Things to do by yourself with pencil and paper...

So I’ve started a new job to get me through a degree at uni. It’s an inbound call centre and we are not allowed to read or bring in anything to break the monotony during the quiet periods, most people just chat in between calls. As I’m not one to engage in the mindless drivel that most people talk about in the few minutes between calls I’m at a bit of a loss as to how to occupy myself.

We have access to pencils and paper. Any suggestions? I’ve already got sketching and song lyrics down pat, any other suggestions would be appreciated.

Prove Fermat’s Last Theorem - for bonus points, use only the margin.

If there were a like button I would click it.

Design crossword puzzles.

Littlebro used to design DnD dungeons in class, but I don’t know if you’re into table RP.

Start a mini-comic about ridiculous calls or coworkers (just don’t let them see it).

Draw every species of ____ known to man.

Create the master stick-figure torture dungeon that would make any fourth-grader ashamed.

Create your own language.

Are you allowed to play with your cell phone? You could listen to podcasts or music, or read an ebook on it.

My god, am I that old? You could write some letters. As in, to your friends! Hell, I still write letters.

Personally I think these rules are so stupid. Let employees bring in a book or something quiet to do. Then, punish them if they are not quick about putting said entertainment away when the call comes in. Don’t make them sit there and twiddle their thumbs! That’s just stupid.

If there are other bored people, there are a number of games you can play with paper and pencil. Tic-tac-toe and its ilk, of course (including Connect 4, if you want something a little less trivial), but also other games like one of my personal favorites, Dots and Boxes. You could also play Hex with pencil and paper, but you’d probably want to print out a bunch of grids beforehand.

You’ve just described my version of hell. I never get how it’s OK to chat when work is slow, but OMG you can’t READ! What would the world come to if we allowed people to READ?!?

Thanks everyone, not my ideal job to be sure. Perhaps I can just sneak in scraps of novels and hide them between the scraps of paper…

Print out a cryptic crossword and keep it folded in your pocket when not in use?

Oh I like this one a lot! Sneaky and inconspicuous!

I used to have the exact same problem. I did a lot of the suggested things, like creating D&D dungeons and creatures (largely just for fun) and doing crossword puzzles or other games. I also used to draw a good deal.

I also did a lot of practical things like pay bills and organizing financial records, writing grocery lists or things-to-do lists, and make little cheat-sheets for the job to post around my cube. You might even be able to do some homework, if you can avoid using your schoolbooks. Or, do clever things like photocopy the 6 pages that you need, and use those, since it’s easier to hide in with a stack of papers.

If you have any interest, you might also ask your supervisor if there’s something else for you to do in your spare time (presuming you’re already doing a good job overall). I wouldn’t ask this until you feel like you have the job down, and your stats are good, because otherwise you should probably spend your spare time trying to improve your performance or become more familiar with the job. Your supervisor might have some mindless busywork for you to do, and in my experience, getting in good with your boss generally means they let the occasional book or magazine slide – or they might give you a less conspicuous cube, where nobody can see what you are doing. :slight_smile:

Construct a computer using bits of paper.

My mp4 player has an “ebooks” option. OK, so all it can read is txt files, but hey, any book in Gutenberg has a txt version. Your cellphone may even be able to read those, if you have a fancy one.

I should point out there is a strict phones off policy and there really is no privacy to speak off.
It’s ‘log in and sit there with a head piece for your shift’ so there is also not going to be a situation of getting better at the job and being able to convince the boss I can multitask, but thanks for the more technological suggestions.

This the most rigidly structured and procedures based job I’ve ever been in, 10 minute break during a 5 hour shift and you will be looking at a performance review if you are not logged back into your terminal at 10 minutes and 30 seconds, used more than 3% of your shift going to the loo during said shift? Performance review. The pay is excellent and it’s very flexible around uni, so I suppose I can’t complain.

I wrote a romance novel under those very same circumstances.

Hahaha! I love it…

"Our eyes met across the desk, his locking on to mine just shy of hiding behind the monitor.
I could hear his husky voice outlining the purchase, the total dollars spent spelt out in syllables on his moist lips tingled me from my ear head piece to my toes…

… In the heat of the moment I still notice my watch, ‘It’s 9 minutes and 20’ I gasp breathlessly as his thrusts bring me close to completion. ‘Damn performance review!’ He grunts ‘Let’s do this for another 50 seconds’…"

One page wars perhaps.