Thursday, September 17, 2009

De-Stress Thursday

15 Ways to Maximize Your Lunch Hour!

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:

  1. 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.

  2. 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.

  3. 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.

  4. 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.

  5. Yelp it
    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.

  6. Map it
    Avoid spending your lunch time getting lost while trying to find the restaurant. Use Google Maps or Yahoo Maps to get directions before heading out.

  7. 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.

  8. Don’t bring work to lunch
    Laptops, work files, and meeting notes should also remain at the office. Don’t work, eat!

  9. 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.

  10. Don’t overeat
    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.

  11. Eat slower
    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.

  12. 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.

  13. 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.

  14. 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.

  15. Make lunch dates
    Make your lunch more enjoyable and social by going with friends. Just try not to talk about work.

Written by Chanpory Rith


At Home With SewSuzanne said...

I LOVE YOUR BLOG!!! So very fun! I am following you, and adding your blog button to mine! You are great!

Intense Guy said...

The frequent dinner card is a good idea. Part of "de-stressing" is going to a place where everyone (on the wait staff) knows your name and is always glad you came...

...and they even know that you will want a diet coke so they bring it without asking.

LadyStyx said...

These might work for some companies but I've been in businesses where the ONLY way to get peace and quiet during lunch was to do one of 2 things:

01) eat in my office with the door closed and the lights OFF. It was a big ol flag to leave me the heck alone! Do you think I could have eaten in peace in the break room? Nope. I got hunted down. This happened in more than one business.

02) Leave the building. This wasn't exactly a best option because I never had any money to go anywhere nor a way to get there usually.

Never did decide who the biggest offenders were. the other employees....or the damn management.

Anonymous said...

Hmmm, good tips but I would nerd an actual lunch break in order to use them. ;)

Christina said...

Good info. But the wheel of food.LOL that killed me.

sherri said...

Great list.

I agree- lunch should be for lunch NOT work!

Even if you have to go outside to eat (if there's no time to leave) it is a good thing to just change your scenery.

Grand Pooba said...

Don't bring work to lunch? I'm always bringing lunch to work! I seriously should stop eating lunch at my desk as I work. I get an hour lunch but I never really take it (I usually blog instead lol)

Deanna said...

Great tips. Wish I had had them when I was working full time because I routinely broke every one of them!

Mighty M said...

I pack a lunch for my husband every day! ;-)

Nina said...

My lunch is very important to me. First it is my time, I do eat in every day at my desk, but I close my office door, enjoy my food, turn on the music and read a few blogs. Exactly how I like it! It is just never long enough.

Like right now, it is time to go back to work.

Kathy B! said...

I usually just skip lunch. It seems productive but it violates a couple of those rules!!

Janelle said...

I think you may have just saved my life (or at least me from many-a-arguements)with that Wheel of Lunch! Love it!

Mimi said...

Us stay at home mom's can take as much lunch as we want, lol!

Sara's Sweet Surprise said...

Greetings ~ I'm finally back from a summer long blogcation.

What a helpful list of de-stressing suggestions. As summer comes to a close and the holiday season approaches these tips would come in very handy.

I ventured through your past posts to read about *Lucy*. I adore kitties and more so those who rescue them. She's so lovable.
How's it going with eliminating the appetite for litter? I must have missed the post about Sasha....

I've enjoyed catching up. Please stop by...I look forward to the return of your company.
Sweet wishes,

blueviolet said...

That 20 minute trick really does work!

My hubby always keeps me informed about dirty kitchens and roachy restaurants. He hears everything!

Grace Matthews said...

These are some great ideas. BTW you have some great pictures on your website. I love it!

AliceKay said...

Beautiful photo

ChicagoLady said...

I eat at my desk, but only because it generally is quieter there than anyplace else, during lunch. I like to read, and people group off and go into the lunch room, or conference rooms, so my quiet place is usually my desk. However, there are times when people are working through their lunch for whatever reason, but then decide to yap through it instead, so I get up and walk away to read someplace else. I usually end up on the couch by our front door where no one is, lol.