Get back to work lazy!

May 20, 2011 · 34 comments

If you are reading this, I’m 95% confident you are probably at work. Do you know what that means? It means you aren’t actually “working”, unless of course your boss pays you to read my blog, which would mean you have to the coolest job in the world… right?

I’ve been talking with a bunch of friends recently about how productive they are during their work day. Some of them work solid 10 hour days, every day, even though they only get paid for 8, but the LARGE majority of them confessed to only being productive 2-4 hours a day.

I had a job in college as a ‘building manager’. It essentially meant I got paid to sit behind a desk in a large campus building and answer questions that students had. My shifts usually lasted 4 to 6 hours and I maybe put in a solid 30 minutes of work each time. It got really bad when I worked the late shift (6pm to 11pm). No one would go to the building I worked in at night, so after 5pm it was a ghost town. Sometimes, I would just leave a note that said “If you need help please call…”. I’d leave my cell phone number and then go visit friends in the dorms or go back to my place and watch TV. It was either get paid to sit behind a desk in solitude, or get paid to watch TV in my apartment. The choice wasn’t a difficult one.

Was this unethical? Perhaps, but let’s be real, not even YOU work 100% of the hours you are paid for. I realize some jobs (physician, waiter, etc) don’t really allow slacking off, but for most, I’m assuming you spend a good chunk of your time surfing the web, reading the news, chatting with coworkers, taking a long lunch, and trying to look busy.

Be bold, be honest, be real, and share how many hours you think you will legitimately work today. You already have to deduct the amount of time you’ve spent reading this post :) If you don’t want to “out” yourself, you can always comment anonymously to keep your identity hidden. I’m guessing the majority are gonna fall between 5-7 hours.

p.s. hopefully I’ll see ya back here Monday…assuming the world doesn’t come to an end an all…that would be inconvenient.


1 MomEinstein

I will work 24 hours today.

I’m a stay at home Mon who also runs a website. Any time my baby is asleep is spent working on the site or promoting it. Even overnight, I’m on call in case my baby wakes up. Right now, at almost 4am, I’m rocking her back to sleep as I type this.

It’s a good thing I love my job.

2 rachaek

I know what you mean MomEinstein, I am in the same boat….

Good thing we love our jobs :)

3 MomEinstein

They are demanding, but at least our coworkers are hot. ;)

And obviously I meant stay at home mom in the first post. Stupid auto-correct.

4 Mo D.

My “acutal” work hours are 8am-4:30pm, 1 hour unpaid lunch, 2 x 15 min. paid breaks (salaried), which means I’m paid to work 7.5 hrs/day… I’m gonna say today I will “work” about 5-6 hrs. It varies; some days are super busy and I can barely catch my breath, while other days seem to draaaaag. In Canada, this Monday is a stat Holiday (Victoria Day, affectionately known as “May 2-4 weekend”), so if the majority of our customers’ purchasers decide to make it an extra-long weekend and take today off, today should be pretty quiet.

5 Mary M

Sorry dude. You’re on my time here. I have firewalls at work and I’m on commission sales so when I’m at work I’m working.

6 Daisy

I’m at home right now. I don’t read blogs at work.

I work probably 7 1/2 / 8 hours. We have hour long lunches and I never know what to do, so I usually start work early.

7 Zan

Honestly? On average, probably 1.5-2 hours of an 8 hour shift. I’m just being brutally honest. And I have constant guilt and fear that someone will notice. But, year after year I get great reviews and wonderful feedback from my coworkers. I also do all the work that is handed to me!

8 Jess

I work a 9 hour day. I can take an hour lunch and as many breaks as I want really, but my job is so demanding that there are days I eat lunch at my desk while working. There are days when I just don’t feel like doing anything and pretend to be busy – which is pretty easy :)

9 Dolla Dolla Bill

I’m in the same boat as Zan. I’m usually less than 3 hours a day but my boss and coworkers love me. It’s gotten even better since I’ve started working from home.

10 Zan

Oh thank you, I’m glad someone else admitted that. I felt like a douche. It would be different if I was trying to climb the corporate ladder, but I’m in school for an entirely different field and having a low stress situation makes my life manageable.

11 eef

Ugh. I JUST quit my job. Yesterday was my last day. I quit because I worked the entire 8 hours (or more) in a frenzy with so much to do it was ridiculous. And people treated me like crap. And said I wasn’t busy because they didn’t understand what my job was.

so glad to be out of there!

12 Austin

Probably work 7 hours a day. I am typically at the office from 8-5 and eat lunch at the desk, but our office has a ping pong table, so that’s a productivity killer. When work gets really busy I’ll work 10 or 12 hours, but lately it has been slow so I basically feel like we’re consultants on retainer…. not doing much but getting paid just in case they need us!

13 Ashley

You are so right! It’s the end of the school year and I got some bad news today, so I needed a break from work. I’m sure I will work a good solid 5 hours today. Starting with my next class period.

14 SP

I don’t read blogs at work often, just on a lunch break or a short “internet” break. My office itself doesn’t even have the internet (for some really good reasons, rather than productivity/mean office rules reasons), so if I want to take a break, I have to go to a shared computer and specifically plan to take a break. (Right now, I’m at home reading.)

There have been times when I don’t work 8 hours, but my favorite days are when I have enough to do to fill every day at work. Those days have been the norm lately, but when I was newer, not so much.

15 3devious

Today, I’m hoping to get 3 hours in. I hate this place and 70% of the people in it too much to care.

16 hip hop anonymous

Some days I work only a couple of hours and some days I work 10-12 hours at a very fast pace. I am a chemist so usually I work hard for a couple of hours in the morning to set things up, then chill most of the day just checking on samples, and then spend the afternoon cleaning up and processing runs. Not going to lie it can be pretty boring. I much prefer to be busy all the time, but I do enjoy the relaxed work environment.

17 fabulouslyfrugirl

I usually work 6 – 7 hours a day. But when we’re in high season, I work more – closer to 8 to 9 hours a day.

Working long hours is hard to sustain. I don’t know how people do it year after year.

18 Sarah

As I type this from work… :) Anywhere from 2-4 of my 8 hours at work are spent working. The rest are spent with my Google Reader or figuring out how to get around the firewall. But like some of the above commenters said, I get consistently high reviews, and will always take on extra work so I’m not always on the internet.

19 Rafiki

I operate a machine so I rarely if ever get to read blogs at work. I work an 8 hour shift with a 30 min break and I would say I usually put in 6-7 hours of solid work majority of the time. Sometimes I end up working all 8 depending on if I have to skip my break.

20 SWR

For my part time job, I’m working for the entire shift (3-8hrs) that I’m there. I work in a residential facility where constant vigilance is necessary.

For my day job, it depends. When I’m working 4 10-hr days, it’s because I need to get lots of stuff done that week, and I get into a very focused groove while there. For the weeks I spread it out over 5 days, probably 5 of those 8 hours are solid work, and the other three are slacking.

21 Alotta Lettuce

I only work half-days on Fridays (flex Fridays FTW!), so I’ll BE here for 4 hours today, but will probably only do about 2-3 hours of actual work. I’d say that’s typical of most days though – 2/3 of my time in the office is spent working, and 1/3 is spent…looking like I’m working. Some weeks more, some weeks less.

This week in particular has been rather slow, but it came on the heels of 3 weeks of being much busier than usual. That’s just the natural ebb and flow of work though, and from my perspective, is something people often overlook when talking about “time management.” Some weeks I manage my time in such a way that I’m crazy productive, because I need to be. Other weeks, I manage my time in such a way that I do a little bit each do so that I don’t have a single day in the office where I do NO work at all, even though I probably could have gotten everything done in 1 or 2 days.

I don’t like being this slow on a regular basis, but one week here and there throughout the year is welcome, and I know that 2 weeks from now, shit will be craaaaazy again.

22 Not me

When we have deadlines, i’m definitely putting in almost 8 hours (minus lunch). But when we’re more relaxed and working on long term goals, I’m sure I dip as low as 4-5 hours of actual work. I just have trouble staying motivated sometimes, and after really busy periods i like being able to take my time.

I think a lot of young people get away with it because we work faster than our older collagues who can barely reply to an email in 20 minutes, let alone reply, check my personal email, read blogs, etc! Hahaha

23 psycharah

I read blogs at lunch time, so no guilt there. I have to track my billable hours, and most weeks it reveals that I’m not billing between 5 and 7 hours/week, which means an hour to an hour and a half of “slacking”. However, that doesn’t mean I’m not working, just that there’s stuff you can’t bill for, like communicating about a new referral. If you didn’t do it, you wouldn’t get more work, so it pays in the long run. In the end, I’m the one who stresses if things aren’t done, so I try not to goof off too much during work hours (just means I end up staying late, and who want’s to do that, especially on the Friday of a long weekend (in Canada)?)

24 krantcents

No one can work 60 out of 60 minutes. I work maybe 50 minutes out of each hour. Checking a blog during the 10 minutes off allows me to concentrate the other 50 minutes. Does that sound like a rationalization?

25 Miss T @ Prairie Eco-Thrifter

I totally agree. Yes I read blogs at work but it is on my lunch break. You’re right. No one can work for 8 hours straight with no breaks.

26 This Guy

Today…. well, its hard to say. I have a report due that’s half finished, so probably 6ish (give or take 2 hours). Typically, since moving to a new office, I work 7 hour days, 5 of solid work, 2 of thumbing through stuff.

I confess though, I worked for 3 hrs earlier this week……….. ouch!

P.S. I’m taking my talents to south beach if judgement day is tomorrow.

27 Jenna, Adaptu Community Manager

Clearly I have the coolest job in the world, I’m one of those lucky few.

I think all on campus jobs are like that (unless you are tutoring). But I loved it, I got paid to study which was nice and kept me focused.

28 Derek

I work at least 7 of the 8 hour shift but how productive I am is another question. Sometimes it feels like I’m in constant research mode and never produce or accomplish anything. Or I field so many interruptions (reality of helping co-workers) that I never start what I intended to. Still its hard to ignore the sweet nothings of the internet…

I do this despite knowing that “Perception is reality” here. If you want to excel, you play the part.

By the way Ninja, where did you write this post?

29 wileyjack

I get paid for 8 hours a day but I rarely get in more than an hour. I do all of my work but my job is such that i just don’t have a lot to do. The internet is wide open so I’ll spend a fair amount of time between Netflix and reading a good novel. Some days it gets kinda boring but it’s never too bad. On rare occasions that a lot of work pops up that needs to be done then I’ll step it up and take care of it but that doesn’t happen often. I’ve had crazy busy jobs and I’ve had this one and this one is cooler.

30 First Gen American

It’s Saturday, so I technically am not slacking off at work. I’m in sales, so I drive A LOT. I don’t consider my driving time working, but then again, some days I drive 10 hours in one day + my sales calls. It’s all relative. Some days I’m super productive in the car, but other days, I’m driving outside of office hours, so I can’t multitask.

Would you consider a 12 hour day where you only visited customers for two..2 hours of working or 12? Since I’m not home with my family, I consider it 12. What about overnight travel and business trips. Does that count? That being said, on days when I’m in the home office, I make sure to do a couple of loads of laundry during the day to make up for the time when I’m on the road. What about conference calls you’re forced to be on that are mandatory but don’t actually have anything to do with getting your job done, does that count as working? I’ll admit that I’ll surf the web when I’m on some of those. I’m really having a hard time answering that question of what qualifies as “working.” There seems to be a lot of stuff I do at work that takes up time, but has nothing to do with achieving my sales quotas.

31 Jackie

As a work at home mom, it is hard to really pin down how much of my day is non productive. I am on call 24hours/ 7 days a week for our 4 kids. I consider myself the household manager as I do the budgeting, shopping, planning, etc. I also am the housekeeper and keep our house clean. I am the cook who cooks and prepares all the meals, I am the taxi driver who takes everyone where they need to be and pick them up when they are done and the list goes on. LOL Ah the joys of being a work at home mom. I can say I take at least 1 hour out of the day and put the hubby in charge so I can relax, read, or play video games.

32 Financial Success For Young Adults

My concern is the employers who are not realizing the potential to maximize the work day. But until they do, I’ll enjoy a blog every now and then :)

33 Mary

I get to work at 7:15 every day and am generally through with everything by 8. This leaves me with the rest of the day (until 3:45 for me) to look busy. I am not the type of person who sits around and does nothing, so this is quite painful for me. I have already completed all of the ‘random’ tasks we had lying around within the first few months of starting work (filing, organizing, digitizing, etc.). I also consistently get good performance reviews, so I’m not concerned about looking bad to management. I did have a coworker tell me that I needed to slow down because I was making him look bad, but that’s not how I function, so I ignored him.

I am fairly miserable at my job because it is very boring to sit around for 8 hours a day with nothing to do, but it helps pay the bills, so I won’t complain too much. (I am on the hunt for something more challenging, so don’t think I don’t want to change my situation…)

34 JayCeeKayCee

Normally I would say I work 4.5 hours of my 7 hour day. I get excellent reviews and am considered a great employee. A lot of my job is being available for people if they need me – in the summer time it is quiet so there is more time for work/reading your blog.

But I got downsized a few weeks ago (financial issues with the company, not performance-related) so I am doing as little as freaking possible other than winding down my projects before I leave.

A job I had a few years ago I literally worked 1 or 2 hours a day and got paid for 8. (I spent the rest of my time playing Plants vs. Zombies or surfing the net.) The day before I quit – because I was so freaking bored I was in tears every day – they offered me a $3000 raise for “excellent work”.

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