It’s no secret that being productive is in vogue, but what happens when you want to kill those final few hours before the weekend?
Research by Salary.com suggests nearly half of all office workers waste time on a Friday, with most time wasted between 3pm and 5pm. Sadly, time wasting is not as simple as loading up your favourite PC game, slinging a few unnecessarily frustrated birds at various obstacles, or logging into a social network to chat about what film to see that night. Bosses lurk around every corner, ready to punish and humiliate those of us who dare glance away from that oh-so-important spreadsheet for more than a few seconds.
Work-based procrastination has become an art form. Here we offer a few subtle subtle and fun games to help you feel like that minute hand is moving round the clock-face just a little faster.
The premise is simple enough – pick two Wikipedia pages that are in no way related to each other (for example, David Beckham and The Battle of Waterloo), and try to get from one to the other as quickly as possible. If you’re stuck for ideas, the site’s ‘Article of the Day’ or ‘Random Article’ button can easily help you out.
This discreet and informative multiplayer game only has two simple rules; firstly, you can only click links within Wikipedia articles themselves (i.e., not ‘All Pages’, ‘Navigation’ the browser’s ‘Back’ button, or other workarounds), and secondly, use of the keyboard is strictly forbidden.
The game has two basic strategies – the ‘gate’ strategy and the ‘background’ strategy. When using the gate strategy the player aims to get to an article with a wide range of additional links within it (for example ‘United States of America’ or ‘Europe’), whereas the background method requires the player to have some knowledge of the article they are looking for in order to find relevant links.
CantYouSeeImBusy.com styles itself as a website that lets you have fun without losing your corporate credibility.
The site hosts a number of games which are loosely based on early arcade titles – but its trick is to disguise them all as Microsoft Word and Excel documents. Designed around everyday office activities such as managing budgets, creating charts, and organising diaries, its most popular titles include ‘Breakdown’, ‘Crash Planning’, and ‘Leadership’. These require players to fulfil tasks such as erasing text, matching planning blocks and navigating a spaceship through a graph.
Launched by four Dutch men in 2009, the site is now so popular that its onscreen counter predicts that it has cost the world economy more that €24,000,000!
Another work-safe time waster – Excit is a game about solving puzzles on spreadsheets.
With the goal of getting a cross on to the green square as quickly as possible, each level of gets progressively more challenging and time consuming. Sadly the game only has thirty levels, but even so it should take you more than an hour to complete them all.
The game has a large cult following, and there is even a complete walkthrough if you’re stuck on a certain level.
Whilst it doesn’t pretend to be a spreadsheet or text document, Pulsus is discreet enough not to attract attention from your boss.
Particularly appealing to lovers of science, the game’s objective is to force and push different particles to their goal by using different objects. The game has two modes – ‘Normal’ and ‘Casual’. The prior uses a finite supply of particles which means players must act fast to divert them before the emitter runs dry. The Casual mode gives you an unlimited supply of particles, but is only enabled for levels you’ve already completed in normal mode.
If you want to keep playing outside the office, you can also find the game on the Apple App Store.
The game is based on the book ‘Maze’ by Christopher Manson, and its website claims it is the world’s most challenging puzzle. Although that may be a bit far-fetched, the game is a sure-fire way to waste away a couple of hours.
Reminiscent of the old text adventure DOS games, The Maze’s players need to interpret clues and unlock rooms to find their way out in the shortest route possible. Several of the clues are ripe for misinterpretation, meaning you’ll get plenty of enjoyment from unravelling its ambiguities, mysteries, and riddles.
A game that is designed around typing speed sounds boring, right? It’s not boring when you’re competing against other users from around the world.
TypeRacer requires you to type as quickly and accurately as possible, moving your car across the screen as the same time as your opponents. As well as the prestige of winning the race, you’ll also be given statistics about your performance, including your top typing speed and frequency of errors.
And if your boss catches you? You’re undergoing classes to improve your typing skills, obviously.
Go Forth and Waste Time!
Of course there are lots of time-wasting websites and games, but hopefully these insights will entertain you through those last few hours of the working week.
Do you have any tips for your fellow office workers? Did we miss of your go-to procrastination tool? Let us know in the comments below.
Image Credits: Dave Fayram Via Flickr