In our obsession with productivity, you might think this article is about how to multi-task and use your lunch hour to work more efficiently. It’s not.
In fact, your lunch hour should be the least “productive” moment in your day. Lunch is a micro-vacation from work. It should be relaxed, pleasurable, and enjoyable.
If your lunch hour only lasts a mere 20 minutes–or just doesn’t exist anymore–here’s how to turn it around and make it joyful:
Put it on your calendar
To avoid getting stuck in back-to-back meetings all day, schedule your lunch as if it’s a meeting in itself. On shared calendar systems like MeetingMaker or iCal, make sure the office can see that you’re booked at this time. Your lunch is sacred, so don’t allow anyone to book meetings with you during this time.
Eat lunch at the same time everyday
Once it’s on your calendar, eat lunch consistently everyday at the same time. This keeps your body in a rhythm, but it also trains your office to know when you’re unavailable.
Go an hour later or earlier
Beat the long lines, by going to lunch during off-peak times, such as 11am-noon or 1–2pm. You’ll get speedier service and no stress-inducing crowds. Since you’ll be in the office while everyone else is eating, you’ll also get fewer interruptions and more time to work.
Automate lunch choices with the Wheel of Food
Stop wasting time deciding where to eat. Spin the Wheel of Food, and let it pick for you.
Once you land on a restaurant, use review sites such as Yelp to research it. Keep an eye out for reports of stuck-up waitresses, disgusting food, and breeding cockroaches.
Ditch your phone
Eliminate interruptions and compulsive text-messaging by leaving your mobile phone at work. I admit, this is my worst habit. It takes away time from truly enjoying a delicious meal. And when other people are with me, it’s just plain rude.
Don’t bring work to lunch
Laptops, work files, and meeting notes should also remain at the office. Don’t work, eat!
Eat away from your desk
To fully separate work from lunch, eat away from your desk. You’ll avoid the temptation to check email, take phone calls, or browse gossip sites. Plus, it keeps your desk clean and free of crumbs.
You must enjoy the pleasure of eating, but be careful about overstuffing yourself. If you get too full at lunch, you’ll enter a food coma when you return to work. So instead of being alert and more efficient, you’ll just be drowsy and unproductive.
It takes about 20 minutes for your brain to register when you’re full. So to avoid overeating, eat slowly for 20 minutes before deciding if you’re still hungry. This helps you avoid unpleasant food comas. And according to scientists in fancy lab coats, it also helps you lose weight.
Take the full lunch break
Done eating before your lunch hour is up? Don’t rush back to the office. Take the rest of your break to take a walk, read a book, or twirl under the sun. Do anything, except work.
Pack your lunch
To make more time available for relaxation during your lunch hour, pack unch ahead of time. You’ll avoid the hassle of dealing with restaurants, and it’ll save you money.
Get a frequent diner card
If you visit the same restaurant often, ask for a frequent diner’s card. Besides saving you a little bit of money, you’ll get treated better as a regular customer.
Make lunch dates
Make your lunch more enjoyable and social by going with friends. Just try not to talk about work.
How do you make the most of your lunch? Are you a munch-and-go person, or do you relish every bite? Share your tips and experiences in the comments
If you liked this article, please bookmark it in del.icio.us. Thank you!