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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 October 22, 2019

How to Focus and Concentrate Better to Boost Productivity

How to Focus and Concentrate Better to Boost Productivity

We live in a world of massive distraction. No matter where you are today, there is always going to be distractions. Your colleagues talking about their latest date, notification messages popping up on your screens, and not just your mobile phone screens. And even if you try to find a quiet place, there will always be someone with a mobile device that is beeping and chirping.

With all these distractions, it is incredibly difficult to concentrate on anything for very long. Something will distract you and that means you will find it very difficult to focus on anything.

So how to focus and concentrate better? How to focus better and produce work that lifts us and takes us closer towards achieving our outcomes?

1. Get Used to Turning off Your Devices

Yes, I know this one is hard for most people. We believe our devices are so vital to our lives that the thought of turning them off makes us feel insecure. The reality is they are not so vital and the world is not going to end within the next thirty minutes.

So turn them off. Your battery will thank you for it. More importantly though is when you are free from your mobile distraction addiction, you will begin to concentrate more on what needs to get done.

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You do not need to do this for very long. You could set a thirty-minute time frame for being completely mobile free. Let’s say you have an important piece of work to complete by lunchtime today. Turn off your mobile device between 10 am and 11 am and see what happens.

If you have never done this before, you will feel very uncomfortable at first. Your brain will be fighting you. It will be telling you all sorts of horror stories such as a meteorite is about to hit earth, or your boss is very angry and is trying to contact you. None of these things is true, but your brain is going to fight you. Prepare yourself for the fight.

Over time, as you do this more frequently, you will soon begin to find your brain fights you less and less. When you do turn on your device after your period of focused work and discover that the world did not end, you have not lost an important customer and all you have are a few email newsletters, a confirmation of an online order you made earlier and a text message from your mum asking you to call about dinner this weekend, you will start to feel more comfortable turning things off.

2. Create a Playlist in Your Favourite Music Streaming App

Many of us listen to music using some form of music streaming service, and it is very easy to create our own playlists of songs. This means we can create playlists for specific purposes.

Many years ago, when I was just starting to drive, there was a trend selling driving compilation tapes and CDs. The songs on these tapes and CDs were uplifting driving music songs. Songs such as C W McCall’s Convoy theme and the Allman Brothers Band’s, Jessica. They were great songs to drive to and helped to keep us awake and focused while we were driving.

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Today, we can create playlists to help us to focus on our work. Choose non-vocal music that has a low tempo. Music from artists such as Ben Böhmer, Ilan Bluestone or Andrew Bayer has the perfect tempo.

Whenever you want to go into deep, focused work, listen to that playlist. What happens is your brain soon associates when you listen to the playlist you created with focused work and it’s time to concentrate on what it is you want to do.

3. Have a Place to Go to When You Need to Concentrate

If you eat, surf online and read at your desk, you will find your desk a very distracting place to do your work. One way to get your brain to understand it is focused work time is, to use the same place each time for just focused work.

This could be a quiet place in your office, or it could be a special coffee shop you use specifically for focused work. Again, what you are doing is associating an environment with focus.

Just as with having a playlist to listen to when you want to concentrate, having a physical place that accomplishes the same thing will also put you in the right frame of mind to be more focused.

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When you do find the right place to do your focused work, then only do focused work there. Never surf, never do any online shopping. Just do your work and then leave. You want to be training your brain to associate focused work with that environment and nothing else.

If you need to make a phone call, respond to an email or message, then go outside and do it. From now on, this place is your special working place and that is all you use it for.

Every morning, I do fifteens minutes of meditation. Each time, I sit down to do my meditation, I use the same music playlist and the same place. As soon as I put my earphones in and sit down in this place, my mind immediately knows it is meditation time and I become relaxed and focused almost immediately. I have trained my brain over a few months to associate a sound and a place with relaxed, thoughtful meditation. It works.

4. Get up and Move

We humans have a limited attention span. How long you can stay focused for depends on your own personal makeup. It can range from between twenty minutes to around two hours. With practice, you can stay focused for longer, but it takes time and it takes a lot of practice.

When you do find yourself being unable to concentrate any longer, get up from where you are and move. Go for a walk, move around and get some air. Do something completely different from what you were doing when you were concentrating.

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If you were writing a report in front of a screen, get away from your screens and look out the window and appreciate the view. Take a walk in the local park, or just walk around your office. You need to give your brain completely different stimuli.

Your brain is like a muscle. There is only so much it can do before it fatigues. If you are doing some focused work in Photoshop and then switch to surfing the internet, you are not giving your brain any rest. You are still using many of the same parts of your brain.

It’s like doing fifty pushups and then immediately trying to do bench presses. Although you are doing a different exercise, you are still exercising your chest. What you need to be doing to build up superior levels of concentrated focus is, in a sense, do fifty pushups and then a session of squats. Now you are exercising your chest and then your legs. Two completely different exercises.

Do the same with your brain. Do focused visual work and then do some form of movement with a different type of work. Focused visual work followed by a discussion with a colleague about another unrelated piece of work, for example.

The Bottom Line

It is not difficult to train your brain to become better at concentrating and focusing, but you do need to exercise deliberate practice. You need to develop the intention to focus and be very strict with yourself.

Set time aside in your calendar and make sure you tell your colleagues that you will be ‘off the grid’ for a couple of hours. With practice and a little time, you will soon find yourself being able to resist temptations and focus better.

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Featured photo credit: Wenni Zhou via unsplash.com

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