If you are like me, you never feel completely caught up at work. There is always an email to respond to, a call to make, a client to meet, and in my case, a grant to write. Stepping away from my desk for a whole hour for lunch, rarely happens. While it may appear that eating at your desk is a sign of dedication to your job, research shows you can actually be more productive if you step away.
The following reasons should encourage you to skip eating lunch at your desk and take an actual break –
Staying seated longer while staring at your computer screen can lead to tension in your muscles and sore joints. Sitting for long periods of time also weakens your hip and core muscles.
Work can be stressful. If you don’t take the time to shut off, you never take the time to recover, leading to higher levels of burnout and fatigue. Take a little time to relax. Pick up your sandwich and head outside for a short break.
You need to move around in order to pump fresh blood and oxygen up top. Clear your foggy brain by get up and getting away from your desk. There is only so much you can in a day. Once our energy source is depleted, we become less effective at everything we do.
I like to think I am a master multi-tasker, but in reality, multitasking still isn’t as effective as focusing on one thing at a time. Quality work is most often done when we are free of distraction.
Skipping breaks and lunchtime is a sure way to experience burnout. It is best to set small goals or tasks. Once those are completed, go outside for a short walk, walk around the office, stretch or grab a cup of coffee. This helps you stay refreshed and refocused through the day.
Sitting in the same spot, with the same view, is monotonous. Getting out every once in a while can lead to creativity and new ideas. It’s also important to stay away from your phone, as an absence of external stimulation can spur creative thought.
Substituting lunch at your desk for a business lunch, isn’t always a great idea either. Try to schedule lunch with friends or alone instead, so that you can recharge properly and be more productive back at work.
There is no doubt that taking a break is good for you. An office or environment that encourages people to take breaks will result in happier, more productive employees.
Now excuse me while I grab a bottle of water and take a walk around the block……