Things You Can Do To Pass Time At Work Fast (Secrets Your Boss Will Hate)

How to Kill Time at Work

Two Methods:

Downtime is unavoidable in many jobs, but even if you genuinely have nothing to do, your boss probably won't be happy to find you entertaining yourself. Be stealthy, or spend your time doing productive tasks that are less mind-numbing than waiting for a customer or an email.


Entertaining Time-Wasting

  1. Text a friend.Have a conversation with an unemployed friend, or one with a similarly boring job. Turn the volume on your phone off first, and be subtle. Don't stare at your phone endlessly, or your time-wasting will be obvious.
  2. Keep your computer activities hidden.Turn your screen away from doors and windows if possible, and mute both the computer and the game. Take some time to make your activities extra-hidden if someone does come in.
    • Hide your Start Bar or Dock. Right-click (or command-click) this and turn Hiding on, so no one can see what you have open.
    • Learn the hotkeys for closing tabs, minimizing them, or switching to another program. To switch programs, try on Windows or on a Mac. Don't play games in full screen mode, as these may fail to minimize.
    • If you're extra nervous about getting caught, take a look at for camouflaging your social media sites or anonymizing your internet activity.
  3. Entertain yourself online.Visit an online game site like Kongregate, an art gallery like DeviantArt, or search for more specialized sites. It looks like you've found a site called wikiHow… perhaps the will have a few interesting links.
    • This one can be dangerous, especially if your computer screen is visible to coworkers or anyone who walks into the room. Some companies even monitor their employees' internet usage.
    • For more "official" looking entertainment, measure your typing speed online and try to improve your Words Per Minute.
  4. Doodle.Grab a pencil or pen and make a simple drawing of anything that comes to mind. If you have artistic talent, put time into a sketch as a present for a friend.
  5. Find entertaining apps.If you're tired of phone games, educate yourself with a trivia app, or compare different organizational apps. Keep your phone muted and underneath your desk, or near a stack of papers or folder you can pull over the screen.
  6. Read a book.If your job has a lot of downtime, some employers will let you read to pass the time. If you need to be discreet about, bring a small paperback you can stuff into a drawer or coat pocket. Ebooks are another option, and there are many available for free online or in app stores.
  7. Invent games with a coworker.If you have a friend in your workplace also trying to kill time, make it more interesting with a silly competition. See who can throw paper into the trash can from furthest away, or who can slip more ridiculous words into conversations without anyone noticing. Here are a few more ideas you can turn into a regular competition throughout the work week:
    • Attach a binder clip to someone's clothing without her noticing. If you succeed, she has to pass the clip on to someone else.
    • Play "Photo Assassin:" randomly assign each person another player as a target. When you take a photograph of your target's face, he loses the game and you take over the target he was assigned.
    • If your workplace has office chairs, compete to see who can complete the workday without touching the office floor.
  8. Learn origami.If you have alotof spare time, origami is a hobby that takes dozens of hours to master and doesn't require much space. Start with a beginner origami book or online guide. Stiff, square paper is best, but you can cut your own squares out of regular office paper if you want to make your creations less obvious.

Productive Time-Wasting

  1. Try to make work fun.If work feels like the last thing you want to do, try to change your approach. Try to have more conversations with your coworkers, or get to know them outside the office to create a warmer work atmosphere. Motivate yourself to finish your work by giving yourself a reward at the end of each hour, such as a snack or a five minute break.
  2. Offer to help a coworker.Wander around and ask your coworkers whether they need any help. Take them at face value if they decline; interrupting their work with frequent offers of help is counter-productive.
  3. Organize your work email.Go through all your unread emails until you've replied to as many as you can. Once that's done, use your mail system's "folder" or "label" system to organize your mail. You could divide your mail by "reply by" date (today, this week, or this month), by project, or by type (announcements, reference documents, and personal).
  4. Research work-related topics.Your boss may find it hard to fault you for spending time at work becoming better at your job. Read blogs or studies related to your field online, or bring a book on the topic to study during your downtime.
  5. Make a homemade calendar.You can make a homemade calendar using printer paper, or cardstock paper if it's available at your workplace. This task can take as much time as you need it to, from a quick stapling job to a hole-punched work bound with twine. Once you've cut the pages, use a straight edge to draw six vertical lines, dividing the pages into seven days. Draw four horizontal lines to divide these into five rows, and you'll end up with enough squares to represent a month. Copy an online calendar to label the days, to avoid making mistakes.
    • If you have more downtime, color code each month, and write in holidays and your family's birthdays for a year in advance.
    • If you don't want to cut and construct a calendar yourself, turn an old notebook into a daily planner, with two to three days on each page.
  6. Search for a new job.True, this is high on the list of activities you don't want to be caught doing at work. But if you've made it to the end of this guide, it could be time to search for more stimulating opportunities.

Community Q&A

  • Question
    What can I do to waste time while at work? I'm a security guard who sits in a car for 12 hours watching a gate.
    wikiHow Contributor
    Community Answer
    If you need to keep your eyes on the gate, listen to podcasts or invest in Audible so you can listen to books.
  • Question
    I know how to kill one hour, just read this over and over again. Do you think that is a good idea?
    wikiHow Contributor
    Community Answer
    No, you will get really bored, but to waste some time you can read random articles on here that may interest you.
Ask a Question
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  • Do homework if you have it.
  • If you have work you need to get done and are having trouble finding motivation, try cycling between several tasks, spending fifteen minutes on each one in turn. Schedule a five minute break every 30 or 60 minutes to refresh yourself.
  • Search for software like ZHider or ClickyGone, so you can quickly hide non-work-related programs.
  • Play with office supplies if you're stuck in a cubicle. Make rubber band balls, paper clip chains, slingshots, and binder clip balls.


  • If your manager discovers you killing time on their money, you could lose your job.

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