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8 Things Successful People Do on Their Lunch

Do you consider yourself a successful person? We believe everyone possesses the ability to be successful. Reaching the heights of success can take time, though, it’s not always a hurdle jump away. Fortunately, you can shorten this journey through one simple step: making the best use of your lunch hour. If you’re like most people, you have five hours per week that you can use to reach your goals faster. Read on to discover how to make the best use of those five hours:

1. Leave the office
This gives you a break from distractions and an opportunity to refresh yourself. If you simply sit at your desk for lunch every day, you can expect managers and coworkers to ask you to do more work.  By escaping the throws of office duties, you’re regenerating your brain, getting your blood flowing and allowing your focus to rest on things simpler and less stressful. So leave, scat, make like a bread truck. Just don’t forget to go back.
What about those times when you simply have to stay at the office? There are ways to work around that requirement as well (see the next tip).

2. Do a weekly review
Maintaining control and perspective over your life doesn’t have to be hard. That’s why successful people have mastered review habits. For example, you can review the past week’s sent emails during lunch to determine what follow up actions are needed. Alternately, you can review your calendar of appointments for the rest of the week. This can be applied to your personal schedule as well. Heck, it is lunch after all isn’t it? These practices put you back in command of both your work and personal time and keep your life on track.
Tip: To get started with the weekly review, read Why You Need A Weekly Review To Become More Productive.

3. Get exercise
Successful people know that exercise is vital to maintaining mental focus and health. Successful people get exercise during lunch in several ways, such as going to a fitness class, going for a walk and even putting in a few quick push-ups. Exercise is also a great way to cope with workplace stress. Some companies, like HBO, even offer yoga classes on site! Take the time to ask your HR department about the company’s wellness program–you don’t know what’s available until you ask. In accordance with tip #1, getting the blood flowing provides the mental and physical relief your mind & body needs to perform at its peak.

4. Build career assets
Assets are resources that grow in value over time. Checklists are a resource that successful people regularly use to avoid mistakes and guarantee high quality (check out Learn How To Build A Checklist In 6 Steps). The time you invest to build a career asset will save you plenty of time in the future.
Here are other career assets easy enough to build over your lunch hour:

  • Standard Operating Procedures: a sequence of steps that explains how to do important parts of your job. These procedures can cover how to produce reports, your personal sales process and other aspects of your work.

  • Career Portfolio: a collection of documents (e.g. performance reviews, copies of emails from happy clients, PowerPoint presentation templates) that prove all of your skills and accomplishments.

  • Professional Contact List: write up a contact list (use a paper notebook or a spreadsheet to start with) of the 100 most important people in your career–include their name, title, company, phone number and email address. If you are laid off suddenly, you will need a copy of that information at home for reference.

5. Build relationships
Breaking bread and sharing a meal with another person is one of the best ways to build a relationship. Successful people know that meeting somebody once at an event is just the start of building a relationship. The next step is to spend more time with that person. Lunch is a great way to develop a relationship because people tend to open up about their lives and go beyond business concerns. By delving into personal (but not too personal) information, you and your new contact feel comfortable with one another and trust each other enough to do business together. And remember, first impressions, body language and vocabulary are key!
To learn more about networking and career advancement, read 9 Bulletproof Ways To Get Ahead in Your Career.

6. Eat for health, not entertainment
What you eat for lunch has a significant impact on your results. That’s why successful people tend to avoid pasta and other carb-heavy meals at lunch, they make you lethargic and groggy. To improve your energy and keep moving, eat almonds, walnuts and other proteins. Foods high in protein fuel the brain. Relying on sugar to get you through the day is simply not effective—you’ll crash and burn by 2:30. In addition, consider avoiding foods with strong smells or sauces during the work week; spilling food on yourself during the work day is frustrating! Keep your eating for “entertainment”–desserts and the like–to the evenings and weekends.

7. Run personal errands
Successful people understand the importance of staying focused at work. That’s why they avoid making personal phone calls during business hours as much as possible. However, we all know that life is full of pressures. For example, you may need to pick up prescriptions. One way to improve your productivity is to use a pharmacy nearby your office, so you can go there during your lunch break. To take this principle a step further, adapt Mike Hardy’s time chunking approach. You could designate the Friday lunch hour for personal errands and reserve Monday lunch hours for professional growth. Either way, incorporating a small portion of your personal life into your work day relieves some of the pressure in your home life, and it’s well worth it, however small.
Tip: Learn how to cut down on the time needed to perform chores by reading Hate Chores? Make Them Less Painful with These Tips.

8. Take a nap
Successful people understand the value of being well-rested. Entrepreneur Michael Hyatt has explained 5 reasons you should take a nap every day. Putting in a 20-30 minute nap does a great deal to increase your productivity and mental clarity. Specifically, napping has been shown to improve heart health and improve efficiency. Not sure where to take a nap? Look around if your company has a wellness room or a quiet room. Such rooms may serve as a useful nap location! As an alternative, look for a quiet office or a meeting room (though you run the risk of being “caught” napping).
Tip: Learn How To Design The Perfect Nap, if you’re just getting started with the napping habit.