When you work at a startup and every day is full-tilt, it can be tempting to skip your lunch break and eat at your desk. In reality, you are rarely truly productive when you do that and deprive yourself of the opportunity to mentally recharge.
Instead of a desk lunch — complete with the likelihood of spilling food on your keyboard — here’s how you should spend that all-important hour.
Get Away From Your Desk
This is the biggie. Getting up and leaving your desk at lunchtime gives your mind a rest, allowing you to come back creatively recharged. On top of that, it’s well documented that sitting all day is bad for your health.
Get Some Fresh Air
So many offices these days have kitchens and other spaces to eat your lunch that you may be neglecting to go outside. Even if you aren’t going out for something to eat, just take a short stroll. Research has shown that it will improve your mental performance.
Eat with Others
Sharing a meal is an excellent way to forge relationships with teammates and colleagues from other parts of your company. It also works for building relationships outside your company. Invite someone you admire for lunch, and see where it leads.
In addition, arranging to meet someone will force you to get away from your desk and take a lunch break.
Rather than lazing around for an hour, make use of your lunchtime. Many people like to work out during their break, and that’s a great option. It will help counteract the negative effects of sitting all day as well as energizing you for the afternoon.
Another option is to read a book. This keeps you mentally active, but as the saying goes, a change is as good as a rest — it won’t wear you out in the same way that continuing to work would. Taking on board some new and different information will help to inspire you.
Skip the Junk Food
Healthy eaters are more likely to be top performers, research shows. As an individual focused on career growth, that can mean healthy salads and vegetarian meals rather than trips to the nearest burger joint.
Whatever you decide to eat, portioning is also important. Eating too much at lunch time can leave you victim to the dreaded ‘food coma’ and a slump in productivity.
How do you spend your lunchtime? Tell us in the comments.