How to play games and surf at work yet look busy

Every office has an evil creature called the boss. He makes rounds in the office spying on what people are doing, and oh! here he comes. Drat! you have too many chat windows open, and Twitter too, and Facebook, and you are nearing a high score in Pinball. As you frantically click on all X’s, and mentally draft your resignation letter your boss stops to check the monitor of your colleague in front of you. That gives you enough time to close all fun applications and open the spreadsheet you should be working on. That was close!

Now, if only there was a way to do all that you wanted to do, and not worry about getting caught. There are in fact, several ways. You won’t believe how creative people can become when it comes to goofing at work. Here are some fantastic applications created to help you look busy at work.

Games you can play at work

breakdown Can’t you see I’m busy is a website that has three classic games (at the time of this writing) camouflaged as office applications. One of the games called “Breakdown” looks like a Word document from afar, where in reality it’s a version of Arkanoid. The horizontal scrollbar at the bottom serves as the slider to bounce off the ball. Bricks on the original game are replaced by texts. It looks really cool.

The second game called “Leadership” has various graphs. Between these line graphs is a tiny spaceship which is impossible to see from a distance. Using arrow keys you have to navigate the spaceship without touching the lines on the graph.


The third game, “Cost cutter” has the layout of a spreadsheet program with a bar graph at the middle. Actually, it’s a color combo breaker type of game where you have to click on colored boxes in the graph to remove them and score points.


Using Twitter at work

If you are Twitter fan, you are lucky because Twitter has several desktop clients that closely resembles common work applications.

1. Spreadtweet is an Adobe AIR based Twitter application that looks like, yes, a spreadsheet. It’s available in 3 different skins – Office OSX, Office 2003 (Windows), and Office 2007 (Windows), so you can choose according to which ever version you use at work. Using Spreadtweet you can post new tweets and check messages and replies.


2. If your line of work involves working at the command prompt rather than on spreadsheets, try Quitter. It looks exactly like the Command Prompt and supports  a bunch of features like reading, posting, replying and retweeting, organizing the people you follow into groups, etc. Read the full review.


3. There is another tool that allows you to use Twitter on the sly, this time through Microsoft Outlook. A plug-in called TwInbox transforms the email program into a full featured Twitter client. With TwInbox you can update, reply, search, and archive your Twitter messages right from your Outlook inbox. Read the full review.


General web surfing

There might be many tricks to surf the web from office but the biggest invention has to be Ghostzilla. It’s a free open source browser that blends or rather embeds itself into any open application and a casual observer wouldn’t know that you are surfing. Ghostzilla runs inside the window space of any other application, say MS Office or Outlook or even Windows Explorer. Further, the colors of the page are toned down – font color is changed to gray and pictures don’t appear unless you hover the mouse over it.


When you move the mouse out of the window, the browser instantly disappears. To bring back the browser move the mouse pointer to the left edge of the screen, then to the right and back to the left. Ghostzilla is the perfect solution to surf discreetly at office. Read the full review.

Decreased Productivity is a similar tool available for Firefox that sanitizes the appearance of web pages allowing you to browse discreetly.

Other tips:

  • Always keep a Bosskey handy.
  • Use keyboard shortcut Win+M (minimize) or Win+D (show desktop) to instantly clear your screen of all Windows.
  • More goofing advice at WikiHow.

If you know any other tricks, do share with us.

This Article Has 3 Comments
  1. KallAngo Reply

    Hello… Nice post !!!

    I remember some time ago, when I see a screen saver that shows a fake sistem working.

    It has some graphics on the screen and looks like your computer is processing many things to you.

    Just like Fake Progress Bar ( ) does but, more complex with more fake informations and proccess running on the screen.

    But, I Can't remember the name of this screen saver and I look for something like this for so many time…

    There is some one who know any software or screensaver that simulates the sistem working like this ?¿


  2. Kaushik Patowary Reply

    @KallAngo: The fake progress bar is a nice decoy. However, that doesn't exactly fit in the above article. I should have made this clearer.

    There are two ways of goofing at work 1)Playing games or surfing and 2) doing nothing at all.

    This article discusses the first type – you sit on your desk and appear to be working but actually you are playing games.

    The second type of goofing is a bit different. Here you pretend to do some other task, to avoid working on your desk.

    The Fake Progress Bar is more suited to the second type. Run the program and make it look as if you are installing some application, and in the meantime take a break. The screensaver you mention is another way of bluffing, after all, you can't play games and run the screensaver at the same time.

    Some other tricks to simply waste time are:

    # Take drink breaks and have long discussion with your colleagues near the water cooler and whenever the boss is within earshot, throw in a couple of work related jargon even if it's out of context like "layout", "bounce rate", "bitrate" .. anything that sounds like you're having an official discussion.

    # Get your phone to ring itself, take the call, go out and have long break.
    # Loosen all cables and cards inside the CPU cabinet and when you are showing a colleague some work related work, give the cabinet a little kick. The loosened cards will fall out and the display will freeze or simply go off. You can now spend an hour pretending to fix your computer, and your colleague will be your alibi.

  3. Adrian Reply

    There always ALT+TAB to open a document you were working on!

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