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5 ways to maximise your lunch break when working from home

By Jana Angeles

As some states in Australia are battling through the fight of the COVID-19 pandemic, working from home has become a norm rather than a work perk for both companies and organisations. Depending on where you're living at the moment and the allowances that your employer has given you, you may have the opportunity to work a hybrid schedule where you're only required to go into the office a couple of days a week and work from home for the rest.

Either way, working from home has its benefits but with that flexibility, it comes with the risk of getting carried away with work and not taking a proper lunch break. By skipping it, there's no guarantee that you'll be productive for the rest of the day given that you haven't stepped away from your desk. Not taking a lunch break also means you may not feel recharged, especially for those tasks that require a lot of mental energy. 

If you're keen to make the most of your lunch break, below are five ways you can maximise the time you have so you can get on with the tasks for the rest of the day.

How do I maximise my lunch break?

1. Eat the right foods.

Your meal during lunch can impact your productivity levels throughout the afternoon so be sure to avoid carb-heavy meals if you want to avoid the mid-afternoon slump. Having a lean salad or vegetarian sandwich can give you the energy needed while also keeping you fuller for longer. Pairing your meal with fresh fruit afterwards can also give you the boost if you're after something sweet to balance out those savoury flavours. 

Not sure what to eat? Check out some of our suggested healthy lunch meals you can easily prepare that are tasty, budget-friendly and quick to prepare.

2. Take a walk. 

Taking a walk can do wonders if you're looking to get some exercise throughout the day. You and your colleagues may have agreed to doing the STEPtember challenge this year to raise funds for people with Cerebral Palsy - a great event to participate in if you're willing to pledge that you'll take 10,000 steps everyday for 30 days in September. 

As more people are working from home and commuting less, this means most people aren't moving frequently. If you have an hour-long lunch break, why not make the effort to schedule a 20-minute walk after you finish eating your lunch. You'll not only feel better for the rest of the day but any physical activity can improve your mental energy, especially if you're in a type of job where creativity is required.

3. Spend time with nature.

man reading a book outside

If you're looking to refresh your attention span and finding it difficult to find your focus when tackling your to-do list, it might be worth grabbing your favourite book and sitting outside on your balcony or garden during your lunch hour. 

According to research, people who spend time with nature quite regularly are usually happier in life. By spending time with nature, you increase your emotions of positivity, concentration and mental alertness.

4. Take a nap. 

Want to improve your memory for work? Turns out, taking a nap can help you do this. Having a short sleep in the afternoon for 20 minutes can get you out of that afternoon slump and be productive for the rest of the work day. 

If you typically take a late lunch and start at around 2pm, you could squeeze in a power nap and benefit from bursts of productivity that will allow you to focus and get stuff done during the afternoon. Taking a nap can also help avoid your energy levels from dipping, boosting your focus and concentration for your work even further.

5. Do some light chores around the house. 

woman unloading dishwasher

One of the benefits of working from home is that you save time commuting and a big advantage of this is being able to catch up on house chores during your lunch break. Obviously you can't do a big deep clean around the house but doing light chores during the remainder of your break can help you tackle those little cleaning tasks you have to do to keep the house tidy! 

Here are some examples of light household chores you can do during your lunch break (these take 15 minutes or less to do):
  • Load/unload the dishwasher
  • Start a load of laundry 
  • Wipe your kitchen benchtops
  • Vacuum your living space 
  • Water your indoor plants

Do lunch breaks increase productivity?

The simple answer is yes, lunch breaks do increase your productivity. By skipping your lunch break, you not only miss the opportunity to give your brain a well-deserved mental health break but you also risk feeling overworked, which can lead to work burnout if you're not careful. 

Lunch breaks can help you recharge, increase your energy levels and boost your engagement for your role. 

Find more productivity hacks on SkillsTalk 

If you're looking for ways to own your work, be sure to follow our SkillsTalk blog where we share weekly tips on how you can improve your career and study experience. We explore regular topics that can help you with your job search or provide you with the motivation to pursue the career of your dreams.

Looking for an online course? Be sure to check out Upskilled's courses in business, community services and IT. With most qualifications being nationally-recognised and delivered online, you'll have the opportunity to gain relevant skills that can help you make your next career move today. 
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