Early in my career, I worked for a company where the CEO required his entire staff to leave the office at lunch. Exceptions were made for lunch meetings both in or out of the office. But in general, he walked out of the office at 12pm and everyone else was expected to follow for a 60 minute (not a minute less) lunch. He believed an hour of time in the middle of the day was crucial to productivity both before and after.
I’ve tried to emulate my old boss for most of my career – but lately, I’ve found I’m not sticking to my guns at lunch. In fact, I bet I’ve eaten lunch at my desk almost every day this summer. And if I haven’t eaten at my desk, I’ve eaten very very quickly at Panera in order to get back to my desk.
This week (and from now on), I’m taking my lunches back. There is rarely a reason I cannot or should not take a full hour to regroup in the middle of the day. In fact, it takes me 7 minutes to get from my home to my office, therefore there isn’t really even a reason to go out for lunch. Plus, I work far more than 40 hours per week – so why not take the full 60 minutes I’m technically allotted.
Today, I made myself a yummy chicken quesadilla at my house and watched the Real Housewives of DC before heading back to the office. I even left my Blackberry in the car while I did so. And yes, I had 11 emails when I came back, but I was less stressed when I was reading them than I would have been doing so on my Blackberry while eating. Mission accomplished.