10 Ways to Kill Time at Work and Get Paid for It

Hillary Clinton doodling New York Post

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You’ve probably come here looking for ways to kill time at work because you’ve got nothing to do or your productivity levels are just way too low. And the truth is that you’re not the first – or will you be the last – person to waste time at work. In fact, a 2013 study found that 24% of workers waste about an hour a day procrastinating and updating their Facebook status.

Whether you’ve just got to work, you’re in the middle of a slow day or counting the last 30 minutes before clocking off work for the day, we’re here to help with these 10 ways to kill time at work – and still get paid for it.

See also: Things to Do When You're Bored at Work

1. Shop online

Woman shopping onlineistock

Whenever your colleagues and supervisor pass outside your office, they often look in to see you busy working on that very important report or replying to client e-mails. They admire your hard work, and you’re even being considered for a promotion.

Little do they know you’re actually in the middle of a bidding war on eBay for a Hello Kitty watch.

The beauty of online shopping, especially if you have your own office or corner cubicle, is that no one really knows what you’re doing and will simply assume you’re working hard. You’ll need to cover your tracks, however, and delete your browsing history to avoid any potential awkward conversations with your boss.

2. Prank your colleagues

Gift wrap prankMashable

Before I go any further, do ensure that you are on excellent terms with your colleagues and that you share a similar (childish) sense of humor. Otherwise, things could go very, very south.

Some excellent (read evil) prank suggestions:

  • Lower or raise your office buddy’s swivel chair every time he leaves his desk.
  • Replace Autocorrect words on their unlocked smartphone – simply switch around there/their/they’re. This is especially evil when pranking a Grammar Nazi.
  • Cover their entire cubicle and belongings in tin foil or wrapping paper when they’re away on holiday. You could even redesign their cubicle with a cat theme.

3. Take a nap

Businessman napping officeshutterstock

You’ll have to be pretty crafty to pull this one off.

If you aren’t lucky enough to work at Google and have access to its now famous sleeping pods or in Japan where workplace napping is generally encouraged for the sleep-deprived, you might like to invest in a pair of Wide Awake Glasses.

If you later find yourself in a meeting with HR to discuss power napping under your desk or in the janitor’s closet, make sure to point out that napping at work has been proven to lead to better work performance. Moreover, a 2008 study found that napping is actually better than coffee when it comes to verbal memory and motor learning.

4. Hover around the water cooler

Office water cooleristock

Probably the least exciting entry on this list, but hovering around the water cooler is a great way to kill time at work. Especially if you’re stuck in your office all day without any interaction with the outside world for hours on end.

The water cooler is also the place to be to keep up with office gossip, or maybe even finally ask Lisa out for dinner. Do try to avoid being slapped in the face with a sexual harassment case, though.

5. Play games

Tug of warThe University of Texas at Dallas

I’m not talking about rowing down your office with a makeshift rowing boat made out of office chairs - even thought that would look awesome! From Cat Bounce to Rock, Paper, Scissors, there are loads of fun games to keep you busy on a dull day at work.

One of my personal favorites is Wiki Races. The objective of this multiplayer game is quite simple. You choose two completely random Wikipedia articles (let’s say Potato and Barack Obama) and need to reach the latter by clicking on the links from article to article. The fastest to reach Obama’s page wins.

6. Plan your next holiday

Heart women beachPexels

Everybody needs a break, and if you’re owed a few days’ leave, you might want to consider planning your next holiday. You could take a weekend break to Rome or maybe start planning that trip Down Under you’ve always wanted to take.

This is perfect for secretaries and PAs who are responsible for making travel arrangements for the big guys in the company. Even if you’re spotted looking at travel sites, people will just assume you’re doing research for the CEO.

7. Doodle

Hillary Clinton doodlingNew York Post

Whether you’re in a meeting or simply sitting at your desk, the benefits of doodling are threefold. One, you kill time; two, it keeps you occupied and focused (doodlers retain 29% more information than their non-doodling counterparts); and three, it increases creativity.

What’s more, doodling is a universal thing and practiced by everyone – including presidents.

8. Surf the interwebz

Woman on laptopThe Guardian

Ah, the Internet: helping people kill time since 1995. And with greater access to the World Wide Web today, it’s never been easier.

The Internet is home to millions upon millions of websites, and there’s always something for everyone from news outlets to gossip magazines and memes to – yes, Steve, even porn, you sicko.

9. Watch cat videos

Okay, so while it most definitely isn’t part of your job description (if it is, you’re one lucky bastard, and I want your job), watching cat videos at work isn’t such a bad thing after all.

If your boss catches you watching Cute Kittens Fly in Slow Motion to Hip Hop Dubstep, he can’t really get p*ssed at you. Jessica Gall Myrick from Indiana University found that watching cat videos at work increases productivity, boosts your energy levels, and even decreases negative emotions like anxiety.

I’m sure you can all guess what I’ll be doing for the rest of the day at work.

10. Take a poop

Bathroom stallsHoofprint

Whoa, whoa, whoa! Steve, Steve, STEVE! Pull your pants back up, man, and let me finish: take a poop in the restroom.

One of the best ways to kill time at work is to head toward the restroom for 10 minutes or so and take a poop. The crapper emergency is the perfect excuse to get out of yet another boring meeting about office supplies or when you can’t be bothered to reply to client e-mails. You don’t actually have to poop when you get there, but it is an added bonus to procrastinating, avoiding clients, and playing Candy Crush on your smartphone– all for the price of one! You also get to spend less on toilet paper.

The good thing is that no one can stop you from sitting on the throne. Unless, of course, management figures out what you’re doing or if you’re in the US where your employer can legally prohibit you from taking a dump.

How do you kill time at work? Let us know in the comments section below!