It's a smart rule-of-thumb to never use your work computer or phone to conduct personal business. But with the average wedding taking hundreds of hours to plan, it's likely you'll have to dedicate some on-the-job time to wedding planning.
But remember, says Vicki Salemi, career expert for Monster, "your employer can easily monitor all of the moves you make on company-owned devices - and if you're caught? It's bad news." Even if you boss doesn't give you the boot, he or she could put you on an official performance improvement plan or force you into an awkward talk about how you need to focus on your job.
The key, then, is to use your work time smartly to wedding plan - and in ways that won't get you in trouble. And Salemi is here to show you how.
1. Create mini breaks.
Think about all the time you probably spend at the coffee machine, says Salemi. "A few minutes here and five minutes there adds up over the course of the day," she points out. So rather than grab your regular cup of Joe when you need a break, "use this time to schedule one to two 15-minute breaks per day where you're incredibly productive. Go outside or in the lobby - essentially anywhere away from your desk - and make wedding-related calls from your personal phone."
2. Set a timer.
Warns Salemi, "Even more important than creating time for wedding planning is remembering to stop and be respectful of your job." After all, when you're dishing to your florist about centerpieces or trying to figure out those last few vows, it's all too easy to let serious work time slip by. "Setting alarms to remind you when your 15-minute planning break is up is mandatory," says Salemi, "especially because 15 minutes online can quickly turn into 30 if we're not micromanaging ourselves."
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3. Leverage your lunch hours.
When was the last time you actually took a lunch, rather than scarf down a salad or Seamless order as you replied to work emails? "Odds are, you probably don't take a full hour normally, so you should totally take the advantage of it when you're planning your wedding," says Salemi. "You're entitled to more than 10 minutes at your desk with a sandwich in one hand and mouse in the other."
4. Keep it quiet.
Fact: A bride's favorite thing to talk about is her wedding. "It will be tempting to share pictures of your wedding gown with your coworkers, but please do your best to not dish about the wedding at the office," Salemi says. "That's what brunch is for. Just like you wouldn't constantly update colleagues about your job interviews, you should keep wedding planning out of water cooler conversations."
5. Arrive early.
If you regularly log in from 9 to 5, consider arriving to your cubicle by 8 a.m. for an uninterrupted hour of wedding planning. "Getting to the office a little earlier isn't a bad idea if you need to update your wedding to-do list or get organized," Salemi says. "Giving yourself the start of the workday as a deadline will help get you into the habit of efficiently working on wedding-related tasks for a set period of time - and then putting them aside until your next break."
6. Use social media to research, not share.
Says Salemi, "During your planning breaks you may use social media to research things like floral arrangements, look up vendors, schedule appointments, and more. And it may be tempting to retweet articles or post photos on your Pinterest board, but refrain during work hours." Your boss wants to see proof you were working, after all - not proof that you used on-the-work hours to find the perfect chandelier earrings to go with your gown. "Stay mum on social at the office, and instead, make note of sites you're exploring so you can go back later and share all you want, on your own time," she says.