Let’s face it, there are times when we need to take a break from work. The article title may sound devious but don’t get me wrong, I’m not advising you to be a bum at work. No, that’s not the point.
Everyone’s different and we have our very own limits — there are just so many hours of work we can do a day until we reach a point when productivity is shot to hell. That’s where these tips come in. They will buy you some personal time. Time to recollect, reorganize your thoughts and re-energize yourself before attempting to take on more work.
Disclaimer: Admittedly, these “tips” are basically lies. White lies, if that makes you feel any better. So, remember that they are for — to buy you some personal time, not to escape working altogether. Use them wisely and don’t get caught. I’ll deny everything.
Tip #1: Reply Emails From Your iPhone
The iPhone has a great (not to mention unmistakeable) default email signature, “Sent from my iPhone.”
Take away the “glamour” of bragging to everyone that you own an iPhone, the signature itself is actually a very convincing statement that you’re on the move and out of your office.
The boss emails:
Richard, I need you to draft a proposal of Project X by noon today.
I’m afraid that’s impossible, I’m with a client until 4pm.
Sent from my iPhone.
If it works out, your boss will have no choice but to accept the fact that you’re currently engaged with a client. Hopefully, the work will be delegated to someone else. Not to mention, the boss will be pleased that you actually took the time to check and reply to the important emails promptly even while you’re with a client.
Other ideas include blaming power failures and computer issues to extend project deadlines.
Your email to the team/project leader:
The power suddenly cut while we were working on Project X. We’re relying on generators but it won’t last very long. I’ll send you the final draft as soon as the power returns.
Sent from my iPhone.
Convincing? Let’s hope so. Use your imagination and come up with original excuses. Power cuts and computer issues aren’t going to last forever. And no, you don’t actually need to have an iPhone — sometimes, just adding the signature is enough to fool most people.
Tip #2: Fake A Call
Have you ever been stuck in a dreadfully boring meeting which you have absolutely no involvement in? You don’t need to be there, yet you should to keep up appearances or perhaps formality dictates that you should be present. Precious time is being wasted while work anxiously awaits at your desk. Fake calls are the perfect way to get you out.
Download Fake Caller from Hot Potato [iTunes link] and install it on your iPhone.
Launch the app and tap on Settings. Set the wallpaper to match your existing one, then choose a suitable caller image. Set the caller name to someone credible, choose from the Address Book or set it to “Unknown”. Choose a loud and obnoxious ringtone — I went with Old Phone and blasted that bugger. When you’re done, click on the Back button.
Here’s where a little planning comes in. Decide how long you want to wait until your phone goes off. I suggest setting the time delay to 1 minute so that your colleagues won’t remember that you were playing with your iPhone before it rang. When you’re ready to pull off the fake call, press the button. You’ll be presented with a fake home screen — don’t lock your iPhone or the screen won’t light up when the call comes.
Alright, place your phone somewhere and wait for it to go off. When it does, add some drama, search for it frantically and pretend to be apologetic. When you answer the call, there isn’t anyone on the other end but the call timer does appear. Look around the room as though to say, “Sorry, I have to take this.” Collect your things and leave.
No one will stop you. On the contrary, they’ll be glad that you left so that they may get on with the meeting. Your supervisors wouldn’t ask you why you left — they know you got a call that seemed important. Inform them that you didn’t return because you couldn’t bear interrupting the meeting a second time.
Mission accomplished. You left the meeting. Do it early so that you’ll have more free time for yourself.
Like I mentioned previously, these tips only buy you a some time to take a break. You can’t expect to keep interrupting meetings or postpone project deadlines forever. If you really can’t handle your work load, talk to your supervisor.
How do you get out of boring meetings or slip away when the job is getting on your nerves? I’m sure that there are a lot of great ideas out there, please do share with us!