We asked our regular contributors through e-mail What’s the best way to pass the time at a boring desk job? We got many interesting responses. Here are some of them. We have just copied and pasted their responses, not editing them in any way.
1. Teach yourself to do crazy stuff in Excel!
I taught myself how to do crazy stuff in Excel. My last job was in purchasing and we used a lot of spreadsheets. I started out learning formulas to do things quicker. Then I moved to more in-depth formulas like VLOOKUP, then INDEX-MATCH. I would just look at a process that I was doing in Excel, wonder if it could be done quicker or automatically, then Google how to do it. Eventually, this leads to automating things in Excel using VBA. I have literally no background in technology but it wasn’t hard to figure out! Before I left that job, I had multiple reports in Excel that would open themselves up at scheduled points in the day, update themselves, then email themselves to the correct people.
I’m an attorney now, but I run my day through a schedule I made in Excel. It has all my cases and times/dates. It has a data entry form that I can use to quickly update the schedule or add to it. If I click on the cell with the opposing counsel’s name, it brings up their full contact info plus an option to draft an email to them. The email auto fills the subject line with the case number and defendant’s name, automatically has my signature, and starts the email off with “(Attorney Name),”.
When I add a new case, the schedule creates a new folder for it in a designated location and auto-fills that folder with templates of Word documents that I use for notes and trial prep. If I click on the cell with the next hearing’s date, it pulls up a little calendar with that date circled and tells me how many work days I have to prepare.
It also tracks how my cases are resolved. The goal is to be able to click a button and get a report that breaks down cases by the outcome, judge, opposing attorney, and crime. Then I can use it to look for places I need improvement.
2. Stare at the wall and think about all the places you went wrong in your life.
3. Eavesdropping. See how far can you listen, when you focus.
4. I drink a lot of water. I walk to the water cooler constantly and to the bathroom just as often. The best part – it’s good for you!
5. Read. I had a very boring job about 7 years ago, where I got my entire day’s worth of work done in the first hour. So I downloaded the Kindle app for PC and read the entire Song of Ice and Fire series. Easy to click out of if someone comes up to you, and doesn’t really look like anything but a PDF of the text.
6. I used to write at work a lot.
7. I’m a software developer, but I’m pretty fresh to the industry so my company doesn’t throw me a whole lot of work just yet. I’ve been learning to do some graphic design stuff on the side with the software that comes on my work computer.
sh*t, I actually stayed like 2 hours late last night because I was too deep into the stuff I was making.
8. You could start a romance with the office receptionist.
9. Reading articles on kickassfacts.com
10. You can only do this once in a while, but when you need a break for a bit you could use http://fakeupdate.net/ to throw up a fake update screen.
That’s an excuse to do some other stuff like be on your phone or whatever.
Just seriously don’t overdo it.