10 Good Reasons Why You Should Leave Your Desk At Lunch
Do you eat your lunch at your desk every day? Do you feel that you can’t spare even 30 minutes, much less an hour, away from your computer? Are you afraid that you might miss an e-mail or not make a deadline because you took your lunch away from your desk?
I admit, I have been guilty of not taking time for myself at lunchtime. I don’t know why I thought anything in my inbox was more important than my health or sense of wellbeing. But as Maya Angelou has said, “When you know better, you do better.” I now know better. I now know that taking time away from my desk has proven benefits.
10 Reasons To Leave Your Desk At Lunch
In case you need to be convinced, check out the following ten reasons why you need to go out for lunch.
1. You will be more productive.
You are not a machine. As a human being, you have certain physical limitations whether you want to acknowledge them or not. In order to be more productive in any given day, you need to move away from your desk a few times per day including lunchtime.
2. You will be more creative.
The same point I just made in #1 is doubly true for creativity. Have you ever experienced the phenomenon of having some of your greatest ideas while in the shower? Do you think you are alone in that? You’re not. When you “free yourself up” as you do in the shower or while taking a break from your work, your brain is suddenly “free” to consider new, fresh ideas that can potentially solve the problems that were plaguing you while you were so vigorously pondering the issue. Letting your mind wander a bit over lunch can lead to new ideas and new inspiration.
3. You will become a more mindful eater.
Eating at your desk means that you are multi-tasking. Your attention isn’t on your work, and it is certainly not on the food that I suspect you are practically inhaling. In order to be a healthy eater, you need to pay attention to what you are eating. You will enjoy your food more. You will ingest less of it. And, as a result, you should see the health benefits as well.
4. You will have better work relationships with colleagues.
… if you go out to lunch with them occasionally. Relationships at work are important. You need to work on establishing healthy connections there in order to enhance your overall job satisfaction. This doesn’t mean you should make your colleagues your best friends or your closest confidants. In fact, you need to use discretion when discussing personal matters with office mates. But that doesn’t mean you can’t go out with them and enjoy time away from your respective offices.
5. You need fresh air.
One reason to leave your desk at lunchtime is to get outside and get some fresh air. You need to clear your head, and you need fresh air for better health.
6. You can sit too much… and it could kill you.
Your body needs to move. In fact, research supports the fact that sitting for too long is extremely unhealthy. It would do you a great deal of good and would help your overall health if you take a brisk walk during lunchtime.
7. Your desk—and your computer keyboard—won’t be full of food crumbs.
… if you avoid eating at your desk. From the standpoint of keeping your desk free of food debris and ultimately ants that will heed the call of food crumbs at your work area, you are better off to avoid eating at your desk.
8. You will enjoy your food more.
Be aware of what you are eating. In order to enjoy your food, you need to pay attention to it. Note the taste of the lunch you are ingesting. It is also more likely that you will stop eating when you are full if you are paying attention as you are eating.
9. You may use your lunchtime as a networking opportunity.
In the world of CareerHMO, “every job is temporary,” and you are always and ever a “business-of-one.” That means that you should always be open to new opportunities, and given that networking is nothing more than getting with friends, colleagues, and new acquaintances, lunchtime is a perfect networking opportunity.
10. You may also use the time to catch up with old friends.
We are sometimes so busy with work and family obligations that we lose track of our friends. We need friendships for a happier, healthier life. Use your lunchtime to catch up with your friends. You won’t be sorry.
When all is said and done, the research on getting away from your desk at lunchtime is very clear. Research aside, however, common sense dictates that you need to take a break during the middle of the day if you want to do your best work. Give yourself a lunch break away from your desk. You deserve it.
By Kitty Boitnott, Ph.D., NBCT is a former educator turned Career Transition and Job Strategy Coach specializing in working with teachers who are experiencing the painful symptoms of job burnout. She also works with mid-career professionals from all walks of life who find themselves at a career crossroads either by chance or by choice. Learn more about Kitty at Boitnott Coaching, LLC.