The crumbs of a thousand sandwiches are forever lodged in my computer keyboard because, like most people, I rarely take a lunch break.
“Lunch is for wimps” in the words of Gordon Gekko in the movie Wall Street. Indeed, not much has changed since 1987 where lunch is concerned. Even if we do manage some time away from the desk nowadays, it’s rarely without our hand-held devices tagging along.
Yet getting away from it all is so important—mentally and physically. According to Frank Partnoy, professor of law and finance at the University of San Diego, a lunch break allows you to get perspective, think strategically, and put things into a broader context.
Partnoy is the author of WAIT: The Useful Art of Procrastination. He says, “I was struck by how many senior leaders stressed the importance of strategic “downtime” – lunch or some other block of an hour or more per day – to break up their thinking and spur them to be more strategic.”
But it’s not just our minds that need a break. Our bodies were not built to sit and type for eight or more hours a day. We need to move during the working day – and more than the two minutes it takes to grab something off the printer.
I’ve been telling clients that if they must eat over their keyboards, fine, but then they also must get up and get out. Even a ten minute walk around the block will bring benefits.
According to the Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research website, regular brisk walking can help you:
- Maintain a healthy weight
- Prevent or manage various conditions, including heart disease, high blood pressure and type 2 diabetes
- Strengthen your bones
- Lift your mood
- Improve your balance and coordination
So, start taking a break at lunch – and leave the smartphone at your desk!