How to Waste Time at Work and Still Get Sh*t Done

"Work, work, work, work, work, work." —not you

Office Workers
(Image credit: Future)

Take it from someone with poor impulse control whose job is dicking around on the internet all day: I get sidetracked. Like waking-up-from-a-nap-and-not-knowing-what-century-it-is sidetracked. But through trial and error and a lot of time spent playing catch-up, I am close to cracking the code of work-Hypebeast balance. Follow along as I enrage and stun the scientific community by publishing my findings here using a lot of metaphors involving alcohol and drugs. 

Don't mix your funs. 

Technically, "beer before liquor" as it applies to booze has been debunked, but it still stands when it comes to wasting time at your job. Taking a Wikipedia deep-dive into unsolved murder cases, then shooting the bull with a coworker, *then* checking your iMessages will leave you sicker than a tequila/Bourdeaux/scotch night. Pick your poison—videos of dogs getting blowouts would be an excellent choice—and stick with it. Or better yet, decide that some repetitive, menial task like doing your expenses is amusing, and get your kicks doing that.

Run a cost-benefit analysis.

On the subject of deciding what to do with your free time (HAHA), some activities are clearly superior. Answering your email: good. Talking to someone IRL: good. Taking a 3-hour lunch (with just as many martinis consumed): so bad. The main variables you want to consider are "Will I feel better/ready to resume work after this?" and "Will this derail the rest of my day?" 

Do no harm.

Taking a break to trip on some 🔥 music is fine and actually healthy mainly because of the guilt it soon induces, but if you know that a certain kind of diversion will send you into a downward spiral that ends with you sitting glassy-eyed in front of your darkened computer screen hours later, do not pass go. Alternatively, this one also applies to distracting others—it's one thing to "adjust" your own productivity, but interrupting your colleagues' work = not cool. 

Just keep swimming.

No one can go full-throttle Forrest Gump 24/7, but as long as you keep paddling, one thing at a time, that will be enough. Hint: closing any extraneous tabs and windows helps tremendously—even that one you're kind of scared to X out of. #bookmarklyfe

F*ck it.

If you have absolutely zero will to go on left and your brain's about to leak out of your nostrils, switch off and rely on your instinct—it's possible some of your greatest, most creative stuff could happen when you DGAF. (That's what I'm doing right now, shhhh.) Make sure to check for typos after, though. And when you are really, really unable to function, go home. It's better that way. 

Follow Marie Claire on Instagram for the latest celeb news, pretty pics, funny stuff, and an insider POV.

Chelsea Peng
Assistant Editor

Chelsea Peng is a writer and editor who was formerly the assistant editor at She's also worked for The Strategist and Refinery29, and is a graduate of Northwestern University. On her tombstone, she would like a GIF of herself that's better than the one that already exists on the Internet and a free fro-yo machine. Besides frozen dairy products, she's into pirates, carbs, Balzac, and snacking so hard she has to go lie down.