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How To Get More Out Of Your One-Hour Lunch Break

One hour is a long time, enough to feed your body as well as your brain. Here are some ideas:

How do I maximize my one-hour break at work? originally appeared on Quora - the place to gain and share knowledge, empowering people to learn from others and better understand the world.

Answer by Nela Canovic, MBA with 10+ years experience working in the tech industry :

One hour is a long time, enough to feed your body as well as your brain. Here are some ideas:

1) Make your own lunch and bring it to work. It doesn't take long, and you can prep the night before. In a glass container with a lid, pack some leftovers from your dinner with a few fresh vegetables on the side that you can dress up with some olive oil and lemon juice, a dressing you like, or just have them to snack on (think carrots, tomatoes, cucumber, lettuce, kale, olives, etc.). Or make a sandwich. Bring a snack too. Then find a place to eat, maybe on a patio of your building, or while sitting on a bench in a park nearby, somewhere where you can enjoy your meal and eat it mindfully. Benefits? It's way less expensive. It's less likely you will gain weight (which tends to happen more when eating out, mostly because you don't know all the ingredients that go into a restaurant meal, as opposed to the meal you prepare where you can choose healthier options. Not to mention the portions are bigger in cafeterias and restaurants). You focus on what you are eating, and you feel fuller than you'd feel in a more distracting environment. Time for lunch: 15 minutes. What to do with the rest of your hour?

2) Go for a walk. It's good to keep moving after a meal, and you also give your brain some much needed rest. Monitor your steps with a pedometer or one of the many apps you can download on your phone (try Runtastic); most phones already come with a built in health app that automatically logs your steps daily. You will see how easily you can log the time and make progress every single day.

3) Feed your mind. Select something interesting to listen to on your walk. It can be an audio book or a podcast. Here are some ideas:

  • Planet Money (stories on things smart people do, economics, world politics)
  • Radiolab (show about curiosity, interesting ideas, science, philosophy)
  • The Inquiry (a debate on a controversial topic in the news and 4 experts challenging each other with 2 views, for and against the topic)
  • Question of the Day (a show for people short on time and long on curiosity, with a lot of good humor in trying to answer the question at hand)
  • Achieve Your Goals with Hal Elrod (practical advice and strategies on becoming successful, interviews with famous authors and industry experts)
  • Optimize with Brian Johnson (condensed big ideas from the best books on optimal living, micro classes on how to apply these ideas to everyday life)
  • Happier With Gretchen Rubin (a fun show led by bestselling author of "The Happiness Project" with small ideas you can apply to your life to exercise your happiness muscle)

4) Dream big. In the last 5-10 minutes of walking back to your office, make a plan to dedicate an hour later in the day to something that's important to your personal development. Have you been learning to code in your spare time? Plan out your progress, think which new materials you need or which tutorial you could look up online to get you going. Are you planning a trip abroad? Brainstorm a list of things you need to do and to find out about before booking your ticket. Learning a new language? Think about who you could ask for advice on which materials are optimal for your learning experience, and plan a trip to the bookstore or library to read up on learning techniques that can impact your progress. Write down these ideas when you get back to your desk so you remember them for later. Then schedule these activities into your day, your week, your month. Make your personal development your top priority, and work consistently - even in small increments - towards your goals.