a man sitting on a blanket next to a picnic basket.

Things to Do on Your Lunch Break: 14 Productive Ways to Make Better Use of Your Time

Amber Murphy

You have probably heard the notion that time is precious. That would mean that we should think carefully about how we will spend every minute, second, and hour that make up the day. Do you do that? There’s plenty of opportunities for you to squeeze out more productive time in the little gaps you find throughout the day. One place we can get more done is during a lunch break. Instead of spending it frivolously, it’s an opportunity to squeeze more productive time and value out of our day, especially when we’re inundated with full-time jobs and responsibilities.

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Productive things to do on your lunch break

The ideal things to do on your lunch break should be things that are easy to do, despite where you are, and can be done while still getting a bite in, to energize you for the rest of your work day.

1. Get some fresh air

Forest of trees under the morning sun

Many people use their lunch break by eating and working at the desk. It would be much more efficient to use the time you have for a lunch break in another room, a walk in the open fresh air, or if you can, get some exercise outside and return to work.

Why is it important? Because it’s called a break for a reason! You should get away from where you work to relax. Don’t hesitate, get away from the place where you work, because even when you’re not working, it reminds you of the obligations that await you after the lunch break.

Try taking a mindful walk in nature. Go outside, look at the sky, listen to the sound of nature, breathe the air. You will see that it will mean a lot to you and you will be more productive later.

2. Enjoy some music

Whatever job you do, you need to unburden your thoughts because a break, in this case, is not just a break from what you are doing but also a break from stress and negative thoughts. Therefore, turn off thoughts. Play some music that you enjoy, feed yourself and your soul at the same time. Music usually has a calming effect, so you won’t go wrong. You can also set yourself the task of finding a new song every day to add to your playlist.

3. Write down your thoughts

Closeup of woman writing into her journal

You can also take advantage of the lunch break by writing down some of your negative or any thoughts on paper using a mindfulness journal. That way, you will get rid of all the dissatisfaction from yourself, and your job will not be so hard later. It will also be interesting for you to read later how you felt, which is also work on yourself.

In addition to the most straightforward writing down of thoughts, you can also write a diary. Whatever you decide, putting your thoughts to paper is a healthy and productive use of your time.

4. Embrace literature

In addition to the above, if you’re a book lover, bring a book that you like, and dedicate yourself to read at least 10 pages. You can also play an audiobook and listen to something that teaches you something while you eat. If your lunch breaks are too short, try shorter forms of literature like poetry.

5. Admire artwork

If you have time, visit a museum or gallery located in your area. In addition to educating you, art can open your mind and inspire you to be more creative the rest of the day. Of course, you don’t need to leave the office, there are plenty of places online that you can admire art including Google’s Art and Culture portal.

6. Plan for success

Post-it notes stuck on a wall

Your lunch break is a great time to put the energy from your meal into productively planning the rest of your day, week, or life. Use this time to set goals, plan what you will do and accomplish when you get home, work on your side project or business, set your grocery list, plan chores, or balance your budget.

Use this time to make your future self’s life easier. Benjamin Franklin once said “If you fail to plan, you are planning to fail!”

7. Be a researcher

We live in a time when all kinds of information and entertainment are available to us online. Find a blog you like, explore topics that interest you while eating, and stay informed.

Instead of allowing the internet to be a useless time suck or waste, use it as a tool to better yourself, become more informed, and learn something new. Even if you promise to watch a short educational video on YouTube before going down an entertaining (but mindless) rabbit hole, you’ll be better off than most people who consume information online.

8. Love and feel loved

Love and feel loved! Use this break to talk to colleagues and see how they’re doing in their personal lives, check-in on family and loved ones with a phone call, or text a friend and ask how they’re doing.

Use your lunch break as a time to connect with people, let them know you care, and develop your relationships at work and in your personal life.

9. Learn a new language

Desk with book on learning to speak German

You can learn a new language by practicing and studying for just a few minutes a day. Install a language learning app, and have fun! When you see progress, you can’t wait for each subsequent lunch break and continuing with the language you love.

If you decide to use a lunch break this way, when you reach a certain level of knowledge, new opportunities will open up for you and new answers to the question of what to do during a lunch break. Namely, later on, during the break, you will be able to listen to music in the language you have learned, watch short movies, series (also in a foreign language), and you will also be able to write down your plans in a foreign language. Try it, you will feel more useful than ever!

10. Get to know your colleagues better

If you have a work team, share some of the exciting ideas with your colleagues. Play some thrilling games because a little relaxation will come in handy for everyone. You will also get to know them better, creating an environment where people trust, respect and care about one another.

11. Bring greenery into your life

Go to the nearest flower shop and buy a plant that will beautify the space in which you work. The little things sometimes mean a lot and refresh the rooms that become monotonous and gray. Add some greenery to your workspace! This could become a routine you do every week, and the small plants and flowers will infuse positive energy both – in the room and in you. It will also be interesting for you to explore the floral world, and each lunch break will be a new adventure. Later, when you have enough plants, your occupation during the breaks will become watering them. Interesting, isn’t it?

12. Take photos of nature

Camera taking a photo of a butterfly

Take some interesting photos of nature from a nearby park, and later you can frame them and place them at your workplace. This will surely change your daily routine, and a lunch break will be a challenge.

13. Meditate

Focus on yourself and your peace of mind. Use this time to practice meditation. A simple regular mindfulness practice during your lunch break can go a long way in improving your mental health, clarity, and peace of mind.

If you’re having trouble finding some privacy, try meditating in your parked car, in a bathroom stall, or even with your eyes open at your desk. You don’t need to close your eyes to practice mindfulness and yield the scientific benefits of meditation.

14. Smile and make others happy

Help someone – An excellent way to refresh yourself is to do a good deed. Help someone without expecting anything in return. Your fresh perspective can do a lot for someone, and people remember that. Someone’s smile will give you even more energy for later work endeavors. You can provide a small gift to a colleague. You can also look for gifts that suit their personality during the lunch break, it will be exciting for you.

If you’ve previously had trouble finding things you can do during your lunch break, hopefully, that’s no longer the case. These are just some of the ways you can spend your lunch break. Whichever option you choose, you will feel a significant change, and you will be happy, and just imagine if you use all these tips in combination – a lunch break would be your favorite part of the day!

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