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“Work” From Home In March

Make up for last year’s withdrawal by overdosing now!

Photo Infinity
Your new setup but with, you know, basketball on.

About a year ago, Wisconsin went into Assembly Hall and played a thriller to clinch a share of the regular season Big 10 title. That eight game win streak was stopped by all-time defensive player Utah Jazz center Rudy Gobert a few days later, and quite frankly I’m itching for the next few weeks of college basketball insanity.

But I also have to work.

When the NBA and NHL playoffs were rescheduled to include “11 AM on a Tuesday” games, I picked up a few tips on how to show up to Pebbles’ birthday party and the Order of the Water Buffalo - I mean juggle responsibility and hobbies. I now share this advice.

Note: enough of this advice is satirical to give plausible deniability.

Start Now

The major conference tournaments start this week. Most championship games are scheduled for after a regular 9-5, but there are seven conferences playing games on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday afternoons that have the depth to make some of those quarterfinal games good viewing.

Adjust now. If your company encourages video on during conferences, switch to where you’ll watch conference tournaments and choose a new fake background. Here’s a suggestion:

You need to lean into your sports fandom a little. March Madness is a big enough deal that if you’re someone that wants to watch a lot of it, coworkers will most likely know that about you. Don’t completely shut down those conversations. Give them a little, and they’ll leave you alone about it.

Mute Your TV During Meetings

Don’t screw up the obvious. You think you can juggle muting yourself and the TV so nobody catches on. I say don’t try. There’s only a handful of announcers in the world worth listening to, and most of them work in professional wrestling. Now, can you still watch? Maybe. You know how well you can pick up when a meeting is circling around to you. I’d practice sweeping your eyesight up and down between your work screen, it’s camera, and the TV. Staring directly into your camera occasionally really freaks people out because they’re looking at you on the screen, so you can head off some attention that way.

Pick Your Spots

Most games this week will tip off before lunch. There will most likely be some good games... but how interested are you in the first half? Keep a tab open to a refreshing scoreboard to see when you can passively watch the one you have on or you need to switch channels to an upset in the making.

But also, you can take a guess at when that thrilling finish could happen. Now. With a calendar appointment that says something like “Important Project Deadline Protection” as your reminder that basketball things are happening. Or better yet, those long annual compliance trainings you need to take? Dedicate a smartly chosen hour this week to knocking some of those out.

Make Microsoft Office Work For You

People have things they need from you. They will ask you this via email. You can give them things they need when you need them to know you’re working. Those critically important emails can hang out in your drafts folder for a bit until the under eight timeout, can’t they? You need to review them like Bo Boroski. They’re that important. Or, open up a file on a shared drive, make one change, and still keep it checked out.

Cram the actual work in before games tip, but parse it out at your discretion.

ILLUSTRATION: March Madness The Kansas City Star/Tribune News Service via Getty Images

You Deserve This

Seriously. It’s been a year into a pandemic, and it’s been a year. Right now we’re in that weird lull between holiday vacations and the official start of summer. A few people you care about have gotten vaccinations, but not everyone. There’s an uncomfortable mix of hope and caution right now. Don’t get burned out now.

Pour Your Beer Into A Coffee Mug

  1. Say “Hold on, I need to refill” while waving your mug.
  2. Mute your microphone and go off camera.
  3. Crack open your beer and pour it so the vessel is at a steep angle to greatly reduce foam.
  4. Come back to your meeting.