Back in school, lunch was always a pretty great time. The cafeteria might have only served cardboard-flavored pizza, but at least you got a break from classes and the chance to talk to your friends.
In the working world, however, this midday meal often takes a backseat. In fact, lunch breaks are becoming increasingly endangered.
One study discovered that 42% of respondents either rarely or only occasionally take a lunch break, while 39% of participants eat at their desks, according to U.S. News & World Report.
That’s not good. In fact, successful people tend to use their lunch breaks to boost their productivity.
Unsuccessful folks sabotage themselves by misusing their allotted midday breaks.
Here are nine things successful people rarely do during lunch:
1. Eat at their desks
I’m a total hypocrite. I’m writing this article as I’m eating a falafel bowl at my desk.
Still, it’s probably a good idea to break out of your “desk lunch” routine. The reality is, eating at your desk deprives you of the benefits of a midday break. You might feel more productive, but taking a break is actually a good thing for your creativity and efficiency.
2. Work right through lunch
The most successful people take a break.
Working straight through lunch may provide you with more time, but it does nothing for the quality of your work.
“We know that creativity and innovation happen when people change their environment, and especially when they expose themselves to a nature-like environment, to a natural environment,” workplace psychology expert and University of California professor Kimberly Elsbach told NPR.
And when you do go to lunch, don’t check email the whole time.
3. Forget about lunch altogether
Successful people don’t forget about lunch. They schedule it into their day and actually take the break.
4. Make unhealthy choices
Fast food is tempting for a whole number of reasons. It’s delicious. It’s cheap. Perhaps most importantly, it’s fast. When you’re trying to rush through your lunch break, it sounds like the perfect option, right?
Successful people don’t wreck their health for the sake of convenience.
5. Spend a ton of money eating out
6. Eat alone every day
Humans are social beings — we’re not meant to sit around for hours without interacting with others. You don’t even have to hang out with anyone from your office. Make lunch plans with a friend.
7. Take a break, but don’t eat anything
If you starve yourself throughout the day, you risk binging later in the afternoon or evening. If you’re not super hungry around lunchtime, consider a small, healthy snack to tide you over.
8. Stay inside (when the weather is nice)
Successful people know how important it is to get some fresh air.
Lunchtime is most likely your one major opportunity to spend some time in the sun during the week. Don’t let it go to waste. Even if you’re not looking to have a huge meal, try taking a walk around the block. Just get outside.
9. Take a two-hour lunch
Taking a break in the middle of the day is a great way to get yourself on track. It will allow you to tackle the afternoon with gusto. That being said, you shouldn’t leave the office for an extended period of time, unless you talk to your boss and they approve it.
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