trying to curate my online aesthetic. Worth it.
2. Plan your next vacation.
This could go one of two ways. You could either legitimately plan out a real vacation for yourself, maintaining and staying within a realistic budget, and surfing Pinterest for ideas. Or – you could plan out a fantasy vacation to the French Riviera that you will never be able to afford, even if you get promoted every year and never buy alcohol at a bar again. Both are a fun way to waste the day.
3. Fill up an online shopping cart with everything you want and then delete it.
This is one of my personal favorites. My iPhone is chock-full of shopping apps. There is literally a dedicated folder on my second-page called “Shopping.” Sometimes I log into these apps, and just go crazy. I’ll add every single thing I like to my shopping cart. When I’m done, I go look at my total and laugh at the fact that it is $4,000+. Then I delete it all and go about my day, having wasted a whole hour on a pipe dream. Word to the wise: don’t save your card information to these apps. It makes purchasing way too easy.
4. Yelp new restaurants in your city.
When people ask me about my hobbies, sometimes it takes me a minute to come up with a good answer that is socially acceptable. Honestly, I like to try new restaurants or bars, like, every weekend. Sometimes I even go by myself! I look up articles (CultureMap is a good source) and reviews written on restaurants and bars in my area, and then I spend hours reading and looking at customer-photos on Instagram and Yelp. I even have a running list on the Notes in my phone of places I’d like to go.
5. Get up from your desk, go use the restroom, get coffee from the break room.
Unlike many other tasks in this list, this one actually involves physically moving. Don’t overdo it! But if you need to remove your rear from your uncomfortable desk-chair and a shot of caffeine at 2 p.m. like I usually do, this is a good way to get a little face time in the office and not fall unconscious in front of your double monitors.
6. Read about sports.*
Want to know a good way to connect with other people in your office? Sports. I’ve been working in an athletic department all summer, and it’s actually encouraged that we sit around and read about the latest happenings in professional sports. To no one’s surprise, I work in a very male-dominated office. Usually when I drop a line like, “Where do you guys think Kyrie is gonna end up?” the end result is that half the office is yelling and arguing about why the Spurs should or should not be his next stop.
*Disclaimer: This only works when you actually enjoy talking to your coworkers.
7. Rearrange and clean up your inbox and desktop.
I spend a lot of time scrolling through my inbox and sent folders. I delete things, move things into other, smaller folders. I change the settings on my Outlook account constantly. I change my desktop image at least once a week. You gotta keep your environment fresh, people. Clear eyes, full hearts, can’t lose.
8. Apply for other jobs.
Do this one at your own risk. I cannot guarantee that Bill from Human Resources isn’t going to come creeping over your shoulder while he walks on down to the water-cooler to refresh his Swell and see you on Monster or LinkedIn. I’ve been able to do it because I am but a lowly, unpaid intern. The sad truth of it is that I’m only applying for more lowly, unpaid intern positions for next summer. Nobody cares what I’m doing. If I didn’t have a name-tag and a designated seat, I could probably wander about for 7 hours a day and no one would miss me.
9. Search Groupon or other discount-sites for coupons for shit you don’t need.
I just got an oil-change at the Jiffy Lube yesterday for a mere $20. That shit is usually fifty bucks! I found this delicious little coupon on the magical app that is called Groupon. Now, be careful, folks. Because Groupon will have you convinced that you need to go on a zip-lining adventure in the next town over for only $75, which is 63% off. What a deal. Word to the wise, don’t tell them you have a Groupon until the end of your service. If you tell them up front, they might think you’re a cheap asshole and treat you as such.
10. Print useless documents and walk through the office with purpose.
This is usually my last resort, because it is a risky choice. Though I definitely look like I’m doing something productive, I run the risk of actually being asked to do work of some sort on my quick and useless quest to the printer and back. Only do this if you have exhausted all of your other options or if you know you won’t run into your supervisor on the way to the copier!
Have a great week, I hope you all find some “work” to do. .