I used to find it a tad inconvenient to run personal errands whilst working in an office job, however these days with online banking, online shopping and email, it’s hardly necessary to leave my desk. That said, I love a productive lunch hour as it’s time that I’ve managed to claw back from my weekend. Here are my top 5 productive lunch break activities for those who work in the CBD or a similarly well serviced locality.
1. Maintain your physical fitness
I’m not going to lie, I’m really not one for cardio or ‘hitting the gym’. In fact, I’m that annoying person who gets in the lift and goes up one floor. I am simply not motivated enough to exercise before or after work, however it seems wasteful to pass up exercise in that hour of your day that is already carved out. Therefore, I do try to attend a yoga class during my lunch break at least once or twice a week. Whatever your exercise of choice, try to find a facility as close as possible to your work in order to maximise your time. My gym is brilliant as it offers a vast range of exercise classes that only run for 45 minutes during lunch, in order to give members enough time to change and return to work. Alternatively, bring your sneakers and go for a walk or jog. I also know of a group of colleagues who have started a lunch boot camp session at a nearby park. Besides investing in your health, your concentration will be improved and stress levels reduced for the rest of the day.
2. Maintain your mental well-being
Being in an office all day can be tiring, mentally and physically. Take the opportunity to soak up some vitamin B in a park or city square with a good book. Meditate. Watch the people pass by. Listen to music. You never know what or who you could come across that could inspire you or lend perspective to a bad workday. Again, this small investment of recharge time may mean that you are more focused and ready to take on the rest of the day.
3. Maintain your relationships
Life is busy and there are many people that we end up losing touch with because we just don’t have time to catch up with them. Finding out which friends, acquaintances and ex-colleagues work in close proximity with you and arranging to catch up with them over lunch is an effortless way to maintain these relationships. This is particularly the case if you have children or other commitments outside of work that make it hard to steal away on the weekend or in the evening. I find it very difficult to use up a full lunch hour for just eating lunch unless I have company. Weekday lunches are also a great way to try popular restaurants when they are less busy, and are offering a lunch special or discounted rate.
4. Maintain your health
Eye checks, teeth cleans, medical check ups and physio. I don’t know of many people who scramble to undertake these tasks on the weekend. Be proactive about it and schedule these routine checks during your lunch break so that you don’t have to be reactive about it down the track. It’s much easier to carry out these tasks in close proximity to your work because you are absorbing the commute. It’s one hour of your workday compared to a possible 3 hours out of your weekend.
5. Maintain your appearance
I would consider myself a power shopper. I rarely shop for fun and prefer to know exactly what I need. Therefore, ducking out to pick up a blazer or a new pair of shoes is perfectly achievable within an hour and means I don’t have to battle public transport or car-parks outside of work hours. Similarly, appointments for manicures, pedicures or waxing can be achieved provided that the salon is close by.
So next time you’re tempted to work through lunch or duck into that dodgy food court for an ‘all you can stack’ plate of Chinese food, perhaps opt instead for one of these productivity boosting tasks.
If you have any other suggestions I would love to hear them!