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12 Lunch Break Ideas That Increase Your Productivity

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12 Lunch Break Ideas That Increase Your Productivity

If you want to increase your productivity, don’t skip your lunch break. Lunch is a great block of time that you have everyday, and if used incorrectly, it’s another hour you’ve wasted; however, if used right, it can give your life a boost. Check out these 12 lunch break ideas that will charge up your life every day.

1.  Work on a side gig.

Your lunch break can be a great time to get a jump on work outside of…work.

2.  Read about your industry.

If you want to dominate your next meeting, use your lunch break to brush up on your field. You can read articles about new technology, industry leaders, or future projections. After lunch, when your boss needs ideas or suggestions, you’ll have something to reference.

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3.  Brainstorm.

Do you have a mental block on your latest assignment? You should try brainstorming. Just take a few moments during your break to open your mind and write down every idea you have that’s related to your new project–no matter how implausible you think it is. A little brainstorming can lead you in amazing new directions

4.  Eat with coworkers.

It’s important to have good relationships with your coworkers, because they can make or break your work life. By bonding with your coworkers on a personal level you will feel more comfortable going to them for help or just a laugh, so grab a bite to eat and start bonding.

5.  Run errands.

If you need to pay bills, find a plumber, or get a quick hair cut, your lunch break is a great time to get that done. Plus, you free up some precious after work hours.

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6.  Burn off some steam.

Go for a walk, a run, or maybe go to the gym if you have time. Using your break to workout can help you come back refreshed and energized.

7.  Make phone calls.

One of the most productive things you can do at lunch is to make phone calls because you don’t have to waste any time driving anywhere. So go ahead, call your Mom, call an old friend, your partner, or return that phone call you’ve been dreading.

8.  Make plans.

Do you feel like your life is out of control?  If so, you can use your lunch break to make plans for the rest of the week. For example, on Monday you could plan out your dinners for the week, on Tuesday you could plan your weekend activities, on Wednesday you could plan your finances for the next week, on Thursday plan your schedule for the upcoming week, and on Friday try and tie up loose ends and plan for upcoming birthdays and celebrations of the people in your life.

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9.  Work on relationships.

If you want to feel more connected to your partner or children, take a few seconds out of you lunch break to send someone you care about a text, picture, or email.  It only takes a few seconds, but it can make you feel more connected to your loved ones.

10.  Social media time.

Spending a few minutes a day on social media can make you feel like you’re an active participant.  Try this: spend one minute on Facebook “liking” statuses, spend another minute on Twitter re-tweeting a couple tweets, then upload a picture to every social media account you have. Congrats! You’ve been on social media today.

11.  Fuel up.

Make sure you’re eating what you need to get through the afternoon.  If you need a quick burst of energy, eating fruit or drinking caffeine will get you through a couple hours, and if you’ve got a long day ahead, make sure you chow down on some protein.

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12.  Rest.

We all need a break at work sometimes, and lunch time is the perfect time to relax. Plus, taking some time to clear your mind can make you more productive after lunch.

Now, take a few seconds and think about what area of your life needs an increase of productivity. Then, find a quick activity that will impact that area of your life.  Stick to it, and you’ll be shocked at what your lunch break can do for your life.

More by this author

Kelsie Fannon

Kelsie is a journalist and writer who shares about productivity and money tips on Lifehack.

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Published on September 21, 2021

How Remote Work Affects Your Productivity And Wellbeing (Backed By Data)

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How Remote Work Affects Your Productivity And Wellbeing (Backed By Data)

The internet is flooded with articles about remote work and its benefits or drawbacks. But in reality, the remote work experience is so subjective that it’s impossible to draw general conclusions and issue one-size-fits-all advice about it. However, one thing that’s universal and rock-solid is data. Data-backed findings and research about remote work productivity give us a clear picture of how our workdays have changed and how work from home affects us—because data doesn’t lie.

In this article, we’ll look at three decisive findings from a recent data study and two survey reports concerning remote work productivity and worker well-being.

1. We Take Less Frequent Breaks

Your home can be a peaceful or a distracting place depending on your living and family conditions. While some of us might find it hard to focus amidst the sounds of our everyday life, other people will tell you that the peace and quiet while working from home (WFH) is a major productivity booster. Then there are those who find it hard to take proper breaks at home and switch off at the end of the workday.

But what does data say about remote work productivity? Do we work more or less in a remote setting?

Let’s take a step back to pre-pandemic times (2014, to be exact) when a time tracking application called DeskTime discovered that 10% of most productive people work for 52 minutes and then take a break for 17 minutes.

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Recently, the same time tracking app repeated that study to reveal working and breaking patterns during the pandemic. They found that remote work has caused an increase in time worked, with the most productive people now working for 112 minutes and breaking for 26 minutes.[1]

Now, this may seem rather innocent at first—so what if we work for extended periods of time as long as we also take longer breaks? But let’s take a closer look at this proportion.

While breaks have become only nine minutes longer, work sprints have more than doubled. That’s nearly two hours of work, meaning that the most hard-working people only take three to four breaks per 8-hour workday. This discovery makes us question if working from home (WFH) really is as good a thing for our well-being as we thought it was. In addition, in the WFH format, breaks are no longer a treat but rather a time to squeeze in a chore or help children with schoolwork.

Online meetings are among the main reasons for less frequent breaks. Pre-pandemic meetings meant going to another room, stretching your legs, and giving your eyes a rest from the computer. In a remote setting, all meetings happen on screen, sometimes back-to-back, which could be one of the main factors explaining the longer work hours recorded.

2. We Face a Higher Risk of Burnout

At first, many were optimistic about remote work’s benefits in terms of work-life balance as we save time on commuting and have more time to spend with family—at least in theory. But for many people, this was quickly counterbalanced by a struggle to separate their work and personal lives. Buffer’s 2021 survey for the State of Remote Work report found that the biggest struggle of remote workers is not being able to unplug, with collaboration difficulties and loneliness sharing second place.[2]

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Buffer’s respondents were also asked if they are working more or less since their shift to remote work, and 45 percent admitted to working more. Forty-two percent said they are working the same amount, while 13 percent responded that they are working less.

Longer work hours and fewer quality breaks can dramatically affect our health, as long-term sitting and computer use can cause eye strain, mental fatigue, and other issues. These, in turn, can lead to more severe consequences, such as burnout and heart disease.

Let’s have a closer look at the connection between burnout and remote work.

McKinsey’s report about the Future of work states that 49% of people say they’re feeling some symptoms of burnout.[3] And that may be an understatement since employees experiencing burnout are less likely to respond to survey requests and may have even left the workforce.

From the viewpoint of the employer, remote workers may seem like they are more productive and working longer hours. However, managers must be aware of the risks associated with increased employee anxiety. Otherwise, the productivity gains won’t be long-lasting. It’s no secret that prolonged anxiety can reduce job satisfaction, decrease work performance, and negatively affect interpersonal relationships with colleagues.[4]

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3. Despite everything, We Love Remote Work

An overwhelming majority—97 percent—of Buffer report’s survey respondents say they would like to continue working remotely to some extent. The two main benefits mentioned by the respondents are the ability to have a flexible schedule and the flexibility to work from anywhere.

McKinsey’s report found that more than half of employees would like their workplace to adopt a more flexible hybrid virtual-working model, with some days of work on-premises and some days working remotely. To be more exact, more than half of employees report that they would like at least three work-from-home days a week once the pandemic is over.

Companies will increasingly be forced to find ways to satisfy these workforce demands while implementing policies to minimize the risks associated with overworking and burnout. Smart companies will embrace this new trend and realize that adopting hybrid models can also be a win for them—for example, for accessing talent in different locations and at a lower cost.

Remote Work: Blessing or Plight?

Understandably, workers worldwide are tempted to keep the good work-life aspects that have come out of the pandemic—professional flexibility, fewer commutes, and extra time with family. But with the once strict boundaries between work and life fading, we must remain cautious. We try to squeeze in house chores during breaks. We do online meetings from the kitchen or the same couch we watch TV shows from, and many of us report difficulties switching off after work.

So, how do we keep our private and professional lives from hopelessly blending together?

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The answer is that we try to replicate the physical and virtual boundaries that come naturally in an office setting. This doesn’t only mean having a dedicated workspace but also tracking your work time and stopping when your working hours are finished. In addition, it means working breaks into your schedule because watercooler chats don’t just naturally happen at home.

If necessary, we need to introduce new rituals that resemble a normal office day—for example, going for a walk around the block in the morning to simulate “arriving at work.” Remote work is here to stay. If we want to enjoy the advantages it offers, then we need to learn how to cope with the personal challenges that come with it.

Learn how to stay productive while working remotely with these tips: How to Work From Home: 10 Tips to Stay Productive

Featured photo credit: Jenny Ueberberg via unsplash.com

Reference

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