Taking back the lunch hour

Or I could just take a break only with my imagination.  I wouldn't imagine I was man though!

Or I could just take a break only with my imagination. I wouldn’t imagine I was man though!

Unfortunately if I do that I have to work an extra half hour.  Confession time.  I don’t really pay attention during staff meetings or office one on ones.  The kind of work I do means that somebody understands what I do.  I just have to get accurate data to the next guy on time and nobody understand what he does either.  I really have nothing to do with anybody else’s work in the office so generally nothing is discussed in these meetings that pertain to me.  One day the Human Resources manager pointed out to me that I had taken a one hour lunch when I was only entitled to a half hour.  Huh!  When did that change?  Like a year ago.  Luckily I rarely take lunch at all and I put in a lot of unpaid overtime so the matter was dropped.

Don’t get me wrong my employer does give me a bunch of perks that other companies would never give me. But, well now that it’s gone I want it back!

I really do need to start taking a break and at least getting some real air at some point during the day.  The office does get to be the land of the sleepy by 2PM.  I could stand to get outside, get some chores done, get a little exercise, and maybe stimulate the mind.  I am downtown in a big city so there are often activities going on in my area during lunch designed to attract the business set. Once spring comes I’ll even have a farmers market which I have never visited.

Usually the only time I walk away from my desk now is if I have a problem I can’t solve or I can’t concentrate.  When that happens I do go for a quick walk or I sit outside or in the building lobby and people watch.  Usually my guilt over walking away gets me back in the office before I have had a chance to get any effective de-stressing done.  It’s a start.  Hopefully I can build on that.

Anyway I am sure many of you know what I am talking about.  Many of us do need to consider taking a break or two and some of us could start listening during meetings instead of day dreaming!


Taking back the lunch hour — 12 Comments

    • Being tired comes easily to me. Falling asleep I have gotten much better at but it does require certain rituals and specialized equipment so that is out for me.

  1. How frustrating that so few workplaces recognize the productivity gains that come from exercise and fresh air breaks. A half hour seems so short! Good luck figuring out how to get more outside time and movement, sounds like a really smart and healthy idea!

    • Well … my company pays for my gym membership and along with flex hours I have many other perks so they aren’t exactly evil. I think a factor in this is that workers feel they have to show they have the companies interests front and centre all the time. They feel there are hundreds of people eager to replace them. So they do more and mangers ask for more and … lunch hours turn into half hours or eating at your desk.

  2. I worked in a school office the last 5 years and we didn’t have a lunch hour either. We had 30 minutes but the phones still needed to be answered and people need to be buzzed in.. I used to set a timer and once an hour we would get up and do a few minutes of activity – wall sits, pushups between the desks, sit-ups on the stability ball. It helped combat that sleepiness that comes from sitting at a desk for 8+ hours!!!
    Sorry, that doesn’t really help you get your hour lunch back!

    • Actually I have a stability ball under my desk. I don’t use it a lot because the cleaning around here could use some help. To do a wall sit I would have to find a real wall. You know if I sweet talk IT I could have a nice air conditioned full on gym, no dirt , with 4 solid walls, lots of empty space and complete privacy. We don’t even have a server anymore in the server room just the phone system. Of course if I die in there they wouldn’t find me for months.

  3. Great blog! We actually need more than one break a day, have ultradium rhythms that demand we either sleep or get off track, defocus from the job intentionally. I think the mentally healthy among us naturally just do that.

  4. You definitely need to take a break Cin, even if you just walk around the building for ten minutes to get in some exercise and fresh air 🙂

    • If only I could crack a window around this place and get some real air. That would probably make a huge difference. Instead I grumble about how many floors in this building got the air before me and they have already sucked all the oxygen out.
      Thanks for the comment!

  5. Great blog post! I can work at my desk for hours without taking a real break. Taking a mental and physical break is very important to productivity and general health. But when I’m on a mission to get something done, I find it hard to take breaks. I’m going to keep working on that!

    • I’m like you! When things are getting done and my brain is working properly I just want to keep going until the work is done. Of course when you eventually do get up your usually a wreck with stiff muscles and a foggy brain.

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