It's 12:17 and I have not yet eaten today. Many of you are in a similar predicament. Our rush for productivity means we skip meals or eat fast food at our desks. We try to work through lunch to maximize productivity, or because we think it'll allow us to get out of the office sooner.
It won't. And it often doesn't. Breaks ironically help us to maintain productivity and to keep on schedule. So, while you may think that skipping lunch means you'll be headed home an hour earlier, the mental slowdown from trying to work eight-straight will probably mean that you'll end up staying late to finish that last bit of motion work.
Lunch is the perfect place to start, not only because I'm hungry, but because it is a common victim of the schedule crunch. Here are five ways to make that break better:
5. Get the Heck Away From Your Desk
We all do it. Heck, even us blogging hacks spend nearly every lunch at our desks, reading research for stories or digging through the latest Ninth Circuit opinion. Stop it, unless there is an actual pressing deadline. Again, productivity isn't maximized by working for eight hours straight - especially when that work requires brain power.
4. Separate Yourself From Cynics
This advice may sound a little Oprah-ish, but for those of you who are frustrated at work, or who have gone full-tilt towards hating your employer, don't dine with cynics. Their depression and righteous indignation will only reinforce your possibly justified hatred of your employer. Considering the legal job market, you're probably going to be there a while. Try dining with one of those annoyingly happy and optimistic types instead. Maybe their delusion will rub off on you.
3. If You Must Work, Go Mobile
Your company does have wi-fi, doesn't it? If not, it might be worth going offline and working on that brief, or reading those appellate opinions, outdoors on a laptop or tablet. Though research on whether sunlight actually makes people happier is mixed, has fresh air ever been bad a bad thing?
2. Step Away from Electronics
Your entire work day is in front of a computer. You then go home, check sports scores, Facebook, and email. You might go to the gym or grab a bite to eat at a restaurant, but then you probably end up in front of the TV. No matter where you go, your smartphone is probably in hand or in pocket. Take your lunch break as a break from electronic devices and computer screens. Your eyes could probably use the break. So could your people skills.
1. Eat Tasty Food
Many of us are watching what we eat. With the aforementioned glued-to-computer lifestyle, we're all getting a little soggy around the midsection. Diet or not, your lunch should be appetizing. It's easy to skip your lunch break, or to work through it, when you are picking at a dressing-free spinach salad. Tasty, and semi-healthy food will give you something to look forward to.
- To Stay on Schedule, Take a Break (New York Times)
- 33 Reasons to Be Happy You Went to Law School (FindLaw's Greedy Associates Blog)
- Want to Make Your Firm More Productive? Add Nap Time (FindLaw's Strategist Blog)