Have you ever challenged yourself to see what you could accomplish by simply setting aside an hour each day to better yourself or your life? The monotony of a 9 to 5 job mixed with the chaos of social and family life often makes it difficult to find time discovering productive things to do at home or even during breaks.
As humans, we need time to ourselves to focus on the types of hobbies and goals we yearn to achieve. Naturally, we’re social beings, but we crave that time alone in order to concentrate on self-improvement. However, life doesn’t always oblige — finding that quiet time can be hard.
Making time to work toward your goals before or after work is tough. Few people will get up that early and, let’s face it, after work we just want to relax. That’s why we devised some ways you can use your lunch break to drive success.
Taking advantage of your lunch break every day will help you enhance your personal, professional and financial life. Even devoting just 30 minutes of your midday break to achieve a personal objective can make the difference.
Keep reading below for a detailed breakdown on,
16 productive things to do over your lunch break
…or jump to the infographic at the end of this post for an overview.
1. Get certified.
There is a plethora of free online courses that offer certificates of completion. Expand your resume by getting a certification in business and management, computer science, communication, education, or even art and music.
If you’re feeling stuck in your current job role, acquiring certifications in different fields is an excellent start to a career transition. Showing this initiative can also put you up for that promotion you’ve been eyeing. Not to mention it could increase your earnings by a quarter!
2. Create a visualization board.
Like a mood board incorporates different colors and images that make you feel a certain way, a vision board provides inspiration for what you want your career to be. You can dig out the glue and scissors or use this as an opportunity to boost your graphic design skills.
Either way, vision board is a helpful tool in visualizing your future. If you can see it, you can achieve it. Let it serve as a daily reminder of what you’re working toward.
3. Record your accomplishments.
In addition to your CV or resume, keep documentation of all of your achievements, especially the most recent ones. Because this demonstrates your abilities and eagerness to better yourself, it will be useful in negotiating salaries and raises.
4. Find a mentor.
Finding a professional mentor can help you in your career endeavors. They don’t have to be an enigma like Mr. Miyagi or 900 years old like Yoda, but your mentor should be someone that you admire and trust.
In fact, 84% of people with a formal mentor at work increase their proficiency faster than their counterparts.
5. Start a blog.
If you don’t already have a personal website, you should strongly consider starting a blog. It complements your application materials by allowing potential employers to see your personal and professional side. Include your work experience as well as your hobbies to provide an inside look at your personality.
Some sites allow you to make a website for free, but it’s even better to purchase a website domain with your name to strengthen your personal brand. It should read www.[yourname].com, provided it’s available.
6. Understand your health benefits.
It’s important that you know and understand your health benefits. That way you know exactly how much you should be paying in copays and deductibles. Reducing payments and stress when it comes to insurance is always a benefit.
7. Work in some physical activity.
Getting active releases endorphins that improve your mood. Exercising on the weekends and a few times during the week will contribute greatly to your physical and mental health. Even simply jogging every day during your lunch break has the potential to make you feel 41% more motivated.
8. Listen to inspiring podcasts.
The best thing about podcasts is that you can listen to them anywhere. Be it in the car, at work or on the move, you can browse and listen to inspiring podcasts. Apple Podcasts, Google Play, and Spotify are great podcast platforms.
9. Read more inspirational quotes.
The words of many great people hold value and you can always learn a thing or two about life and success through their experience. There are a variety of categories of quotes to choose from, for example quotes about resilience, life lesson quotes or even from past presidents such as Barack Obama quotes.
Depending on what you are looking to focus and empower on, instilling yourself with these powerful quotes help in realigning your mindset for a more positive approach.
10. Learn a new skill.
Similar to getting certified in professional abilities, acquiring skills not related to your career are beneficial to your life. Putting in the time and effort to learn something that interests you, such as cooking or coding, can make you feel more confident and prouder. Doing these types of hobbies on the side can also reduce your stress and anxiety.
11. Practice eating mindfully and healthily during lunch break.
What you put into your body affects what energy your body puts out. Eating healthy foods and “brain food” will keep you from feeling tired after your midday meal. Additionally, focusing on eating during lunch (rather than what work needs to be completed) can improve your digestion and efficiency.
If you’re using your lunchbreak to work on personal projects, it may be best to split it in half: spend 30 minutes eating and the other 30 minutes doing what you choose.
12. Take a minute to review your finances.
No need to get in the nitty-gritty of taxes, retirement plans and debt payments at this time. Simply take a couple minutes to look over your recent transactions. Are you sticking to your budget? Frequently reviewing your spending can lead to better purchase decisions.
Really, there’s just so many productive things to do when bored.
13. Increase your 401k contributions.
The amount that your employer contributes to your retirement fund is based on what you contribute. Most companies have matching programs that have a limit to a certain percentage of your salary. Be sure that you’re using the program to its fullest by contributing at least the maximum amount that your employer will match.
14. Know your credit score.
In addition to requesting a credit report from the three credit reporting agencies every 12 months, there are websites that offer free credit scores and reports. Monitoring your credit score in conjunction with reviewing your expenditures will help you make sound financial decisions.
Beware of some credit reporting websites, though. They can be used as ploys to get your email address or other information. You could even get signed up for a paid subscription service!
15. Set up automatic transfers.
Saving is a lot harder when you have to manually move your funds around. Set up automatic transfers for every pay period to ensure that you’re saving money. For even more effortless saving, set up your direct deposit (if you have it) to put a percentage of your earnings into your checking and savings accounts.
16. Update your passwords.
Some 40% of people have had their password stolen in the past year. With personal information being increasingly digitized, it’s more important than ever to secure your online data. Your vital accounts, such as financials, should have their passwords changed the most often.
Consistently making time for yourself amid your busy schedule is no easy feat. However, that time is crucial for you to recharge and advance your personal and professional life.
A lot can be done in an hour, especially if you keep up with it every day. Use these 16 productive things to do ideas and start taking advantage of your lunch break!