How to Pretend You’re Busy

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When it comes to the world of work, five days a week can become a bit of a drag. Okay, so you might be weighed down with multiple important tasks, crucial deadlines and a fire-breathing boss, but every now and then you just need to switch off and do… well, not much. It’s fundamental to a working girl boss (and by girl boss I mean any female who works for her money) to be skilled in the artistry of skiving. That is to say, pretending you’re busy when you’re absolutely not. Convincing your boss to get off your back whilst simultaneously having quite a relaxing day of nothingness. Read below how to achieve such a feat…

Tip 1 – The Walking Around Trick

For this you will need:

  • A pen
  • A sticky note
  • A document

**Only achieved in work environment with multiple rooms.

How to execute:

  1. Grab said pen, sticky note and document.
  2. Attach sticky note to document (make sure sticky note has scribbling on).
  3. Get up from desk.
  4. Announce to colleagues that you’re ‘sorting this thing out…’. Trail off at the end. Proceed to walk out of the room as you’re telling them what you’re doing. They can’t stop and/or question you then.
  5. Walk around your work environment. Pretend to be looking for someone.
  6. Stop and chat to people along the way.
  7. Return to desk.
  8. Put a tick on your sticky note.
  9. Throw sticky note away.
  10. File document.

Tip 2 – The ‘Losing Something Important’ Act

For this you will need:

  • An item to lose
  • A place to hide lost item
  • Good acting skills

How to execute:

Be it an important ink pen, a receipt or notepad with crucial info inside, it’s vital to your ‘looking busy’ pretence to have lost such an item. And by lose, I mean hide it an hour or so before your ‘crisis’. Your hiding place has critically got to be somewhere that your colleague will not look. Maybe your handbag or personal drawer!

Unless you’re an award winning actress, this endeavour may be a difficult one to pull off. Practise before hand. You’ll need to spend a lot of time looking flustered, making puzzled noises (‘errrrrm’, ‘hmmm’ ‘oh maybe it’s under here…’ – that kind of thing). Repeat for ten minutes.

Next, you should retrace your footsteps. Maybe even have a trip to see if it’s in your car. Pretend to look there for a further few minutes. Steal this moment to check your Insta and Whatsapps. After twenty, to twenty-five (if you’re feeling daring) minutes of fruitless searching, announce to everyone that you’ll ‘check your bag just in case’. With gasp – not too much though, this is where your acting rehearsals will come into their own – reveal the missing item to everyone and declare how stupid you’ve been.

And hey presto! A good thirty mins wasted… oh, is it time for lunch?! Where did the time go to?

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Tip 3 – Filing Systems

For this you will need:

  • Files (full files, not empty ones)

How to execute:

It is a truth universally acknowledged that the presence of a weighty-looking file screams ‘busy person’.

Remove an abundance of files from shelves. Open them all, if needs must, and spend your time turning the pages of said files. This could potentially fill an hour if done so correctly (i.e. slowly).

Tip 4 – Appearance

For this you will need:

  • Creative imagination
  • A taste for risk

How to execute:

What do busy people look like? Fraught. Dishevelled. Partial hair-loss. Back-to-front blouse on.

Wearing your clothes inside out, back to front is a sure fire way to look like you’re a busy person. If you want to go the extra mile then cut back on your beauty routine. Unwashed hair is the key sign that you’re a hustling femme fatale (okay, office worker…), so make sure you throw away those shampoo bottles!

Side note: don’t get too used to this way of life. A Saturday night out still calls for the utmost beauty attention. 

Next is your body language. Useful expressions and actions include:

  • Puzzled (knitted brow).
  • Distressed (crocodile tears).
  • Tired (yawn).
  • Stressed (pulling hair).

Hopefully, you’ve learnt some valuable lessons on the art of looking busy, and can execute these actions with flair. A concluding tip is not to practise too frequently, you don’t want anyone catching onto your movements (let alone COPY them for their own use)! Shhhhhh…

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What I’m Wearing


Blouse | Zara, here

Skirt | Zara, here

Boots | River Island, linked below

Earrings | old, similar linked below

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