Day Three: Things to do when you’re at work with no work to do

It’s the time of the year where people in my job have actually 100% nothing to do at work. We are still required to come to work every day, unless you use your precious vacation days to go on a trip, but we have nothing to occupy our time.

My situation is a more extreme example, and I am currently finishing out my fourth full week of coming to work without a class to teach (with one or two more weeks to go). The main motivator is of course that you still get paid for coming, but it can be hard to find other motivations to keep yourself sane through the tedium of daily desk warming.

Today I have decided to share a list of ways to occupy your time and keep yourself from absolutely losing it during a full month of desk warming. This are all things I have tried and found to be successful distractions over the last four weeks.

  • Read a lot of books. This has an added benefit of the people at your school thinking you are very studious, when in fact you just do all your reading at work so that you can watch Netflix all night without guilt.
    • I really do mean a lot of books. If it’s interesting, I’ll read a book a day. Thanks, Kindle!
      • If you can’t think of what to read, I found slogging my way through Jonathon Strange & Mr. Norrell a pretty decent distraction for a few days. Even if you’re a fast reader, a book that long and slow takes a fair amount of time.
  • Gossip with your coworkers. My favorite coworker is being transferred next week, so we have to get the last of our gossip and deep conversations about the effects of poverty out of the way now. I’ve also found he’s a reliable source for information on who is being moved to what school because he listens as much as I do.
  • Learn that your gossiping coworkers are not always correct. This can create awkward conversations when you ask someone where they are being transferred to and they aren’t actually going anywhere.
  • Write stuff. Do a 30 day blogging challenge. Work on that novel length Drarry fic you’ve been writing since November. Try writing a new short story. Try writing a memoir when that doesn’t work out.
  • Journal. I have a handwritten journal that I keep and it has never been more up to date.
  • Find some games to play on your phone. I’ve been trying to get all the gifts in nekoatsume and last week I unlocked all the dogs on the Good Dogs game.
  • Post a lot on Facebook, twitter, and instagram. Like, super annoy your friends with all your posts.
  • I’ve learned that if you hide in the English room with your laptop and just literally start watching movies no one will say anything.
  • Hide your headphones in a big scarf and listen to podcasts.
  • Throw out the handouts you’ve been piling on your desk since last April.
  • Feel uncomfortable and exposed in the staff room without your barricade of unused handouts. Think about this for at least an hour.
  • See how many coworkers you can awkwardly stare at now that you are no longer hiding behind a wall of unused handouts.
  • Stay on your phone the ENTIRE DAY. This is a challenge. (I’ve done it.)
  • Finally get around to filing your 2015 taxes. File your 2016 taxes while you’re at it.
  • Make a mistake on your taxes and panic for 20 minutes when it says you owed $1000 in 2015 until you realize you didn’t follow directions and are actually getting a refund.
  • Watch the trees outside the window for a minimum of 30 minutes a day. This will make it look like you are deep and poetic and also lets your coworkers know that you have nothing better to do. They will resent you for this.
  • Try thinking about lessons for next term and then realize all your plans will be changed anyway so it isn’t worth the effort.
  • See what you can find on Wikipedia. This week I was reading about online fiction publishing platforms and ended up learning about the Three Mile Island nuclear meltdown.
  • You can study, or you can do what I do and think about how productive you would feel if you studied but don’t actually do any studying.
  • If no one is around just, like, take a nap.
  • Give up and let everyone know you’re absolutely losing it being held prisoner in your office until 4:05 when you get to leave and pretend you don’t have to come back and do it all again tomorrow.

I deal with a lot of feelings of guilt and uselessness when I don’t have work to do, which makes this time of year particularly challenging for me. As I keep being reminded, though, this is just a reality of the job and soon enough the new school year will start and there will be new lessons to plan, new students to meet, and new teachers to learn how to work with.

I just wish it could come a little bit faster.



This post is day 3 of a 30 days of blogging challenge.




One thought on “Day Three: Things to do when you’re at work with no work to do

  1. I feel you on most everything here. I’ve been reading a lot of books on my kindle reader via computer. Everyone thinks I’ve been working hard when in reality I’ve been hardly working. I’ve also written a ton of blog posts, created a new blogging platform, started writing for Odigo Japan so I can make some cash by recycling my old blog posts that no one really has seen anyways, a nap usually every day, all podcasts updated and ready to go (except still working my way through My Dad Wrote a Porno which is really funny and worth a listen lol), I go on long “walks”, Ive stared at my budget book for at least an hour a day, and also stared at my calendar like somehow looking at it will jolt me into the future. Yeppppp.

    Liked by 1 person

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