How To Make The Most Of Your Lunch Break During Busy Times
Let’s face it, we’re all busy. Whether you work full-time, work full-time and have kids or stay home with kids, your plate is probably full. I once had a boss who strongly discouraged taking a lunch break. It drove my family up the wall that I didn’t report it, but truth be told, I just used my lunch break as a time to get things done.
If you are in a super busy time, I highly recommend making the most of your lunch break. I once read an article about creating a “power hour,” where you set aside an hour to work on a goal or task that you don’t normally make time for. Basically, you schedule one hour a day or week to power through something that has been sitting on your to do list for a long time.
If you are so busy that you don’t even have time to think about what you need to do, consider making your lunch break your power hour. It may seem counter-intuitive to take time out of an already busy day, but I promise, in the long-run, it will be hugely effective.
Lunch Break Busy Hacks
Here are some ways you can maximize your lunch break when you’re busy. If you can’t spare an entire hour, set aside 30 minutes. If you can’t set aside time daily, set aside 2-3 days a week. Here are some things you can do during your lunch break to make it your power hour.
- Use your power hour to make your to do list(s) so that you have a starting point to work from. When I’m busy, one of the first things I drop is my planning time. Of course, that’s the biggest mistake because I need planning time the most when I’m busy!
- Take care of filing or administrative tasks that you don’t normally have time for. Again, it may seem crazy to work on filing or admin when you’re busy, but what happens if you don’t deal with it for a long time? It will become way more overwhelming!
- Use your power hour to get your calendar sorted and/or add deadlines and tasks to your calendar. If you don’t plan for a goal, you’ll have a hard time reaching it.
- Clean up or declutter your workspace. Whether you work in an office or work from home, you probably have old files or things that have been hanging around for way too long. Setting aside a bit of time each week will help you get to a cleaner workspace. A cleaner workspace can help you focus more, which of course is hugely helpful when you’re busy.
- Use your lunch break to research things or make appointments. These types of tasks tend to fall off our radar when we’re really busy.
- Clean out your purse or your wallet. Trust me, you’ll feel so much better when you set aside time to do little organization tasks like this, no matter how busy you are.
- Use your power hour to take care of yourself by taking a walk, doing yoga or some other form of exercise. When we’re busy, we stop taking care of ourselves. In the long run, this can have a negative impact on your health.
- Schedule a haircut, manicure or even a thirty minute massage during your power hour. That way you don’t have to spend weekend time on self-maintenance.
- If you can’t spend an hour practicing self-care – really, how many busy people can??! – set aside a shorter period of time to do something small like light a candle and practice mindfulness or talk to a friend or loved one. Do something small that will make you feel good.
- It may seem counter-productive to add more work to your plate, but consider volunteering during your power hour. Volunteering isn’t just good for the people you are helping, it has been proven to have a positive effect on the volunteer.
I want to caution that if you do chose to use your power hour for work, be sure to also do something small for yourself for at least 10-15 minutes. You can’t work straight through lunch for days on end or you’ll end up burned out pretty quickly.
- Use your power hour to work on a large project that requires focus. Close your door, put up a do not disturb sign and power through your project for an hour. Doing this during your lunch break hopefully will ensure that you won’t have interruptions so you’ll be able to make a huge dent in your workload.
- If you have a passion project or an idea for a side hustle, use your lunch power hour to make some headway.
- Power through work so that you can get out of the office at a reasonable time. That being said, if you choose this route (which I do far too often), be sure to set aside a small amount of time for self-care or you’ll eventually feel burned out.
Once I started scheduling a power hour, I started really making headway in so many areas. Ironically, it helps the most when I’m super busy. If I don’t set aside a power hour when I’m busy, I tend to get overwhelmed and focus on less important tasks. When I make a conscious effort to set aside 30 minutes to an hour, the busy times become more manageable.