TechieTalk: Tech Solutions: An Office Worker's Guide to Avoiding Work

By Roy Mathur, on 2012-05-28, for The Independent Daily, Mauritius (in which an edited version appeared)

Office Work Sucks

A large proportion of many jobs today involve staring into a computer screen for hours on end. So this week we're looking at the best ways to avoid work while convincing the boss that you are actually a valued and hard-working member of staff. To do this we need to find some great ways to waste time at your desk.

What NOT to Do

Traditional time-wasters foolishly hang out at the water cooler, the smoking area or risk stupidly long lunches. The main problem with these solutions is that after a while the boss will suspect foul-play and you will end up with either a serious telling off or, at worst, being fired.

What You Should Do

The first step is to get into work earlier than your colleagues. This will have a three-fold effect. First you'll have a good hour or two to do your real work without interruption. If you work hard for a solid two hours each morning, you can stay ahead of the game and reduce the pile in your in-tray considerably. Secondly, by coming in so early you'll impress your boss. Thirdly, and most important of all, you'll alienate your colleagues and they'll stop talking to you; believing you to be a total brown-nose. This is vital because now you'll have more time to use your computer without interruption.

What Next?

So, here's the situation, you've finished your two hours of solid work for the day and you have about six hours to kill before you go home. What do you do with all this lovely free time? Luckily we're here to help. The main thing to bear in mind, if you don't want to be caught is to avoid using any graphics heavy software that will alert your boss that you are being anything less than the busy little wage-slave you were hired to be. That means text and ASCII based applications are the order of the day. These retro-style apps are fast and fun, the lack of flashy graphics make them easy to disguise as work, and are fantastic text-based fun

Play Net hack

This is a real grandad of a game, in constant development since 1987. It is a simple, fun and highly addictive game where you play the role of an adventurer making his or her way through a huge cave system looking for treasure and fighting monsters. There are two versions, a graphic rich version (for wimps) and a hardcore version using simple ASCIII characters. To play, go to http://portableapps.com/apps/games/nethack_portable download, install and then run this file- NetHackPortable\App\nethack\nethack.exe

Read Project Gutenberg eBooks

There are a zillion books out there just waiting to be read. Everything from the Mahabharata to Sherlock Holmes is free for the taking. Open the documents in MS Word and it will take a very sharp-eyed boss to catch you out. For a taster download the Mahabharata from http://www.gutenberg.org/files/19630/19630.txt

Browse with Elinks

This is a pure text-based browser. That means no pictures, but you can do almost anything with it. Use your Gmail account, read Wikipedia articles, search Googl— all without being caught by the boss. Get it at http://www.paehl.com/open_source/?download=elinks.7z

See you next week. Angry comments from bosses to roy.mathur@gmail.com