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Are You Too Busy To Take A Lunch Break…

Are you too busy too take a lunch break in your own business?  Isn’t one of the reasons we are in business for ourselves is so that we can determine not if, but how long, our lunch breaks are? Today’s article is inspired by the HerCanberra article by Maddy M O where shares her thoughts about heading back to work after being a Stay At Home Mum (SAHM) for 11 months and the ensuing conversation on the  HerCanberra Facebook page. In her article, Maddy M O shares that one of the things she is looking forward to by returning to work is a Lunchbreak! Even the good ol’ 15 minutes at my desk will be a luxury!”  I’m sure any parent who has stayed home with the littlies can relate to how tough taking that break can be. However, part of the discussion on the Facebook page was around the fact that some didn’t feel they had time for a lunch break when in the work force – they don’t work for themselves, they work for someone else.

Why are you too busy to take a Lunch Break?

Take a lunch break to increase productivityWhen I read the discussion, it made me think about my own habits and reassess just why, some days, I’m just too busy to take a lunch break.  There are days when I simply don’t take a break – sometimes because I’m engrossed in what I’m doing, sometimes because I feel that I just can’t afford the 15 or 30 minutes because something won’t get finished. As entrepreneurs and  business owners, in general, we all:

  • Work long hours
  • Take breaks at strange times
  • Take on too much!  There’s so much we want to achieve!

Working for long extended hours without a break is a bad thing. Taking regular breaks throughout your day and eating regularly is necessary if you want to maintain or increase your productivity. When I find myself in this situation, I find that I loose focus on what I consider important and get tied up in “the doing”.  When that happens, I have to make a concerted effort to step back, assess what is really going on, re prioritise everything and work from there.  It’s hard work doing that, because whilst I’m planning and re-prioritising - I’m not doing and deadlines may be missed (shock horror!). You know what I find though?  The times when I do step back, take stock, re-prioritise - are the times that I find more clarity and become more productive!

Why do a lunch breaks and work break increase productivity?

Increase ProductivitySimple really, and I should stop being amazed by it, I let my brain relax and the intake of food (good quality, healthy food of course) helps me:

  • See what really is important, urgent, important and urgent or just not important
  • Determine if work can be done by other team members or outsourced to a VA or other body
  • Chunk down work into more manageable pieces…

In fact, Emma Grey (from Work Life Bliss) provides some fabulous insight into the reasons why taking a lunch break is so important:

Interestingly, the brain has an ‘ultradian rhythm’ that lasts 90-120 minutes at a time. After that period, the brain can’t focus without a break (so if you don’t give it one, it will wander). People reach for caffeine when they’d be better off walking down the hallway and back, even for five minutes. 

Productivity skyrockets when you work in concentrated bursts of focus/energy followed by short breaks. More work is done by having breaks, not less.

I find it fascinating that by taking a break, i.e working less hours, you can actually achieve more! Emma offers an awesome eBook, “The 7 Types Of Busy”, over on Work Life Bliss and I recommend any business owners and entrepreneurs grab a copy and do the self assessment.  In fact, I reckon doing the self assessment at different times during the year to see how your patterns change.

We have Employee Lunch Break Laws in Australia - shouldn’t we be enforcing them on ourselves as well? Without a doubt, allowing (even enforcing) regular lunch breaks and work breaks, will increase workforce productivity and it will increase our own small business results. Ultimately, if we, as small business owner and entrepreneurs, want to increase productivity we have to take responsibility to ensure that we not only take a lunch break, but that we take other work breaks through the day.

About Charly Leetham

Charly Leetham is a Small Business Coach and Online Business Implementation Expert who helps small businesses take their business online. With her amazing team, she provides services to solopreneurs and small business who wish to sell or promote their products and services online.

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Charly Leetham, from Ask Charly Leetham, is an Online Business Implementation Expert who helps Small Businesses and Solopreneurs harness the power of the Internet as a Sales Channel or Channel To Market. Grab a free copy of Charly's teleseminar, Getting Your Business Online Using Low and No Cost Resources by visiting www.AskCharlyLeetham.com today

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4 Responses to Are You Too Busy To Take A Lunch Break…

  1. Rosie Shilo, Virtually Yours February 18, 2013 at 1:56 pm #

    Great article Charly. I especially love the last paragraph which highlights the Employee Lunch Breaks laws which those who work for themselves wouldn’t even consider. My coach taught me that the brain needs to refill every now and then, much like drinking a glass of water, it drains and needs a refill to replenish and work effectively. You refill it by giving it a break. You are supporting your own brain – then it will support you right back.

  2. Charly Leetham February 18, 2013 at 2:23 pm #

    Love the glass of water analogy Rosie – it’s so apt!

  3. Maddy M O February 18, 2013 at 9:29 pm #

    Such a timely article Charly!glad the post inspired you :D perfect timing as I started back today, chance to set in POSITIVE practices…and yes, having a break – rule number 1.

    • Charly Leetham February 19, 2013 at 11:48 am #

      Hey, thanks for dropping by Maddy M O! I remember going back to work with littlies, I remember not feeling like I could ‘afford a break’…. such a bad mindset to be in… so thank you, for reminding us all of the importance.

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