Anyone with a nine-to-five knows that the work struggle is all too real. Long commutes, demanding bosses, difficult coworkers, and more often than not, a bigger workload that we can ever handle during normal business hours.
But if there's one thing worse than having too much work to do, it's, well, not having enough. Anyone who has ever caught themselves "not busy" at work knows that this truly is the worst kind of torture. Sitting around, staring at the clock, waiting until it strikes an hour where it would be suitable for you to bolt out the door requires a special kind of skill.
Here are 15 things that happen when you've been taken over by office boredom.
15 You fall down a black hole of cat videos
When you're trapped in a cubicle all day with nothing of urgency to do, it can be easy to find yourself falling down a black hole of Internet content designed to suck in bored people just like you.
What may start as innocently LOLing at a clever cat meme your best friend posted on Facebook, could quickly lead to a 4-hour YouTube session that involves everything from an adorable black cat wearing glasses, to a group of tabby cats riding around their house on one of those robot vacuums.
14 You Go Online Shopping
When you have a bit of extra down time at work, it can be a great opportunity to do a little online shopping. Maybe you've finally decided to splurge on those new shoes you wanted. Or maybe you decided to pick up a few new books to read instead. You could even kill an hour restocking your Amazon Pantry, clicking on everything from toilet paper to your favorite breakfast cereal. The possibilities are endless.
But be warned: just like the world of cat memes, online shopping is a dangerous game to play when you have hours to kill. You could quickly find yourself out $200 on a pair of rare bacon socks you may not even remember ordering by the time you receive your shipment.
13 You eat. A lot.
Have you ever found yourself mysteriously gaining an extra 5-10 lbs. with no explanation as to where it may have come from? I'll take a shot in the dark and guess that it could be from spending too much time bored at work. It's quite simple. Boredom often leads to mindless eating. And let's be real, we don't usually end up scarfing down a plate of raw veggies when we're bored at work. Nope, it's the sweet, carby treats that end up calling our names.
A slim workload can mean extra time to attend those Friday office breakfasts, coworker birthday lunches, and in-office happy hours. You can even blame boredom when you get the urge to be extra generous and purchase a whopping 12 chocolate bars for your boss' kid's school fundraiser. The struggle is real.
12 You find new ways to nap
Secret napping is an artform many of us may have perfected during our days of attending school. Remember those mornings you hid your face in a hoodie, hand to your forehead, seemingly focused on the textbook in front of you? All the while, your teacher never knew you were knocked out the whole period. Now that, my friends, are skills.
When you find yourself bored at work, you'll be happy you've had practice as it can come incredibly handy. You may look intensely focused on some paperwork at your desk, but what your inexperienced coworkers don't know is that you're actually far off in dreamland. If you're not quite daring enough to try this out (like we said, it requires years of practice), you could just try catching some Zzz's in the privacy of your car or a bathroom stall. Hey, we're not here to judge.
11 You start looking up things on WebMD, and immediately regret it
Remember that tiny headache you had this morning on the way to the office? Well, since you're now bored at work, it seems like the perfect opportunity to run a quick search on WebMD, you know, just to confirm you're healthy and there isn't anything to worry about.
The only problem: instead of killing time, you end up frantically reading through the many causes of headaches: dehydration, stress, concussion, blot clot, brain tumor. Great, now convinced that you could actually have a brain tumor, you end up running a panicked Google search of the phrase "signs of a brain tumor." And, just as you suspected, you had three out of the 20-something symptoms. Clearly, a sign that you're doomed. Should you break the news to your loved ones already?
10 Time Starts Moving Backwards
There's something about being bored that makes the world feel like it's moving in slow motion. You stare at the clock to make sure it's working because you could have sworn it was 11:30 a.m. an hour ago. You wonder if looking away will cause it to move any faster. What seems like an eternity later, you glance at the clock again, only to realize the minute hand is still in the exact sane place. You spin round and round in your chair, now convinced the digital clock on your computer screen in, in fact, broken.
But just as you are about to call IT, the clock changes to 11:31 a.m. and you realize that time is, in fact, moving forward, even is this does feel like the absolute longest day of your entire life.
11:32 a.m. Now, we're getting somewhere ...
9 You make coffee
What's the one thing that can make any situation just a tiny bit better? Coffee, of course! You run to the communal office kitchen and prepare a new pot, anxiously placing it on the coffeemaker. You could go back to your desk but decide to stay here and wait for it to finish. You know, just in case.
Minutes later, you excitedly pour yourself a piping hot cup and decide to enjoy it here in the kitchen. Because, why not? Twenty minutes later, you decide it would only be courteous to walk around the office and offer coffee to your fellow workers. You check the clock moments after reaching the final cubicle and are instantly disappointed that not more time has passed.
Seriously, this is the longest day ever.
8 You make small talk with random coworkers
Determined to make your workday a little less painful, you decide to flex your social chops by strolling around the office and having a friendly chat with anyone who will stop and talk to you. You start with your office bestie, chatting everything from weekend plans to your summer vacation wish list. Then make your way to the watercooler to chat favorite comic book characters with the crew from tech support. After a heated argument about whether Batman or Superman was a better superhero, you follow up with getting a makeup tutorial from the new college intern before complimenting your boss on the adorable photos of her kids displayed throughout her corner office. How old were they now? Wow, those kids do grow up so fast.
Time check. Another hour gone. Score!
7 You tidy up your work space
If your workplace is like most, then chances are the cleaning crew isn't responsible for much more than emptying your trash bin and vacuuming under your desk. This means, the dust situation on and around your desk is probably quite serious. In fact, you're pretty sure an entire family of dust bunnies has officially taken refuge behind your computer hard drive.
Normally, this doesn't bother you, but on a day where boredom is in full force, you've suddenly been taken over by a desire to clean everything in sight. You start by tossing out old paperwork, then move on to dusting your computer screen. Before you know it, your entire file cabinet is alphabetized and your computer monitor smells of lemon cleaning supplies. You feel mega productive at the end of it all. If only you were this motivated to clean at home.
6 You come up with a proposal for a Bring Your Pet to Work Day
They say business owners like to hear new and innovative ideas from their employees, right? Well, being bored is a perfect time to come up with your own brilliant ideas. What could you bring to the table? Tapping away at your newly clean desk with your favorite pen, it comes to you.
So you open up PowerPoint and get to work on a proposal for a "Bring Your Pet to Work Day." You include everything from statistics on pets' ability to increase productivity, to a slide show of you and your miniature schnauzer, Bo. You also make sure to add a lot of clip art visuals. If this doesn't impress your boss, you don't know what will.
She will obviously want to promote your right away, right?
5 You write a blog post
Still on a high after finishing up your brilliant proposal, you decide to write a blog post about your innovative new idea. You include screen shots of your presentation. You include funny GIFs that actually make your laugh out loud. Thirty minutes later, your perfect blog post is ready to be shared with world.
You share the link on Facebook. You tweet it. You post it on Reddit. Now, all you have to do is wait for everyone to start telling you how amazing and smart you are. Ready, set, go ...
You wait. And wait. Then you wait some more. Um, why hasn't this post gone viral already? You double check everything, confirming your privacy settings aren't turned on. Hmm, perhaps people are just busy working. Clearly this will get hits later on.
4 You start to worry about your job
After another twenty minutes go by and the excitement over your "Bring Your Pet to Work" idea isn't flying as high as you expected, you start to doubt yourself and your skills. What if you actually suck at your job? Why does everyone else seem to be super busy? What if you aren't that busy because your boss is purposely not giving you work? What if they're actually getting ready to fire you? OMG. Cue panic mode.
How will you afford that summer vacation to Mexico now? Or worse, what if you get fired and are left without money to pay your rent. OMG, what if you end up having to move back in with your parents because you can't cut it in the real world?
This was bad.
3 You start looking for a new job while still on the job
Now convinced your boss is in her office working on a secret plot to fire you, you decide to use your down time to scour through the job boards. You've been meaning to start your climb up the career ladder, anyway. As you type in "manager" into the search box on your go-to job board, you start fantasizing about a dream job where you'd be the one in a corner office working on amazing plans to take over the world. Oh yeah, it also would be nice if you could earn six figures. That way you can ensure moving back with mom and dad would never be necessary.
What would you even wear to this new dream job? You ditch the job boards and look for professional outfits on Pinterest instead.
2 You think of an excuse to go home early
All this web surfing, desk cleaning, and planning your future suddenly makes you very tired and overwhelmed. You start to remember the headache symptoms you were Googling this morning, feeling the pain in your head start up again. You were clearly ill, and decide this could be the perfect excuse to go home early.
Your boss would surely have sympathy if you explain that you're actually pretty certain you have a brain tumor and it would be best for your to rest it off, at least until tomorrow, right? Yes, of course, you've already finished all your work for the day. You work very efficiently. In fact, you work so efficiently, you think that you deserve a promotion and a raise. Okay, perhaps the latter should be a conversation for another day.
1 You pretend to work
Just as you get up from your desk to go talk to your boss, you start having second thoughts, deciding to go kill time in the bathroom instead.
As you reapply some lip gloss in the bathroom mirror, you decide your whole brain tumor hypothesis is probably a little ridiculous. You're pretty sure you don't have a brain tumor, which of course, was great news.
So you decide to suck it up and finish your work day, heading back to your desk. You figure everyone else is probably pretending to work anyway, so you decide to do the same. You open up that document you probably should have been working on earlier today and start to type away with purpose until you realize that you're not pretending anymore. What?! You are actually getting some work done. High five for you!