It’s noon, and your stomach’s grumbling for lunch. You’ve got one hour to kill—work tasks on pause—so what do you do? And most important, is however you’re spending that time benefiting you in any way?
We asked nine entrepreneurs from the Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC), “What is one creative way entrepreneurs can get more out of their lunch break each day?” Here, they share their personal strategies:
Unplug completely during lunch. Even in the most hectic times, a clear head can provide a fresh perspective.
—Matthew Moisan, Moisan Legal, P.C.
2. Turn lunch hour into learn hour.
Take a break to learn something new. Get out of your standard work mode and pick up a new book, podcast or interview. It will help you refocus your thoughts and bring renewed energy to the second half of your workday.
—Neil Thanedar, LabDoor
3. Turn your phone off.
Make a rule to eat and talk only with those present with you during lunch and leave the phone turned off. Sharing a meal with a colleague, friend or staff member is great for relationship-building and creative thinking. This also shows the other person that they have your undivided attention, which is very rare these days.
—Parker Powers, Big Brand Media
4. Step away from the computer.
Stand up, take a step away from your desk and grab a blank sheet of paper. While you eat, give yourself some quiet time to write down your future goals or even important tasks for the day. This exercise will motivate you to do your best work in the afternoon.
—Ashley Mady, Brandberry
When I’m diligent about carving out time for lunch, I don’t use it for a networking meeting. I try to prioritize mediation and/or yoga to ground me and refocus any frantic or stressed energy that built up in the first half of the day. I have a noticeably different energy level afterward that helps me in a number of ways as I go through the rest of the day.
—Darrah Brustein, Network Under 40 / Finance Whiz Kids
6. Watch something educational.
I used to tell myself that I would work while eating lunch, but we all know that multitasking is a myth. I now watch a short episode or segment of Fora.tv on a topic I am trying to learn more about. These 15 minutes can be a great reset and refuel pit stop.
—Matt Ames, MN Pro Paintball
7. Make it count.
I never turn down a lunch or coffee with someone who wants to meet me, pick my brain, etc. I always use lunch as a way to meet new people, hear about new opportunities, tell people what I’m doing and learn about possibilities. I’ve developed many partnerships over lunch. I never consider myself too “good” or “busy” to take time to see who is out there and who wants to talk.
—Scott Petinga, The Scott Petinga Group
8. Do yoga.
Practice the mountain pose in yoga! No matter how busy I am, I make time for at least one guided session every week and regularly practice on my own. Even taking just a few minutes to move through some poses will help you relax and let go of frustrations. It will also energize you so that you’re better prepared for whatever challenges lie ahead.
—David Ehrenberg, Early Growth Financial Services
9. Get outside.
Fresh air can bring so many new perspectives. Before you leave your desk, queue up a big question or creative problem you’re grappling with. Bring a notebook, sit on a park bench and let your mind wander “off leash” (and device free) for at least 20 minutes to see what you can come up with.
—Jenny Blake, Jenny Blake
Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC) is an invite-only organization comprising the world’s most promising young entrepreneurs. In partnership with Citi, YEC recently launched StartupCollective, a free virtual mentorship program that helps millions of entrepreneurs start and grow businesses.