On a typical day at work, what do you normally do for lunch? Do you tend to grab something that you can eat out of a bag from the fast food place down the street from your office? Or, are you someone who brings a lunch from home and, if so, is that homemade lunch eaten at your desk while you try to get through a few more emails or do you join your co-workers in the break room or courtyard for some conversation? Maybe you make a concerted effort to head out for a nice lunch at least once a week with people who may be valuable networking contacts. Or, you could be rushing around to complete six errands that you won’t instead have to do after picking up your kid from day care.
What you do with your lunch hour matters, for several reasons. First, what you put in your body makes a difference. Someone recently wrote to the folks over at the website Careerealism and asked if her boss’ voiced concern that her junk food lunch choices would make her tired for the rest of the afternoon were reason for concern. And, the answer was yes. Choosing the wrong foods will make you sluggish and less productive. And, if your boss emphasizes healthy eating and notices you sitting at your desk with french fries several times a week, he will factor this into his opinion of you, whether he does it consciously or not.
Lunchtime is also important because you need to give yourself a break. Did you know a recent survey showed that only one-third of workers take their lunch breaks? Don’t allow yourself to sit at a desk staring at a computer screen all day. Enjoy some down time with your co-workers. Not only does this give your brain a rest, but it also builds a happier workplace and may give you the chance to hear some perspectives about your field of work that are new to you.
And, while I don’t recommend putting this pressure on yourself every day (see earlier mention of needing a break), lunch is a great time to network. Professionals already have their brains clicked into “work” mode at noon and someone may be more inclined to discuss that job opening in her office while eating salads then later that evening when she is trying to watch her son’s soccer game.
Do you carve out time for lunch every day? What is the way that you prefer to use this half-hour or hour of your time in order to make the rest of your day more productive?