I’m guilty of spending 10 hours a day in front of my keyboard without coming up for air. This includes eating all meals there. This fact is pretty obvious when you look at the dirty, sticky mess that I call a computer. See, I used to think that this behavior was positive, since it meant I could do extra work without having to break for lunch. Then I read this article from Fast Company, and realized that I may be doing more harm than good when I skip lunch.
When I first started my job, I used to take regular lunch/gym breaks, but every time I did I would spend the whole time freaking out about the work I had to tackle when I got back. Without even realizing it, I got into the routine of munching on a snack or a meal as I typed with one hand. Then I would realize I had gone all day without venturing outside. Needless to say, this is not very relaxing. Or healthy for my sanity.
Yesterday I decided to break myself of this habit. I went out to lunch and kept my phone in my purse the whole time. I didn’t check my email or look at Facebook or think about work. I expected to come back feeling panicked, but I actually felt a lot better. I had some time to think about non-work things and see the outside world and interact with other humans. My mind felt refreshed.
Though it may be tempting to work through lunch to knock off a few extra tasks on your “To do” list, regularly skipping lunch is actually doing your mind a disservice. When you work and work and don’t get any kind of break, your brain becomes mushy and you start to lose focus. If your job involves being in front of a computer all day like me, I’d highly suggest taking a break around lunchtime. Even if it’s not actually to eat, get up and take a walk. Go get a coffee. Call a friend. Do something other than stare at your screen like you’re hypnotized.
Do you normally break for lunch? Do you think it helps you stay focused?