5 ways to make your lunch break work for you

01 Aug 2013 behaviours, in employment, motivation, Reference: Monster; fastcompany                

Taking a lunch break is often seen these days as a bit of a luxury. In 2010 a study by Monster revealed that 32% of people said they only took a lunch break  if they weren’t too busy, 21% just sat at their desk to eat lunch and 7% said they never took lunch at all.
The thing is that you do need a break, whether you eat lunch in it or not. If you don’t take a proper break in the middle of your day you end up taking lots of inefficient breaks later on like staring blankly at your emails or surfing randomly for things you don’t really need. You become steadily less productive as the day progresses and your mind takes the breaks (you didn’t officially allow it) anyway.
Here are some ways that you can use your lunch break to make the rest of the day more productive:
1. Go for lunch with your whole team. Whether the company will pay for it or not, it can be a bonding exercise as well as a way to pass around information about whatever you’re working on. Having a good, hearty laugh can be the best way to refresh your mind and body too.
2. Do an exercise class. It may mean you are, in fact, eating lunch at your desk, but if you’ve got in a good 45-50 minutes of exercise you’re going to function a whole lot better in the afternoon.
3. Go for a walk. The fresh air will help clear your mind and banish all that air conditioning. It can give you the perspective you need to think through a problem too.
4. Visit a museum or gallery. Doing anything that is completely different for a short time, especially something that requires a different sort of concentration can be very cathartic. It gives your mind a break from work, while challenging it and therefore energising it at the same time.
5. Find a new space. Just for an hour, go somewhere else, even if it’s just the office kitchen or another meeting room, and use the time to think about something else: your career plan, your to do list for tomorrow or how you could manage your team better.
Plan to do something new on your next lunch break and see what a difference it makes to your productivity and general well being.