Who moved my lunch?

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Lunch-meetings!

Lunch-and-Learn!

We’ll provide pizza!

Brown-bag-seminars!

Oh, you think you’re busy and dedicated? We’ll I’ll see you a full calendar and raise you a lunch: “Well, I’m free at noon….”

Is lunch under attack? For a long time, I’ve made it a habit not to schedule lunch meetings, or expect them of others, four days a week. If I stay at my desk, I will work, I will answer questions, I will dribble food on my keyboard, and I will go home to my family and be crabby and exhausted. So I take lunch at the gym. I do reserve one lunch a week to spend as I choose. While there are  a few people who trump my no-lunch-meetings rule, that list is short.

Gym-lunch started out of necessity for me. With kids and a busy job, it was the only time of the day I could consistently exercise. But here’s the really neat part: I’m not the only one. I see a lot of familiar faces and co-workers there, and they’re all pretty awesome workers. I keep my workouts short, eat a quick bite when I get back, and we’re off to the afternoon!

I have a theory about this – the midday workout gets you refocused, gets you through the afternoon slump (often without coffee!) and even if nothing else goes well that day, you’ve done something good. Kind of like making your bed first thing in the morning.

Over time, it’s become easier to just stick with this habit instead of constantly looking for time to exercise in a schedule that doesn’t easily make room for anything “extra”. In theory, it’s pretty easy to establish this kind of habit.

1. put it on your calendar

2. respect the time

It’s the second one that’s hard. Having a workout partner helps a lot – someone who’ll be expecting you, on time, who will be late for something else if you let “just one more task” creep into your designated time.

Finding a research partner, a reports partner or someone who’s trying to make time for something compatible with your goal could help make anything routine – the key is that the other person’s habits will affect yours, so choose your partner wisely.

As for lunch, I believe our workplace sets the tone for a lot of our activities – after all, most of us spend more time at work than anywhere else – so what habits are you cultivating at work and are they contributing to an effective workplace or a stressed-out workplace?

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