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Get Some Air
If you just need to stretch your legs and get out of the office for a bit, offer to do a coffee run or drop off mail for your co-workers. This way, your extended break actually crowns you the office hero. Helpful hint: if you offer up a late coffee run around 4:30pm, you’re less likely to have to juggle 8 cups of Starbucks on your way back.
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The Alt Tab Magic
Learn the magic of alt-tab (or apple-tab on a Mac). This keyboard shortcut scrolls through your open windows quickly, ideal for when your boss's heels are clacking down the hallway. It's a much smoother response than reaching for the mouse to minimize a window, which can look suspicious to nosy bystanders.
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Blogs as Industry Intelligence
Staying on top of industry news is part of your job, but who says you need to limit your reading to fusty trade papers? Bookmark the snarky blogs that cater to your industry (for New York media, try Gawker.com; Wall Street warriors check out Dealbreaker.com). If you get busted "wasting time on the Internet", feign shock, and explain your web-based research methods.
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A messy desk screams "busy bee" to anyone in your workspace. Keep piles of paper, old newspapers, and errant office supplies lying around to maintain the idea that you're important and always busy. People will see the mess and feel bad about giving you any extra work to do.
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If you're the kind of person who finds it impossible to arrive on time, try the coffee-and-muffin trick. Before you leave at night, keep your computer on and put a cup of coffee and a half-eaten muffin at your desk. You'll beat even the earliest bird in.
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