How to pretend to be productive while looking at memes

Vivian Roan/Staff

Critics think memes are a waste of time, but in reality, they can be the only thing saving us from staring lonesomely into the distance and falling asleep at our desks. If you, like us, rely on dank memes to get through the day, here are 10 important tips to make it look like you’re doing something productive instead:

1. Nod knowingly

The key to making it look like you’re engrossed in work is to nod like you know what’s going on. It could be an “oh, I finally understand, this is great!” happy nod, or a “this is terrible, look at these data trends” sad nod. Whatever fits the mood.

2. Try not to smile

A smile is the easiest way to give yourself away. Just don’t. Smiling isn’t normal at UC Berkeley, so you’re probably already a pro at this.

3. Look alive

Remember to look up once in a while and gauge the environment. Look around for a bit, make eye contact with a couple of people and show everyone you’re alive and focused before gluing your eyes back to your screen.

4. Click and type randomly

Make it look like you’re working hard or taking notes. Type something random or click around your screen — bonus points if you have a physical mouse instead of a trackpad. To make this easier, just reply to your texts on your laptop and it’s a win-win.

5. Split your screen

If you have a Mac, learn how to use screen shortcuts — you’ll have yourself switching between tabs, whizzing between windows and pulling up spreadsheets with two taps of your keyboard in no time. Use these handy shortcuts to quickly minimize your memes when you think there’s someone important behind you.

6. Do NOT giggle

This is even worse than smiling. You could be smiling at a great lecture slide, but if you’re laughing at it, then you’re in trouble.

7. Rely on the person next to you

If you’re in class, sit next to a friend and sporadically look at their notes. This way you can ask questions without paying the slightest bit of attention and no one will suspect a thing.

8. Sit in the front row

Look at memes right in front of your professor — you’re safe there because people always trust the students in the first row.

9. Turn down screen brightness

If your brightness is turned down enough, the people around you won’t be able to tell what you’re looking at. If this sounds like a good idea but you want to enjoy a full view of your memes, get yourself one of those screen privacy filters to block side views of your screen.

10. Perfect the “I’m super bored, I promise” look

As long as you make sure you look sufficiently bored and disinterested, you’ll be fine. Don’t smile too hard, don’t look happy, or maybe try to look vaguely confused. You’ll fit right into work or a classroom!

Contact Mahira Dayal at [email protected].

A previous version of the photo credit accompanying this article incorrectly stated that a photo taken by Vivian Roan was a courtesy photo. In fact, it should have been credited as a staff photo.