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How To Use Your Lunch Break To Increase Work Productivity

How To Use Your Lunch Break To Increase Work Productivity

Lunchtime breaks up the day and if used wisely allows you to return to work feeling refreshed, energized, and clear-minded. In fact, what you do (or don’t do) during your lunch break can easily dictate the rest of your day.

It’s a common misconception that to get more work done it’s better to plow straight through and continue working without taking a break. This often results in low productivity due to fatigue, stress, and unclear thought processes.

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Being more strategic with what you do during your lunch break not only leads to you being more at productive it’s also a golden opportunity to add more health, wellness, and balance in your life. There is a lot of good you can create in one hour built over a daily basis. By choosing to not take a lunch break or to just sit at your desk eating and surfing the internet is a wasted opportunity to do something beneficial for yourself.

As a big believer in taking lunch breaks, I’ve been able to excel at my daily work tasks while also getting fit and healthy on the side. Here are some lunch break ideas and activities that helped me create more productivity and will work for you too.

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Meditate.

Just as we take a shower to clean our body, meditation is an ideal way to clean our mind. Whether it’s through simple breathing exercises or using a focus point technique, meditation allows us to clear the subconscious junk in our mind such as worries, past traumatic events, and negative thoughts.

During your lunch break find a park or somewhere quiet where you can spend 10 – 30 minutes to sit still and focus on your breath, listen to a guided meditation, or focus on an object while reciting an affirmation.

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Exercise.

Exercise boosts our serotonin levels and pumps us full of happy chemicals. This elevates our mood and provides us with more focus which leads to better quality work. If you have a shower available at your workplace go for a run or bike ride out in nature. Alternatively you can hit the gym and do a spin class or pump some iron.

Getting your heart rate up at lunchtime increases your fitness, burns away stress and clears your mind so you can work more efficiently. Lunchtime exercise is also a good way to add activity to a sedentary lifestyle focused around sitting at desks and in front of a computer all day.

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Join a yoga class.

Yoga not only strengthens and stretches our physical body, it also calms the mind, reduces stress, and slows down our thoughts. Many yoga studios offer 45-minute lunchtime classes, so you still have time to grab lunch before you return to work in a calmer and clearer state.

Drink a green juice.

Before you eat your lunch drink a freshly squeezed organic green juice or find a high quality cold pressed version. The infusion of vitamins, minerals, and enzymes will give you an energy boost, allowing you to get more focused, efficient, and productive. Drink a green juice any time during your work day when you need an instant brain boost. Choose a green juice over coffee or sugar-laden snacks and notice the difference.

Go on a gratitude walk.

Making a daily list of what you are grateful for will change your life. The energy behind being appreciative of what you already have opens you up to receive more of what you want. Find a park, area with water, or walk down the street and make mental notes of everything you are grateful for in life. Whether it’s the weather, having a safe roof over your head, or a fulfilling career, being in gratitude elevates your mood and allows you to be more happy and productive when you return to work.

Featured photo credit: Tim Gouw via unsplash.com

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Kelly Weiss

Purpose-driven business + lifestyle coach

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Last Updated on March 25, 2020

How Do You Change a Habit (According to Psychology)

How Do You Change a Habit (According to Psychology)

Habits are hard to kill, and rightly so. They are a part and parcel of your personality traits and mold your character.

However, habits are not always something over-the-top and quirky enough to get noticed. Think of subtle habits like tapping fingers when you are nervous and humming songs while you drive. These are nothing but ingrained habits that you may not realize easily.

Just take a few minutes and think of something specific that you do all the time. You will notice how it has become a habit for you without any explicit realization. Everything you do on a daily basis starting with your morning routine, lunch preferences to exercise routines are all habits.

Habits mostly form from life experiences and certain observed behaviors, not all of them are healthy. Habitual smoking can be dangerous to your health. Similarly, a habit could also make you lose out on enjoying something to its best – like how some people just cannot stop swaying their bodies when delivering a speech.

Thus, there could be a few habits that you would want to change about yourself. But changing habits is not as easy as it seems.

In this article, you will learn why it isn’t easy to build new habits, and how to change habits.

What Makes It Hard To Change A Habit?

To want to change a particular habit means to change something very fundamental about your behavior.[1] Hence, it’s necessary to understand how habits actually form and why they are so difficult to actually get out of.

The Biology

Habits form in a place what we call the subconscious mind in our brain.[2]

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Our brains have two modes of operation. The first one is an automatic pilot kind of system that is fast and works on reflexes often. It is what we call the subconscious part. This is the part that is associated with everything that comes naturally to you.

The second mode is the conscious mode where every action and decision is well thought out and follows a controlled way of thinking.

A fine example to distinguish both would be to consider yourself learning to drive or play an instrument. For the first time you try learning, you think before every movement you make. But once you have got the hang of it, you might drive without applying much thought into it.

Both systems work together in our brains at all times. When a habit is formed, it moves from the conscious part to the subconscious making it difficult to control.

So, the key idea in deconstructing a habit is to go from the subconscious to the conscious.

Another thing you have to understand about habits is that they can be conscious or hidden.

Conscious habits are those that require active input from your side. For instance, if you stop setting your alarm in the morning, you will stop waking up at the same time.

Hidden habits, on the other hand, are habits that we do without realizing. These make up the majority of our habits and we wouldn’t even know them until someone pointed them out. So the first difficulty in breaking these habits is to actually identify them. As they are internalized, they need a lot of attention to detail for self-identification. That’s not all.

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Habits can be physical, social, and mental, energy-based and even be particular to productivity. Understanding them is necessary to know why they are difficult to break and what can be done about them.

The Psychology

Habits get engraved into our memories depending on the way we think, feel and act over a particular period of time. The procedural part of memory deals with habit formation and studies have observed that various types of conditioning of behavior could affect your habit formations.

Classical conditioning or pavlovian conditioning is when you start associating a memory with reality.[3] A dog that associates ringing bell to food will start salivating. The same external stimuli such as the sound of church bells can make a person want to pray.

Operant conditioning is when experience and the feelings associated with it form a habit.[4] By encouraging or discouraging an act, individuals could either make it a habit or stop doing it.

Observational learning is another way habits could take form. A child may start walking the same way their parent does.

What Can You Do To Change a Habit?

Sure, habits are hard to control but it is not impossible. With a few tips and hard-driven dedication, you can surely get over your nasty habits.

Here are some ways that make use of psychological findings to help you:

1. Identify Your Habits

As mentioned earlier, habits can be quite subtle and hidden from your view. You have to bring your subconscious habits to an aware state of mind. You could do it by self-observation or by asking your friends or family to point out the habit for your sake.

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2. Find out the Impact of Your Habit

Every habit produces an effect – either physical or mental. Find out what exactly it is doing to you. Does it help you relieve stress or does it give you some pain relief?

It could be anything simple. Sometimes biting your nails could be calming your nerves. Understanding the effect of a habit is necessary to control it.

3. Apply Logic

You don’t need to be force-fed with wisdom and advice to know what an unhealthy habit could do to you.

Late-night binge-watching just before an important presentation is not going to help you. Take a moment and apply your own wisdom and logic to control your seemingly nastily habits.

4. Choose an Alternative

As I said, every habit induces some feeling. So, it could be quite difficult to get over it unless you find something else that can replace it. It can be a simple non-harming new habit that you can cultivate to get over a bad habit.

Say you have the habit of banging your head hard when you are angry. That’s going to be bad for you. Instead, the next time you are angry, just take a deep breath and count to 10. Or maybe start imagining yourself on a luxury yacht. Just think of something that will work for you.

5. Remove Triggers

Get rid of items and situations that can trigger your bad habit.

Stay away from smoke breaks if you are trying to quit it. Remove all those candy bars from the fridge if you want to control your sweet cravings.

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6. Visualize Change

Our brains can be trained to forget a habit if we start visualizing the change. Serious visualization is retained and helps as a motivator in breaking the habit loop.

For instance, to replace your habit of waking up late, visualize yourself waking up early and enjoying the early morning jog every day. By continuing this, you would naturally feel better to wake up early and do your new hobby.

7. Avoid Negative Talks and Thinking

Just as how our brain is trained to accept a change in habit, continuous negative talk and thinking could hamper your efforts put into breaking a habit.

Believe you can get out of it and assert yourself the same.

Final Thoughts

Changing habits isn’t easy, so do not expect an overnight change!

Habits took a long time to form. It could take a while to completely break out of it. You will have to accept that sometimes you may falter in your efforts. Don’t let negativity seep in when it seems hard. Keep going at it slowly and steadily.

More About Changing Habits

Featured photo credit: Mel via unsplash.com

Reference

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