Answer - Take a 30-minute lunch break away from your desk
Let me tell you what happened for me when I did this….
Okay after outing myself to my coach that I hadn’t taken a lunch break for years, I felt terrible. Here I was a world leading nutrition and wellness expert. I knew the importance of effective fuel for the body. However, I prided myself on my focus and didn’t want to be interrupted when I was in my flow. After all lunch was for “wimps” according to Gordon Gekko from Wall Street (that should have been my first warning!!).
irstly, I had to start with only a 10-minute lunch break because after years of working through lunch the thought of “wasting” half an hour was overwhelming. However, I soon managed to build up to 30 minutes and very soon after I encouraged the rest of the team to do so as well as the gains were mammoth. Such a simple thing, taking a lunch break outside, away from the desk and spending time enjoying a healthy meal and speaking about life outside of work was life-changing. I noticed an improved mood within myself and a better comradery amongst the team and productivity increased! Why simply because we now had “permission’ to do lunch? Yep this is a true story.
Other benefits included that I was bringing a healthy lunch from home. Much easier to get in my 5 serves of veggies a day if I had a yummy salad or stir fry for lunch that I had brought from home. I also managed to save money by not having to fork out $8-10 for buying lunch every day.
Studies have shown that having even 10 minutes of fresh air increases productivity and decreases stress levels. Improvements in cognitive function were most marked in the areas of crisis response, strategy and information storage (all sound pretty important to increased effectiveness and productivity!) I certainly noticed that my increased productivity within the afternoon more than made up for the 30 minutes lunch break away from work.
So how do you routinely include a lunch break if you’ve been working through lunch for years? For me I needed to schedule it into my electronic calendar and treat it just like an important meeting that couldn’t be moved. I started with 10-minutes. After seeing the benefits after a week, it soon stretched to 20 minutes and then the regular 30-minute lunch break. It became something my team and I looked forward to and helped improve the culture and productivity of the team. Please comment below if you take a break or work through lunch and any strategies you have found useful for staying focused at work.
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