It’s 12:15. You’re starving. Instead of leaving your desk and heading to the sandwich shop around the corner, you pull out last night’s leftovers, throw your headphones on, and chow down at your desk, enjoying cold pizza in total solitude. Sound like you? If so, you might be going about your lunch all wrong.
That’s according to writer and editor Lily Herman, who recently penned a Daily Muse piece titled “3 Things Successful People Do During Their Lunch Breaks.” As she says, “staying glued to your computer screen and not getting up is actually hurting your job performance,” and she’s got proof to back that up.
For example, Twitter co-founder Evan Williams spends his lunches exercising. He finds it helps with productivity, and while Herman admits that not everyone has time to hit the gym or go for a run, there are little things everyone can do, like taking 20-minute walks or engaging in some light stretching.
Another way to win your lunch: Don’t go it alone. As Herman reports, Virgin founder Richard Branson once invited a business rival to join him for a bite — a strategy that allowed the two to become friends. Even if you don’t feel like sitting down with your nemesis, you can use lunch to powwow with coworkers. It’s a great way to bond and get a better understanding of everyone’s role at the company. You might also hop on LinkedIn, Herman says, and find other people in your industry who it would be beneficial to know. Chatting over a sandwich could make a big difference in your career.
If all that interaction with other people sounds exhausting, and if you’re just tired in general, do like Arianna Huffington and take a nap. Lunchtime doesn’t offer a ton of time for catching ZZZs, but according to Herman, grabbing a mere 20 minutes of shuteye could help you feel refreshed for the rest of the day. Just make sure you set an alarm!