Maximising your lunchtime makes great business sense. And, I don’t mean having a sandwich at your desk as you pour over reports or jumping on LinkedIn, Facebook etc.
Making time to have lunch, to step away from your desk/place of business is essential to maintaining a helicopter perspective.
When you’re leading a busy life, especially if you’re running your own business, it can be really tough to squeeze the extra time out of your day.
BUT…here’s the thing…you need to eat!
So maximising that time for your own benefit makes good sense – right?
Put down your phone – at least stick it in your pocket or handbag – stand up and walk out of the office.
Walking down the street, stopping to say hello to people and having a quick chat. Sitting quietly in a park/at the beach and absorbing nature, or having lunch with people outside of your normal circle all serve to help either ground or stimulate you.
What you choose to do each lunchtime depends on the outcomes you’d like to achieve.
The key is to make a conscious choice to utilise your lunchtime wisely. After all, it is time. Time is a finite commodity and once passed cannot be recovered.
Choosing to spend time alone, to sit in the park/at the beach will give you silence.
In that stillness, you have the chance to reflect quietly. You’ll often get to hear your inner voice that has been drowned out by the chattering monkeys.
Many of our clients who work in front-facing roles that demand they are “on” for most of their business day love these kinds of lunch breaks.
Actively Being Out & About
If you’re working in isolation, then getting out and about helps to switch off that intense focus your work demands.
Walking down the street and stopping to chat with a couple of people can often provide that human connection that is so important to people who work alone all day.
Alternately, if your work causes lots of pent-up frustrations, bursts of physical activity like a brisk walk, jogging or working out at a gym full of people can be a great tension reliever.
Getting together with a group of like-minded individuals, from different industries is another productive way to spend a lunchtime. You gain a different perspective which is so very valuable.
I’m not talking about a boozy lunch at a fancy restaurant. You know, where everyone talks about how great they are and no one remembers anything much afterwards. I’ve been to a few of these over the years. Enjoyable but really very unproductive.
Rather, I mean a quiet place where you actually get to connect with authenticity and help each other out through the sharing of information in a supportive environment.
Lunch & Learn Sessions
Lunch and learn sessions are common in large corporations. Often used as a means to minimise downtime, and maximise employee engagement.
Now, if you’re a small business or solo operator you won’t have this luxury BUT… a group lunch and learn for others in the same boat is not too hard to organise.
We know because we’ve facilitated quite a few over the years. Topics are always varied so attendees choose which they are interested in.
The objective is always that participants leave having learnt something of value – not just had a great lunch.
The key to successfully maximising your lunchtime and being able to get away all comes down to scheduling.
Consider it an important appointment with a very important person. Yes, that’s you!
If you are struggling to get started with this habit, begin with a day a week, and gradually increase it over a period of a month.
Once you start consciously working on maximising your time, you’ll be surprised at how easy it becomes. More importantly, the benefits that you gain are invaluable.
Speaking from a personal perspective – my lunchtime habits are one of the ways that I have been able to keep sane during challenging times. As an added bonus they’ve also brought Dragon Sisters new business connections.
PS – let me know in the comments how you spend your lunchtimes – I’m always curious 🙂