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by Heather Taylor via Fairygodboss | April 22, 2019


women on bicycles

Arianna Huffington enjoys eating breakfast foods for lunch. Oprah Winfrey always tries to have lunch in her garden—and will only eat food found in her garden. Michelle Obama likes to pack her own lunches and watches viral videos during her meals.

Routines—whether they’re of the morning, lunch, or commute variety—are unique for every worker. We may brush routines off because, well, they're routines, and so seem quite ordinary. However, simple routines, especially lunch break routines, can contribute to your overall productivity and success. So if you need to spice up yours, take a cue from one of these three lunch break routines.

1. Read while eating, then brainstorm.

Taylor Mack is the owner of two online businesses including an online bookstore called SilverFire Books. She works from home but sticks to the same schedule she had when she worked a full-time job. Mack carves out at least 30 minutes each day to read, and usually does her reading as she eats. This is a win-win approach for Mack, no matter how busy she gets.

“This allows my brain to reset and helps me re-focus for the rest of the day," she says. "Eating re-energizes me and gets my ideas flowing. I love to brainstorm new blog posts or marketing strategies while I eat!”

2. Eat, then move (or move, then eat).

Take a break to eat, then get moving afterwards (or vice versa). This is how Mary Jo Fasan—CEO and founder of Jo Chicago Communications—recommends making the most out of a lunch breaj. Use pockets of time in a 60-minute lunch break to go for a bike ride, or spend some time in a yoga studio to beat the afternoon slump.

“Taking an afternoon break to move reduces stress, clears your mind, and leaves you with an energy boost perfect for sparking creativity,” Fasan says. “There’s no roadblock a little sweat-sesh can’t solve!”

3. Sketch (or do some other crafty activity) while eating outside.

Katie Schmidt is the owner and lead designer of Passion Lilie, an ethical clothing boutique. Unlike others that may decide to work straight through lunch, Schmidt uses her break to take time away from the job—and to use that time in a productive and creative manner.

Once Schmidt is ready to break for lunch, she shifts her mind over to creative work. Schmidt takes her lunches outdoors where she can enjoy the weather and draw inspiration from nature. Towards the end of the lunch break, she takes the time to brainstorm new ideas, seek out surrounding inspiration, and sketch new designs. She’ll also jot down new work or design ideas that come to her during this time.

Most of all, Schmidt uses her lunch hour to focus on herself. It may sound a bit obvious, but think about it: when was the last time you focused just on yourself during the workday?

“Time away helps me clear my head and bring a fresh perspective to the table," she says. "Some of my best ideas come to me when I’m not on the clock!”

A version of this post previously appeared on Fairygodboss, the largest career community that helps women get the inside scoop on pay, corporate culture, benefits, and work flexibility. Founded in 2015, Fairygodboss offers company ratings, job listings, discussion boards, and career advice.