Office survival tips for writers, dreamers and creative control freaks #5

Last week I got to play outside the office for a while and it was lovely. However, I have returned and am therefore shackled to my desk and my love/hate relationship with the machine in front of me again.

I’m sure this little baby missed me, so this week I’m gonna dedicate my list off office survival tips to computer-based timewasters. Maybe that will make this creaky old machine love me more?

13. Start a chain email. You need to set up a fake email account for this one, so that’s a good timewaster in the first place. Choose your name – addresses like or are in the right ballpark – then choose your topic.

Now, this is the bit that requires the most creative attention – what kind of office do you have? If it’s full of singles you obviously want to focus on the love angle. An office full of high climbers and you want to be focusing on career failure and if you work with a lot of paranoid types then you’ve gotta crack out the death threats for optimum entertainment.

You might think that the whole point of the office chain mail would be to send it to one or two people and hope you can watch it spread. Personally, I think it’s a great idea to fire it off to everyone at once – and add a clause saying you can’t pass the chain on to anyone who’s already received it.

Make sure they can’t see who else you copied in, and watch the frustration rise as people are bombarded with the same chain mail over and over – that way you get to annoy even the unbelievers.

14. Claim you’ve been infected with a computer virus. This guy said he did it, so if you work with computers (which, let’s face it, I’m sure you do) it’s time to start babbling about runtime errors and foaming at the mouth – a packet of sherbet can help with achieving this effect.

15. Get funky with the emails. You may have to reply to quite a lot of emails during the course of the working day, pretty boring for the most part hey? If you want to test your word power, then why not see if you can reply to your emails using only the words contained in the original message – without being rude. Or too mental.

Hi Lynsey

Please could you make sure you leave the kitchen the way you found it? I don’t want to have to clean up after you.


Hi John

Clean kitchen? For you – sure.


This is obviously a lot easier the longer the message is.

Lynsey – shut up

Doesn’t give you much to play with and you might look like a dick when you try to reply, but that’s half the fun isn’t it?

If you don’t have a computer, or you’ve had yours confiscated for being naughty, then have forage on the past office survival tips for scraps to keep you going.

Office survival tips for writers, dreamers and creative control freaks #3

You can’t do exercises at your desk without getting some really weird looks, so stretch your mind and test your wits with my top tips for frustrated office monkeys everywhere.

There’s a theme to this week’s office survival suggestions and that’s because hate them, tolerate them, forge friendships with them, or hate them more, your colleagues are the ones that you’ll be spending more time with than any of your loved ones for the duration of your time in the office. Learn to love them or make them your playthings, the choice is all yours.

7. Play office matchmaker. Offices are rife with potential for romance and all of the boredom-defying drama that comes with it. You may have been content to be a passive observer in the past, but when you’re in need of a way to stop your soul from withering away, what could be better than a little matchmaking? Not only will this triple if not quadruple office gossip (i.e. the only thing that makes as little office drones prick up our ears on the long arid stretch between nine and five), but it gives you plenty of time to use your creative skills. They sit on different floors? Not a problem if you make sure you put her favourite coffee mug on his desk or his scarf under her chair. Shyness is stopping them hooking up? Start sneaking gin into their drinks as Friday home time draws closer.

Office romance cartoon

9. Work out anagrams of your business and colleagues. When it feels as though your brain cells have begun fighting among themselves for the smallest smidgen of stimulation, try kick starting them with a few word games (oh how I love the word games) Easiest to get started on is working out what things you can spell using the letters of your desk mates for The Man that employs you.

Cameo cinema (oh how I miss you Cameo)
A Mecca o’ mine

Lynsey May
Say my lyne

The Piemaker (don’t miss you quite so much)
Tame her pike

Sometimes the results are better than others, especially when you don’t have to resort to ‘interesting’ spellings.

8. Become a copy cat. This is one that is only suitable for the really bored and the really quite brave. What you need to do is choose a colleague and make it your mission for the day to do everything they do – only 10 minutes later. So, for example, they go to make a cup of tea, you go to make a cup of tea. They go to the bathroom, you go to the bathroom. They make a stupid yawny noise, so do you. They do something inappropriate to another member of staff, well… only the truly dedicated will follow the mission to the bitter end. This will not leave you fulfilled or happy, but the need to constantly aware of what your chosen victim is up to will speed the hours up wonderfully.

That’s all I have time for today, there are a few interns and new starts in the office and I really need to get working on my Haikus and anagrams. The old(er) office survival tips live on, choose a course and stay strong.

Office survival tips for writers, dreamers and creative control freaks #2

The office wants to suck away your soul, don’t let it. Keep your mind occupied with the alternative list of stuff to do when you should be working.

4. Plan your escape routes. Sometimes the only thing that can make staying in one place bearable, is working out how you would remove yourself from that place if you had to. Also, planning how you’d escape from a zombie invasion is an enjoyable pastime wherever you are.

If you’re stuck in an office it’s likely you’ll feel as though the zombies are closing in anyway, they just want to mush your brain with spreadsheets and inane questions rather than actually eat them.

While away a few hours trying to work out if you’d be able to create a grappling hook from a broken umbrella and a rope out of all the discarded scarves in the cloakroom or determine how many days you’d be able to survive in the office attic on the packet of biscuits hidden in your desk drawer.

5. Swap the biscuits/tea bags. If it’s a particularly bad day, you might want to go into the kitchen and create some mild chaos. You know how funny we all get about our little routines and habits when we have nothing better to think about? Try upsetting everyone else’s for a change by sneaking into the kitchen early and swapping the biscuits and teabags inside the packets. Then you can sit back and spy on the caffeine deprived, confused faces of your co-workers.

‘It doesn’t LOOK like a digestive…’ ‘This tea bags smells minty, doesn’t it smell minty to you?’ ‘Oh man, I am so hyper, it’s like I had real coffee and not decaf, what’s up with that?’

Don’t do this too often though, the risk of getting caught is fairly high.

6. Find online games you can minimise easily. These days, most office drones have access to a computer. If you’re lucky enough to also have unrestricted access to the internet, rejoice, you’ll find plenty of online games out there that will kill the hours and you’ll probably find yourself addicted to one as quickly as you can say ‘repetitive strain injury’, giving you that extra little push to get to your desk in the morning.

Make sure you don’t choose ones that can’t be easily minimised though, this only works as a covert operation. To the same end, don’t play games on your social networking sites – chances are someone you know at work can see them. If you aren’t lucky enough to have the net, there’s always old school computer solitaire or, if that’s not an option, paper clip tiddlywinks – how many can you get in your coffee cup?

Not enough to help you save your sanity? Check out potential time wasting instalment one at – Office survival tips for writers, dreamers and creative control freaks #1. Don’t let the desk monkeys get you!

Office survival tips for writers, dreamers and creative control freaks #1

It doesn’t matter how creative, emotionally enlightened or downright flaky you are, the chances are that if you want to pursue a creative career, you’re going to have to fund it somehow.

There are many jobs favoured by artistic types, and if you poke your nose into your local cafe, cinema or bar you’re sure to be able to sniff out the next big thing in whatever scene you’re into in no time. But there comes a time, and an age, where an office job beckons.

Proper holidays and better pay have their attractions, but an office job can be a tough thing for crazed creative types to cope with – hence my list of office survival tips.

1. Take up an arbitrary habit. A habit can be a wonderful way to distract yourself from the fact you’ve become the very thing you always hated. Don’t start smoking if you don’t already and try and avoid this one even if you do, you’ll only be forced to try and bond with the other nicotine-starved and alienated smokers and that’ll make the day more annoying, not less.

Instead, get really into good brands of coffee. Make it in your own cafetiere and enjoy the chance to rhapsodise over its subtle flavours as you wait for it to infuse. If you’re not into caffeine, tell yourself you’re hooked on ice lollies. This will also give you the chance to wander to the shop at random intervals. If anyone asks, you need the sugar to maintain your delicately balanced equilibrium.

2. Keep something weird on your desk. You may be wondering how the addition of a strange curio will help you fit in at the office; the answer is that it won’t. It will, however, give the poor souls who stray over to your domain something to look at and possibly talk about when met with your manic stare and hiss of ‘what do you want’. I recommend tacky holiday souvenirs with inappropriate nudity or references to death. Don’t bother with a voodoo doll though, unless you want a few nice chats with the HR department.

Tacky holiday souvenirs

Tacky holiday souvenirs Source:

3. Give everyone a nickname and work it into a haiku.Remembering the name of all of the soulless bastards you work with can be tricky can’t it, especially when you have so many more pressing things on your mind – like how you’re going to revolutionise the art world, right? Right? Well, flex your creative muscles by thinking up some really good nicknames to help you differentiate between them, then while away several happy hours creating haikus around them. For example,

The tall frog faced girl
Always hogs the kitchen sink
I wish she’d hop it


Pwned’s an analyst
According to his job title
Shame his own stats suck

Just try and remember not to call them by their nicknames huh? Unless you’re the kind of creative type that feeds off the drama (and if you are, please let me recommend introducing an anti-drama monkey into your life!).

Office boredom is a serious problem; make sure you squash it without switching off those important brain cells. More tips coming soon!