7 Productive Things to Do on Your Lunch Break | GenTwenty

In the midst of hectic work schedules, it can be tempting to use those 60 minutes of freedom we call “lunch break” to socialize with coworkers or try the new sandwich press in the café.

Although it can be tempting to have a leisurely lunch five times a week, don’t underestimate the number of productive ways you can spend your lunch break! By checking items off your to-do list during the day, you can save precious time when it really counts.

Here are some productive ways to leverage your lunch hour and maximize that one thing none of us can ever get enough of: time.

1. Get in a low-impact (and low-sweat) workout.

Try taking up yoga, Pilates, or walking during your break to get in some exercise without breaking a sweat.

Find out if your office has a wellness area or gym equipment available for employees to use. Don’t work in an office, but still want to burn some calories? Try going for a walk outside or at a mall or plaza nearby. Bonus points if you find a workout buddy.

2. Run your errands.

Do some grocery shopping when the stores are a little less crowded, make your weekly trip to the ATM, and schedule your haircuts and appointments during the lunch hour. You have to do all of these things anyway, and getting them done before everyone else floods out of the office will save you some time in the process.

3. Explore your city.

Whether you’re new to town or have lived there your whole life, take some time to explore the area around your workplace.

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On foot, bicycle, or vehicle, take some time to explore the blocks and cruise areas you haven’t ventured to before. You might find a delicious hole-in-the-wall diner with perfect French fries, realize that your favorite coffee chain is just a couple blocks from your office, or maybe just discover the most beautiful architecture in town.

4. Learn a new skill.

Want to increase your typing speed, learn a new language, or take up meditation? Your lunch break is long enough to practice some flashcards, take practice tests online, or focus on personal growth, but short enough to keep you from getting distracted.

Try finding a coffee shop or library where you can concentrate, and begin learning something new!

5. Join a club or committee.

Many companies offer public speaking groups, leadership councils, and minority panels that employees are encouraged to participate in. Joining an employee-led group is a great way to interact with coworkers and strengthen your network.

6. Volunteer locally.

Some companies offer incentives, like grant opportunities and free logo gear for employee volunteers.

Donating time to read to children, tutor students at a local school, or serve meals at a shelter or food pantry are all great ways to give back to your community and plump up your resume, too.

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7. Take some time just for yourself.

While it’s great to spend your break productively, sometimes the best way to give back to yourself is simply to nourish your passions and relax. Take some time out to read a new book, go for a leisurely drive, or treat yourself to a blended coffee. You work hard, and you deserve it!

The key to maximizing your time is to spend your lunch break doing things you would otherwise be doing before or after work in your sacred “free time.” Or worse yet, during the time that should be reserved for sleeping, eating, or spending time with loved ones.​

Life can get crazy, and sometimes it may feel like there aren’t enough hours in the day (or year!) to get everything done. Small steps, like making better use of break time, are key to staying on top of it all.

Remember, sometimes the best way to spend your time, is simply to take care of yourself.