Five Dangers of Desktop Dining That Will Eat Your Productivity for Lunch
Hank used to get out and about for his lunch break. He looked forward to just “doing something different” during this coveted hour.
But not anymore.
Now Hank spends his time inhaling his lunch and “pushing through” to be more productive.
Or so he thinks.
What Hank doesn’t realize or wants to admit is that he slowly crashes half way through the afternoon and his overall production actually drops by the end of the day.
Somehow there’s this illusion that you’ll gain more time if you just work through lunch and gain this extra hour within your workday.
According to a USA Today article, “only a third of American workers say they take a lunch break, according to a Web survey conducted last year by Right Management, a human resources consulting firm. The survey also found that 65% of workers eat at their desks or don’t take a break at all.”
The Article goes on to say, “CareerBuilder, another employment consultant, found that less than one-fifth of executives surveyed ate lunch at a sit-down restaurant, about 40% take a brown-bag lunch and 17% eat fast food.”
Whoa. Holy Working Through Lunch Epidemic, Batman.
There are Five Dangers to Desktop Dining That Will Eat Your Productivity for Lunch
1. The Danger of a Lack of Nutrition
If we choose to eat at our desk, usually one of two things will happen:
We’ll eat a less nutritious lunch – we may get lazy and just get something from the vending machine or cafeteria that lacks quality nutrition
We’ll eat too fast – if the food is in the way and just something I need to get over with, I’m more likely to just inhale it and get back to work more quickly
Both are concerning and need to be addressed especially if you associate food with energy and increased focus for the remainder of the afternoon.
2. The Danger of a Lack of a Mental Break
We need to clear the mind especially if we’ve had a busy morning. Our minds have been focused and possibly hurried and are in a desperate need of a break.
When you choose to not turn your mind off and push on, you will pay the price in lack of productivity and quality of work in the second half of the day when you need it most. Your focus is fading and your willpower is drained.
Chances are you’re paid to be mentally sharp. So then work smarter. It’s okay to take a break to be more productive in the long run.
Read more on Why Taking a Break Actually Increases Your Productivity HERE.
3. The Danger of Not Changing Scenery
It’s amazing what just a different view or temperature or light can do for your productivity.
But if you continue to stay in the same environment the walls will feel like they’re closing in on you. This is not good for your state of mind and begins to wear on you over time.
Don’t let your desk become a cell. Change the scenery while you can. It may be as simple as just walking outside to enjoy the fresh air or at least staring out a window for a few moments. Something. Anything!
4. The Danger of Being Anti-Social
If we work in an office or a cube and have little to no interaction through our day, it affects us.
We’re social beings who need some type of interaction even if it’s just for a couple of minutes. And over lunch could be just what you need. Facebook and LinkedIn don’t count, social media fans.
I’m not saying you need to go out to lunch every day but bringing lunch in and eating with someone else or going for a walk with someone can recharge your mind and your spirit.
Calling a friend or just checking in with someone takes our mind off of us and puts it on someone else.
5. The Danger of a Lack of Movement
This is a big one. If we’ve been sitting in a chair all day and we finally have an opportunity to move around and we choose to by-pass movement for desktop dining, it will make us sluggish and lethargic.
And the longer we sit, the harder it is to get motivated to get up and move.
Then when you add the chances of a non-nutritious lunch and little to no movement, that is one heavy combination. Pun inserted at no additional charge.
Start combining these dangers and no wonder your productivity drops.
But the same could be true on combining the positives. Go for a walk outside and enjoy the scenery with a friend. This will also give you a mental break. Numerous wins not to mention a sense of feeling renewed for the afternoon and increased productivity.
Change of Focus
If you have that mindset, you will choose to eat healthy to give you the energy you need to be highly productive in the afternoon.
And if you value a mental recharge, then you will choose everywhere BUT your desk to have lunch.
When I worked at daily desk job, I chose to take advantage of the corporate park benches for lunch and the path to walk. I would enjoy most of the seasons (living in Chicago) while eating then would listen to an audiobook while walking.
This did absolute wonders for my day. I was not only more productive in the afternoon, I couldn’t wait for this break in my day.
Yet sometimes eating at your desk is unavoidable.
In that case, be aware and make the most of it. Do the following:
- Be aware of what you’re eating – Choose to eat healthy and slowly. Buy or bring food that will bring you energy for the afternoon.
- Try and take a few minutes to yourself – Choose to read and go for a short walk to get your body moving and seeing some fresh scenery.
You would be surprised what a short 15 minute break can do for you. And you’ll easily make up the time.
And don’t forget to say hi to “dude” or “man” (since you still don’t know his name).
Professionals sometimes care more about appearance of working hard then working smart which actually produces better results.
So I challenge you to the following:
- Choose Nutrition over convenience in your lunch meal.
- Step away from the desk and switch mental gears for a while – read something / watch something / listen to something. Just anything but work. For awhile…
- Change your location and get a different view. You could use the sunlight or see anything but walls and florescent lights.
- Find someone to talk to for a few minutes and engage in a quality conversation.
- And at all costs, move! Go for a walk. Do something to get active for a few minutes.
You will be amazed at the increase of productivity and focus the rest of the afternoon. Don’t believe me? Just try it for a week and measure the results for yourself…
How can you make the most of your lunch break to ultimately be more productive?