If you are anything like me you are notorious at not using your lunch break effectively. It may be that works gets in the way or you feel you cannot take that extra time for yourself. Lunch breaks are there to help you clear your head, refresh and reconnect with your tasks at hand. Lunch breaks help you refocus and recharge.

If you are working remotely with a Virtual Assistant (VA), the VA will adapt to your time schedule and your needs. Look at your priorities at the start of the day and try to make sure you do not schedule calls during your lunch break. Give yourself the space to be able to get up from your workplace, leave your office and eat your lunch away from your office space, possibly have a walk or run get and just take your mind off work for a period of time.

A lunch break should be for at least 30 minutes. Any less and you’re not giving yourself time to recharge. An hour is ideal, and many businesses will allocate an hour within your contract for a lunch break. Check your contract or talk to HR if this applies to you, or if you are a solopreneur you’re the boss, enforce a break!

Schedule a lunch rota with your colleagues so the team is supporting others and making sure that you do get your break. Block out your calendar so you can’t schedule meetings or appointments during your lunchtime, and divert your phone if you can to a colleague or pop on a message advising you’re unavailable during the time period and will respond once you return to your desk. Try not to divert your calls to your mobile. If it’s really important someone will find a way to reach you.

There is nothing worse than being asked to do a task 5 to 10 minutes before you were scheduled to go your break and be expected to complete the task urgently. If you get interrupted or asked to work frequently around your lunch break, discuss this with your supervisor. Make sure you get the time that is allocated to you. This also applies to working late every day – if you can’t fit all your work into your allocated hours then there could be a problem with your workload.

If you feel the need to do something over lunch, why not listen to a podcast or take a notepad and pen and write?  By stepping outside your usual environment, it may generate new ideas and thoughts that you may not have come up with otherwise. Use the time to meet with friends that you may not get to see otherwise regularly.

If you find it difficult to not work during your break, you may be able to build in networking and self-improvement during your lunch time. Consider having a lunch meeting with a colleague, a mentor, a trainer or with potential clients. This will give you an opportunity to get out of your work space and maximise your lunch break.

Give yourself a break. Use your lunch time effectively to refocus and recharge every day.