Season 10 of Productivity Paradox has begun and I am so excited to get started with this new season as we talk all about productivity and how we can fine-tune ours so make sure we’re living our best life possible.
On Episode 119 this week, we’re diving into what happens to our productivity when we force ourselves to work longer and longer hours. Many of you have told me over the last year that you don’t feel like you’re truly being productive or taking steps toward your goals if you aren’t constantly busy with work, or worse, if you’re not constantly thinking about what’s waiting for you at the office the moment you head home for the weekend… And to me, that’s a big problem, because here’s the thing…
Keeping busy does not necessarily lend itself to an increase in productivity!
So to nip any misconceptions you have about busyness and its relationship with productivity in the bud, I want to take our conversation from Episode 119 a bit further this week to talk about how you can get out of your busy, constantly-working mindset by focusing on ways you can break free from that cycle.
How might we do this, you ask? One sure way to ease yourself away from pushing too hard is by giving yourself permission to take breaks… and, to me, your lunch break is a great place to start!
So on that note, let’s take a look at some of my favorite tips that can help you to stop forcing yourself to work through your lunch breaks… once and for all!
Taking a full hour away from your desk can be a challenge, especially if you feel like you’ve gained a lot of momentum to tackle some important tasks throughout the morning… And I totally get that!
For those of you who struggle with taking a full hour for lunch, one of the easiest ways you can overcome any hesitance to step away from your desk is to split your lunch hour into two 30-minute breaks.
The best part about this is that you can easily plan out your day to fit in your two 30-minute breaks in between tasks that require a lot of your focus and brain energy, which will prevent you from feeling burnt out at the end of your work day!
An easy way to cut ties with your desk when it’s time to break for lunch is to get your friends or coworkers involved in your lunchtime plans!
Get together with your coworkers at the beginning of the week to plan a time and place to meet for lunch each day, or come up with themes to spice things up (outdoor picnic or potluck group lunch, anyone?).
Another great idea is to plan to meet with a group of friends during your lunch break a few times each week. Not only does this ensure that you’re giving yourself the space you need away from your work tasks–allowing you to recharge before diving back in, but it is also a great opportunity for you and your friends to catch up and cut loose from the workplace hullabaloo!
If you find yourself easily distracted by emails, text messages, and your social media newsfeed whenever you have your phone nearby, then it should come as no surprise that, for many of us, our phone is often what keeps us engaged with our work responsibilities during moments when we should otherwise be giving ourselves the space we need to decompress.
To make sure you’re taking the lunch break that you (and your brain!) deserve, I want to encourage you to say no to screen time when it’s time to step away from your desk.
If you have a phone call to make, try making it before you sit down to enjoy your lunchtime meal… and then put your phone on silent or turn it off completely when it’s time to eat!
The more you’re able to relax and step away from your work tasks during your lunch break, the easier it will be to dive back into your tasks when your break is over… and the more energized you’ll feel overall!
One of my favorite things to do during my lunch hour is to sneak away from the office and enjoy some time outside… And guess what? It boosts my energy, calms my nerves, and gives my brain a chance to hit the refresh button before I get back to work, which makes all the difference in how energized I feel when I leave the office at the end of the day.
Studies have shown that indulging in a few minutes outdoors each day (ten minutes can be a huge life saver in terms of giving your brain and body a chance to decompress between tasks!) can improve concentration, sharpen memory, boost and prolong mental stamina, enhance creativity… and reduce stress.
So when in doubt, get outdoors and walk it out!
Maybe you don’t need a full hour to eat your lunch… If this sounds like you, then that’s perfectly okay!
One of the great ways to indulge in the hour away from your desk that you deserve is to plan a simple task or errand during your lunch hour. Spend the first 15 or 30 minutes enjoying your lunchtime meal, and then plan something else to fill up the rest of your break time.
Have dry cleaning to pick up? Beat the rush at 5:00 and grab it on your way back to the office before your lunch hour comes to a close. Need to return an item you purchased from your favorite store, or pick up a few ingredients for dinner? Great! Plan those errands for the last stretch of your lunch hour.
Not only does this help you to step away from your work when it’s time for a break, but it’s also a great way to cross off any small lingering items you have on your personal priority list!
One of my favorite things about podcasts is that there are so many great episodes to listen to out there!
If you struggle to take the full hour that you have for lunch each day, then I’ve got some good news for you… There are plenty of podcasts to listen to that are 50-60 minutes long that are ideal for lunchtime listening.
Explore a few of your favorites and plan to listen to an episode during your lunch break each day! By choosing episodes that line up with the length of time that you have to spend away from your desk, you can be sure that you’re not heading back to your work tasks too early.
Have some tips of your own that help you to avoid working through lunch? Share your ideas in the comments below… And be sure to check out Episode 119 of the podcast this week to learn all about how working too long and too hard can actually decrease your productivity… and what you can do to stop the working-all-the-time cycle!