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Some Things to Do While Fake-Working This Week

Washington — The days between Christmas and New Year’s Day are some of the strangest in the American office environment. A critical mass of your co-workers will have foolishly decided to expend some critical vacation days. As a result, those of us Left Behind to work during this week don’t really have all that much work to do or any kind of meaningful supervision. And yet, conscience requires us to spend time in the office.

What is to be done?

1. Clean your office. Your office is a mess! Well maybe it’s just my office. But this is a great 52nd-week activity. It involves being in the office, it’s basically work-related, and you’ve got the time.

2. Read Josh Levin’s profile of Linda Taylor at Slate.com. It’s too long to digest during conventional slacking off but far too brilliant to go unread. Now is the time.

3. Read some listicles.

4. Set up your Amazon subscriptions. Even if you don’t deploy a fake baby, Amazon Subscribe & Save can save you a bunch of time and money on common household items and groceries. But getting started with a set of subscriptions can be tedious. Guess who’s got plenty of time for tedious staring-at-a-computer tasks this week? You!

5. Write your congressman about something. Normal people never send mail to their senator or member of Congress. Consquently, members of Congress’ perception of what voters care about and think is massively skewed by the priorities of socially deviant frequent letter-writers. Step up and be a weirdo for once .

6. Patronize a local business. You are bored at the office today. But at least you’re getting paid. Think of the poor servers working at business district food service establishments suffering through a day of massively reduced sales and tips. Make sure to head out and spend some money. Christmas is a macroeconomic miracle on average, but don’t leave anyone out in the cold.

7. Do your job. There’s probably something useful you could be doing, right?

Yglesias, author of The Rent Is Too Damn High , is Slate’s business and economics correspondent.