In the entire year and a half that I’ve been working in this office, I can only count with my fingers the times I’ve eaten lunch down at the nearby restaurants or in the office pantry.
I’ve gotten so used to buying lunch from our office vendor and gobbling it down in front of my computer for no more than fifteen minutes before I get back to work that I’ve forgotten what it’s like to eat in peace. Sometimes, I even chew my food while working so that I can get things done ahead of time.
For a while, I thought nothing of desk lunches. After all, you’re just saving yourself a lot of time and energy.
But lately, I’ve realized it’s not as harmless as I thought. Here’s why:
You stifle your creativity
My job involves writing several pieces of content every day. As my mind is constantly working, it needs a break now and then – lunchtime is perfect for that. But since I sit in front of the computer from 8 am to 5 pm, my mind stops functioning at some point, and I’m struggling to get things done by the end of the day.
Science explains it better. Our brains need a restorative period in the middle of a long day before it goes back into work mode again. Researchers say that during this period, you come up with amazing ideas that you can use later on. Just make sure to take note of it so you won’t forget.
You lower your productivity
I’ve always thought desk lunch makes you work faster but, sadly, it’s quite the opposite.
“Work isn’t a sprint, it’s a marathon,” people say. And I’ve only lately realized they’re right. In the mornings, I’m always pumped about finishing my tasks ahead of schedule, but I never end up doing so because, well, I get burnt out early in the afternoon. I’m either having my post-lunch snooze, or my brain has refused to do any more thinking.
It’s much better to work at a steady pace throughout the day and to give yourself an hour-long breather. Rome wasn’t built in a day.
You take away a chance to exercise
We all know that sitting for prolonged periods of time is bad for you. If you work in an office, you also know how difficult it is to find time for physical activity because of your tight schedule. So where do we go from here?
Lunch time is one way you can keep your body active during a work day. Simply walking to the next street to buy your food relieves your body from strain and inactivity. I also make it a point to spend one of my lunches per month just out walking down the busy streets of Makati, so I can clear my head and get ready for a busy day ahead.
You don’t get to socialize
For extroverts like me, I thrive on engaging other people in conversations. When I would take lunch at my desk, I would miss the chance of getting to know my coworkers. Spending your lunch time in the pantry gives you the opportunity to interact with other people (and maybe even get the latest snoop on your favorite TV show from).
You lose the chance to do things other than work
A lot of my friends make calls, do shopping, and pay bills during their lunch breaks. This way, they have their weekends all to themselves. It’s smart, given that weekends feel extremely short when you’ve had a tiring week.
Another thing I’d love to do during my lunch break is to spend time reading books or watching an episode of a TV series I’ve started getting into. The rule is to do anything that isn’t related to my work.
Try it out. If you feel a little stuck at work, take an hour off just to leave your desk and eat your food without stressing yourself over a deadline. You’re free to do whatever you want with your lunch break. Who knows? You might see greater results this way and, in effect, do a better job.