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How To Use Your Lunch Break To Increase Work Productivity

How To Use Your Lunch Break To Increase Work Productivity
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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.

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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 July 21, 2021

The Importance of Reminders (And How to Make a Reminder Work)

The Importance of Reminders (And How to Make a Reminder Work)
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No matter how well you set up your todo list and calendar, you aren’t going to get things done unless you have a reliable way of reminding yourself to actually do them.

Anyone who’s spent an hour writing up the perfect grocery list only to realize at the store that they forgot to bring the list understands the importance of reminders.

Reminders of some sort or another are what turn a collection of paper goods or web services into what David Allen calls a “trusted system.”[1]

A lot of people resist getting better organized. No matter what kind of chaotic mess, their lives are on a day-to-day basis because they know themselves well enough to know that there’s after all that work they’ll probably forget to take their lists with them when it matters most.

Fortunately, there are ways to make sure we remember to check our lists — and to remember to do the things we need to do, whether they’re on a list or not.

In most cases, we need a lot of pushing at first, for example by making a reminder, but eventually we build up enough momentum that doing what needs doing becomes a habit — not an exception.

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From Creating Reminders to Building Habits

A habit is any act we engage in automatically without thinking about it.

For example, when you brush your teeth, you don’t have to think about every single step from start to finish; once you stagger up to the sink, habit takes over (and, really, habit got you to the sink in the first place) and you find yourself putting toothpaste on your toothbrush, putting the toothbrush in your mouth (and never your ear!), spitting, rinsing, and so on without any conscious effort at all.

This is a good thing because if you’re anything like me, you’re not even capable of conscious thought when you’re brushing your teeth.

The good news is you already have a whole set of productivity habits you’ve built up over the course of your life. The bad news is, a lot of them aren’t very good habits.

That quick game Frogger to “loosen you up” before you get working, that always ends up being 6 hours of Frogger –– that’s a habit. And as you know, habits like that can be hard to break — which is one of the reasons why habits are so important in the first place.

Once you’ve replaced an unproductive habit with a more productive one, the new habit will be just as hard to break as the old one was. Getting there, though, can be a chore!

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The old saw about anything you do for 21 days becoming a habit has been pretty much discredited, but there is a kernel of truth there — anything you do long enough becomes an ingrained behavior, a habit. Some people pick up habits quickly, others over a longer time span, but eventually, the behaviors become automatic.

Building productive habits, then, is a matter of repeating a desired behavior over a long enough period of time that you start doing it without thinking.

But how do you remember to do that? And what about the things that don’t need to be habits — the one-off events, like taking your paycheck stubs to your mortgage banker or making a particular phone call?

The trick to reminding yourself often enough for something to become a habit, or just that one time that you need to do something, is to interrupt yourself in some way in a way that triggers the desired behavior.

The Wonderful Thing About Triggers — Reminders

A trigger is anything that you put “in your way” to remind you to do something. The best triggers are related in some way to the behavior you want to produce.

For instance, if you want to remember to take something to work that you wouldn’t normally take, you might place it in front of the door so you have to pick it up to get out of your house.

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But anything that catches your attention and reminds you to do something can be a trigger. An alarm clock or kitchen timer is a perfect example — when the bell rings, you know to wake up or take the quiche out of the oven. (Hopefully you remember which trigger goes with which behavior!)

If you want to instill a habit, the thing to do is to place a trigger in your path to remind you to do whatever it is you’re trying to make into a habit — and keep it there until you realize that you’ve already done the thing it’s supposed to remind you of.

For instance, a post-it saying “count your calories” placed on the refrigerator door (or maybe on your favorite sugary snack itself)  can help you remember that you’re supposed to be cutting back — until one day you realize that you don’t need to be reminded anymore.

These triggers all require a lot of forethought, though — you have to remember that you need to remember something in the first place.

For a lot of tasks, the best reminder is one that’s completely automated — you set it up and then forget about it, trusting the trigger to pop up when you need it.

How to Make a Reminder Works for You

Computers and ubiquity of mobile Internet-connected devices make it possible to set up automatic triggers for just about anything.

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Desktop software like Outlook will pop up reminders on your desktop screen, and most online services go an extra step and send reminders via email or SMS text message — just the thing to keep you on track. Sandy, for example, just does automatic reminders.

Automated reminders can help you build habits — but it can also help you remember things that are too important to be trusted even to habit. Diabetics who need to take their insulin, HIV patients whose medication must be taken at an exact time in a precise order, phone calls that have to be made exactly on time, and other crucial events require triggers even when the habit is already in place.

My advice is to set reminders for just about everything — have them sent to your mobile phone in some way (either through a built-in calendar or an online service that sends updates) so you never have to think about it — and never have to worry about forgetting.

Your weekly review is a good time to enter new reminders for the coming weeks or months. I simply don’t want to think about what I’m supposed to be doing; I want to be reminded so I can think just about actually doing it.

I tend to use my calendar for reminders, mostly, though I do like Sandy quite a bit.

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Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

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Reference

[1] Getting Things Done: Trusted System

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