How productive is your lunch hour and how do you spend it? ?
Do you quickly gobble down your sandwich whilst still typing away at your desk? Or, do you spend the hour aimlessly scrolling through social media, stuck in the dark and dingy staff room? Do you fuel up on a strong black coffee and a bar chocolate?
Now, how do you feel after this lunch hour? Drained? Tired? Uninspired?
The chances are, after this unproductive hour during the working day, you will not return to your desk feeling energized, motivated or inspired for the afternoon ahead.
So, how can you spend your lunch time productively and wisely to ensure that you get the absolute most out of your afternoon at work?
Well, sit tight to hear our top five tips on how have a productive lunch hour:
1. Eat on your lunch break
It is no secret that filling our bodies with the correct fuel can enhance our performance, our mood and our productivity levels.
In a world so focused on fast food and takeaways, being tempted to consume cheap food on our lunch break, that is readily available at the click of a button, is all too tempting. However, it goes without saying that we really should be attempting to consume as much of the correct stuff as possible, as eating right has hundreds of health benefits.
Bananas, for example, are a great lunchtime option, as researcher Leigh Gibson found that “the brain works best with about 25 grams of glucose circulating in the blood stream”. This is about the amount found in a banana, meaning that a banana at lunch may dramatically improve your brain function for the rest of the day!
Other foods, such as fresh fish, contain omega-3 which is a fatty-acid that dramatically improves brain function, therefore making it an excellent addition to a lunch time dish. Other ‘health foods’ such as blueberries, whole-grains, nuts and drinking lots of water, have all been shown to have both mental and physical health benefits and will help you to have a productive afternoon at work!
Most importantly, when eating this super healthy food… enjoy it. Take it away from your desk and eat it in a nice, calming and bright place. This will give you valuable time to reflect on your thoughts, focus on something other than work and enjoy your food.
2. Workout for a productive lunch hour
As it has been found that our productivity at work increases with exercise, specifically because it increases our muscular strength and decreases the body mass index, giving us more energy, it is important that we all try to exercise as much as possible.
However, with our increasingly hectic schedules, more and more of us a struggling to fit exercising into our busy routines – so how about killing two birds with one stone and fitting an exercise regime into your lunch hour. This allows you to get your (sometimes dreaded!) daily activity in and return to the office feeling more productive and enthused than when you left.
If you’re a fitness fanatic, squeezing in an intense gym session, a quick 5k run or hot yoga session might appeal to you… only if you have the option to shower afterwards though! However, even going for a 3o minute walk, doing some gentle static stretching or doing a 10 minute high intensity calorie burner will get you moving after a morning of sitting down. This movement will increase the blood flow around your body and leave you feeling energized and motivated!
3. Spend some time in nature
Weather dependent, you should consider heading outside to spend some time being at one with nature. Going outside changes our environment, shifts our focus and gives us a different perspective. In turn, this then clears our head and relaxes us. In fact, research has also shown that being outside in nature elicits a calming response, leading to lowered stress… and being less stressed is good for everyone!
How about heading out side to workout during your productive lunch hour? Or, perhaps you’ll prefer a less sweaty activity. Maybe consider going for a quick walk. Or, taking your lunch on a date to the local park bench, instead of t0 to your desk!
4. Socialize with your team
As humans are incredibly sociable species, it comes as no surprise that there are many benefits to both our physical and mental health when it comes to socialization. Often, after socializing we will feel feel more energized as we have focused on something other than work.
Research has shown that by interacting with others, we are improving our long term memory formation and recall, which protects the brain from neurodegenerative diseases. So, socialization is important not only for our immediate productivity but also for our long term neurological health. Especially for those of us who work in offices or job where we do not get much contact with others.
5. Make an afternoon plan as part of a productive lunch hour
No one can deny that making plans is helpful for all kinds of productivity. Whether its revising for an exam, deciding what to say in a meeting or prepping for your weekly food shop, plans help us to make order of our thoughts and keep on top of what we have to do.
At some point during your lunch hour create a list of everything you want to achieve in the afternoon. This way, you can do your exercise, eat your lunch outside and socialize knowing full well that when you get back into the office, you know exactly what you need to focus on and get done for the next three or so hours.
So there you have it. Five ways to be more productive on your lunch hour and get the most out of each day.
Do you have any tricks or tips that help you stay focused and motivated for your afternoon at work? If yes, post them below as I’d love to hear them and I’m sure everyone else would too!