Yes...you are super busy at work, and the thought of stepping away from your computer to grab some lunch is giving you anxiety. This is typically how I feel on a daily basis. I know that I have to eat, and the rumbling in my stomach usually reiterates this fact. But what about this report that's due tomorrow? Can I really afford to take an hour for lunch?
The answer is "Yes!" And the reason is simply "because you should!" Now, I know this is not sitting well with some of you, so may I offer a compromise? How about taking lunch and getting some work done at the same time? Perhaps this would alleviate some of your lunch hour guilt. My suggestion is that you take at least 2 days per week and treat yourself to a working lunch outside of the office. A lunch where you still manage to leave the office and get some air, but still get some work done so you won't suffer from lunch hour guilt. Sounds nice, right?! Well, here are 4 Steps to Achieving a Productive Lunch Hour. The goal here is to get some necessary work done while taking a breather from the office environment. Sounds like a great compromise to me!
|I left the office yesterday and headed over to my favorite Japanese restaurant to do some work!|
Step 1. Go At It Alone - The first step to having a productive lunch is to go alone. Your goal is not to chit chat with your office mates...you are looking to get some work done. As such, you need to go at it alone. Simply get up, grab your purse, and head out...you only have an hour!
Step 2. Call In Your Order Ahead Of Time - Prior to heading out for lunch, scope out the restaurant's menu and call in your order. Give yourself a 5 minute window if you are going somewhere close to your work place. When you arrive your meal should almost be ready, and your will have given yourself some additional time to sit and work. If calling in your order is not an option, choose a place where you are familiar with the menu. When you arrive, you won't have to spend much time reviewing the menu.
Step 3. Review and Respond to Emails - While you're waiting for your meal to arrive, get to work reviewing and responding to emails. A while back, I figured out that I spend approximately 60 to 90 minutes per day reviewing and responding to emails. Since checking email is something that you can easily do this from your phone, the lunch hour is a perfect time to catch up. It is also a great way to plan for the tasks you need to attack in the future.
Step 4. Look Back On Your Morning and Plot Your Afternoon - By this time, your meal should be on the table. While eating, take some time to reflect on what you accomplished since coming into the office. How many items have you checked off of your to-do list? How many have you added? While you are looking back on your morning (and eating!), pick out a few tasks that you want to focus on for the afternoon. What do you absolutely need to get done before leaving the office today? Jot those things down (or type it to yourself in an email)...this is now your "hit list" for the afternoon.
|My sashimi platter was delicious! I devoured the entire thing...while checking my email!|
While these steps may seem arduous to the working professional, they are merely an attempt to get you up and out of the office for a little while...and lift your spirits. I fully understand that some days you just can't leave the office, as work sometimes requires you to stay put. But taking advantage of the productive lunch hour compromise can get you away from the office environment (which can be stressful) and allow you to get a little work done. A pretty good compromise...what do you think?