The lunch hour. That hour in the middle of your working day when you can do whatever you want. What do you do with your lunch break?
I have worked in a number of large offices and seen people doing all sorts to just pass the time, from reading, sleeping, browsing the internet… you get the idea.
Then there are those who see their lunch breaks as another way to get ahead with the day’s work, be productive with personal tasks, or climb that corporate ladder.
The aggressively productive and proactive people live by the mantra, ‘work harder than everyone else, and work when they are resting’.
Finding productive ways to use your lunch break can give your that competitive edge. You can still find time to have something to eat too, so don’t worry.
So if you’re looking for ways to squeeze some more productivity out of your day. Using this hour effectively is one way to give you an edge over those who just burn up the hour before going back to work.
8 Productive Ways to Use Your Lunch Break
Get out of the Office
If you stay at your desk you’re more likely to just carry on with what you were doing. While leaving the office gives you the impetus to do something different.
You are also more likely to get disturbed in the office. Even if it means going to your car to get some space, do that. You will get more done, and be more productive when you get back in the office.
Set and Review Goals Weekly
Without to-do lists and keeping track of your goals, it will all become a blur. The best time to assess this is on your lunch break when you get some down time.
Basically you are using your lunch hour to be more productive with your working time. It’s hard to take a step back when you’re busy and under pressure.
Get Some Exercise
People who are successful understand the importance of being in good physical shape. The benefits are endless and I’d recommend anyone get some exercise on their lunch break.
Being sat down all day with little movement is bad for your health. So even something as simple as a 30-45 minute walk can make a huge difference. It’s a great stress reducer too.
Work on Developing Your Career
You can take an hour out from working and still work on your career. Check if there air any studying options available to further your career. You can achieve a lot in five hours a week, and of course it beats studying at home in the evening.
You can also use the time look for other positions in the company, or externally. Brushing up on some of the desired skills required. Some people even develop their own businesses in their lunch hour, anything is possible one step at a time.
Work on Your Friendships and Relationships with Others
The lunch hour is often the only opportunity to talk with some of your work colleagues. So hit the lunch room if there are new faces in there and say hello.
I used to hook up with different friends who worked nearby on different days of the week. Staying in touch, and actually seeing friends in person can be hard to fit in around a bury work and home life schedule.
Prepare Good Healthy Food
As tempting as it is to go grab some fast food, this is the worst thing you can do. I’m not being a complete killjoy, most offices eat something fun on Friday’s, so a cheat food day isn’t off the table.
But eating good, healthy food is a good way to spend your time. You will have more energy for the afternoon, be more mentally alert, and feel better. So next time you’re at the supermarket, pick up that salad and some tasty fruit.
Run Personal Errands
For me, there are few things more satisfying about a lunch hour that running a load of personal errands. Knowing I then have my evening to do what I want.
Try planning the errands so you’re maximizing your time. If you need to do some food shopping, find a shop nearer to your office than home. Or plan out your week on Monday around which errands you will run on what days.
Take a Power Nap
I have seen people napping for various reasons. A new baby at home, a power nap to drive through the afternoon harder, or just a recharge of batteries. If you don’t have anything else to do, it’s better than twiddling your thumbs.
There is some scientific evidence to show that a quick nap improves mental health, health of your heart, and productivity. So if you have never tried this, I recommend you do.
Phil lives in England, UK, and has around 20 years experience as a professional life, career and executive coach. He started this blog to help others find and define their own self development journey. Blogging about a wide range of topics to help facilitate a better future.