Maximizing Your Lunch Break

by Jessica Sommerfield · 0 comments

If you’re like most hourly workers, your company dictates you take an unpaid lunch break every day. While most people use this time to scarf down a mid-day meal, you may still have time to kill after you’ve grabbed a bite to eat.  Instead of dozing, listening to music, or playing Angry Birds, why not make better use of the time to get further ahead in other areas of your life? Thirty or sixty minutes may not seem like enough time to do anything more than eat, but you’d be amazed at what you can fit in, and how utilizing this ‘wasted time’ can help the rest of your life run that much smoother. Here are some suggestions of time-crunching ways to make the most out of the mid-day.

Lunchbreak Time Saver #1: Run Errands
Some of us already do this when we have to, but why not make it voluntary? Many errands only take a few minutes to run, and doing them on your lunch break saves you from running in a hundred different directions after work.  For instance, you might try going to post office, stopping by the bank, shopping for non-perishable groceries and necessities, or dropping off your dry cleaning. Another advantage of running these business-related errands during your lunch is avoiding long lines later in the day when everyone else gets out of work  (I’m sure you’ve experienced the frustration of the line to the bank window at 5:00 on a Friday!).

Lunchbreak Time Saver #2: Work Out
If you have a longer lunch hour and work close to a gym that has a shower, you might consider getting in a noon-time workout session. This is helpful if you get up too early to hit the gym in the morning or use the excuse that you’re too tired by the time you get out of work.  If you don’t have time to clean up after your workout and refuse to return to work smelling funky, choose a lower-intensity activity that won’t make you break a (serious) sweat, such as walking on the treadmill or resistance work. Even 20-30 minutes a day can make a huge impact on your personal fitness. What’s more, you’ll be more energetic and alert when you return to work and the rest of the day, allowing you to accomplish  more than you would have otherwise.

Lunchbreak Time Saver #3: Finish a Project
Many college students find it useful to utilize their lunch break at work to cram in a study session or finish  research for a paper.  Time is especially precious for those who’re working while attending school, so making use of even an hour can have a huge impact. This is one of the best activities for your lunch break because you can usually eat your lunch while you work on your project. You don’t have to be a college student to engage in this activity; projects can be anything on your to-d0 list or bucket list that you never seem to find the time for — organizing your recipes, putting photos in an album, or even learning how to speak Russian!

Lunchbreak Time Saver #4: Get in Quality Time
Casualties of work and daily obligations, the people that mean the most to us often get the least of our time. It’s amazing how far a  20-minute phone call or a shared lunch in the park can go towards maintaining those vital relationships. We under-estimate the power of simple gestures and quality versus quantity of time. Think about one person in your life you haven’t spent enough time with lately, and consider giving them a call or text on your next lunch break.

Whatever you choose to do, start making the most of your lunch hours. Five hours every week can go a long way toward accomplishing tasks, freeing up your evenings, getting in shape, and spending more time with others.

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