Taking 60 minutes to eat lunch right in the middle of the day? Nobody has time for that!
If you think that you’re too busy to eat a real lunch and take a full lunch break, you aren’t alone. According to a study by Harvard behavioral scientist Sendhil Mullainathan and Princeton economist Eldar Shafir, only 1 in 5 people actually take a lunch break.
As Americans, being busy has become a sign that we are more committed to our work and more productive. In reality, the opposite is true. It may seem counterintuitive, but taking a one hour lunch break gives you the energy and mental rejuvination to have a more productive afternoon and evening.
There are a few tricks to making your lunch break the most powerful hour of your day:
Step away from your computer
A change of scenery is good for your productivity. Take a walk in the park or just go to a new lunch restaurant. Staring at a screen for 8-12 hours a day isn’t good for your brain. Bring a book or newspaper to read for fun and give your eyes a break from the incessant screen time.
Leave your phone at the office
Our smartphones seem to be permanently attached to our hands. There is so much pressure to respond immediately to an email that few people truly ever relax. We are at the beck and call of anyone and everyone who wants our attention. Leave your phone at the office and take a walk. Allow yourself to remember what your own priorities are, so you can take back control of your schedule and make real progress on your own terms.
Eat something nutritious
Give your body the nutrients it needs to power your afternoon. Waiting too long to eat lunch can mean resorting to caffeine and sugar for a quick reboot. Of course, a shortcut lunch backfires when you crash at 3pm. Make sure to eat a balanced lunch with a healthy balance of protein, fat and complex carbohydrates. Also, keep a nutrient dense snack on hand for when your attention starts to fade in the late afternoon. We would recommend a Redd bar (obviously!) Stop the hanger before you crash!
We aren’t very comfortable with silence. Most people are always listening to music, on the phone or have a radio or TV playing in the background. Forcing your brain to take in information 24/7 can be damaging to your brain. Taking some time to be completely silent during your lunch break may be the key to regaining your focus and attention for the afternoon.