Five Tips To Appear Productive At Work When, In Reality, You’re Not Doing A Damn Thing

Five Tips to Appear Productive At Work When, In Reality, You're Not Doing A Damn Thing

Everywhere you look on the internet, people are giving unsolicited, poorly researched, and often, plain bad advice. There’s “life hacks” for exercising, dieting, dating, making friends, and my personal favorite, increasing work productivity. Most of these tips are so obvious only an idiot could learn anything from them, and for some strange reason “drink more water” is on every single list. Apparently, if everyone just drank eight glasses of water a day, we’d all have super model wives, drive Ferraris, and deadlift 800 pounds. However, despite the millions of tips cluttering the internet, I found that none of them help with the real issue at hand; how to appear to be productive at work. Actually being productive doesn’t help anyone. People get hired and fired on how busy they look and act, not their actual contributions to the company. But fear not, slackers, I’ve made some tips just for you.

1. Power walk everywhere.
It doesn’t matter if you’re going to take a shit, get your seventh glass of water of the day (gotta stay hydrated), or literally just taking a lap around the office. People who get shit done move fast, ergo, people who move fast get shit done. Your coworkers will assume you’re absolutely cranking out work, and your bosses will look at you with awe. If paper doesn’t fly off desks in your wake, you’re not moving nearly fast enough. Don’t worry about slowing down for blind corners, either. Coffee stains and bruised knees are the scars that true office warriors wear with pride. As a bonus, the faster you walk, the harder it is for people to give you more assignments, “Ask you for help on something” or, God forbid, just make conversation with you. The last thing you want is for people to realize you don’t actually have any work on your plate.

2. Send out one (1) bullshit email before and after hours.
In this modern work landscape, work-life balance is a myth. You’re expected to always be connected, and always be on call. The person with the least life outside the office is the guy your bosses want to promote, and that person needs to (appear to) be you. All you have to do to brand yourself as the “always on” employee is to send out any manner of communication before and after hours. It can be something unnecessary like a “got it, thanks!” reply all, or something inane like suggesting “work culture” meetings once a month to better streamline the company. No one’s going to actually do that, of course, but you’ll start getting seen as the idea man. You can fire these out right when you wake up, at happy hour, or if you have a preset dumb email, just set it on a timer to go off when normal people are eating dinner and watching documentaries on Netflix.

3. Always be taking notes.
We can all agree that meetings are the enemy of getting work done, but for some reason, bosses fucking love them. They love nothing more than to cram all their employees, whom they are paying to do work, in a room where they can’t do said work, and talking their ear off about something that could easily be summarized and put in an email. To combat that, you have to beat them at their own game. They think their words are the most important things to ever exist, so you have to show you agree. At no point in any meeting should you not be alternating between frantically scribbling in your notebook, nodding aggressively and with too much eye contact, or asking the dumbest question possible. Your notes don’t even have to be real. My notebook is filled with the lyrics to Eminem’s Rap God, and my bosses think I’m actually listening.

4. Keep your desk looking like a landfill.
You know who have clean desks? People not doing any fucking work. Why do you think CEO’s desk is always spotless? Your goal is to make your desk look like one of those crazed, under budget engineers that keep the entire company running. Papers, manuals, broken pencils (even though no one has used a pencil since 1998) are all the name of the game. You should also have between 3-9 coffee cups littering your desk at any given moment. Mugs, Starbucks cups, Styrofoam are all necessary. Closers drink coffee, and you need to let people know exactly how much coffee you drink. If you need an example, take a look at the average IT person’s desk. Their shit looks like a fucking dumpster, and they never get bothered by management.

5. Direct all work to your coworkers.
It’s a common misconception that accepting a lot of work is what gets you in the boss’s good graces. This is false. Your boss barely remembers your name, let alone what’s on your plate. To stand out, you need to be the employee that tells him no. Next time you’re approached with an assignment, answer with, “I wish I could, but this (made up name) project is going to have me working through the night, and I wouldn’t want to give anything less than my very best. I’m pretty sure (name of your least favorite coworker) has a light load right now though, and he’d be perfect for this assignment.” Not only does this let your boss think that you’re working your ass off and your coworker isn’t, you’ve now shown him that you can delegate work. That’s the stuff that gets upper management all horned up, and you can bet the phrase “result-oriented” gets thrown around at your next review.

If you’re still reading this at your desk and not on your laptop as you sprint from one end of your office to the other, you’ve learned nothing. Your coworkers are going to hate you, but if you follow these tips you’ll be promoted within the quarter.

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Nick Arcadia

The opposite of a life coach. Email me if you want some bad advice:

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