For most of us, the non-eating portion of our lunch hour typically consists of browsing through forums and news sites, making small talk with colleagues or staring at our phone.
In truth, all that time squandered adds up. What could you do to improve your life and emotional well-being if you devoted just one hour a day to it?
How to Improve Your Life In 1 Hour
Here are just a few of the most brilliant ways you can improve your life in one hour, and take advantage of the lunchtime break.
From Paul McCartney to Oprah Winfrey, some of the most successful names in the showbiz industry swear by meditation for its stress-reducing and levelling effect. Best of all, it can take very little time to do.
Here’s how you can fit it into your workday:
If you’re lucky enough to have your own office, close the door or find a quiet place such as the park or an unused rec room. From a seated position – ideally, on the floor with your legs crossed – rest your arms on your knees and keep a straight back.
Close your eyes and begin to focus on your breathing by taking a big breath in through your nose, slowly pulling the air upwards from the abdomen for as long as you can.
Then, release the breath through your mouth in a slow, controlled way, until you have completely emptied the air out of your lungs. Repeat for 5-10 minutes. The goal of this focus on the breath is to distract your mind from stressful thoughts and worries bouncing around in your head- by the time you finish the exercise, you should feel able to think more clearly.
2. Ignore Your Social Media Feeds
In defence of squandered hours, Oscar Wilde once said:
“Time you enjoy wasting is not wasted time.”
While you might normally use your lunch hour to glance through news stories, Instagram, Facebook feeds and group chats, consider putting a lunchtime ban on mindless scrolling.
Instead of glazing over at your phone screen every day, mix things up by finding a way to engage with the environment around you: consider starting a conversation with someone new, draw something or start reading a new book.
You’ll be much more aware of what happened in your lunch hour rather than merely letting the time slip past uneventfully.
3. Start A Project or Blog
If you’re feeling somewhat proactive, consider starting a blog project.
Blogging is a relatively low-maintenance pastime which as well as giving you a place to open up, can increase confidence and help you achieve goals- particularly if you are blogging about a personal journey such as parenthood, weight loss or body-building.
Treat yourself to a personalized domain name; there are plenty to choose from, they’re cheap to run, and give your blog more integrity and a sense of ownership. Once you’ve started, enjoy exchanging ideas and inspiration with a like-minded online community that will spur you on in pursuit of your goals.
4. Reach Out to Someone
We always assume we’ll have tomorrow to do what we could have done today, and making the time to catch up with someone or reply to an email is usually one of these tasks.
If you have just one hour, phoning a family member, messaging an old friend – or even making peace with an ex – can do wonders for your mental well-being.
A familiar voice will push those work-related anxieties to the back of your mind by reminding you about what really matters in life, so pick up the phone and prepare to feel a weight lifted off.
5. Take A Bite Out of a Big Task
The question is, “How do you eat an elephant in one go?”
You don’t. The answer of course, is to approach the task in stages.
Begin something you’ve been putting off with the expectation that you are not going to finish it. This mindset immediately takes the pressure off and allows you to think pragmatically about what your first moves will be.
Chances are, if you dedicate yourself to a project or task for just one hour, you will get in to it enough to keep going once things get underway and achieve a lot more than you thought you would. Wouldn’t that be a satisfying achievement for one little lunch hour?
6. Make A Worthwhile Purchase
Aside from ordering a lumbar support cushion from Amazon, booking a mini break or a holiday could be the smartest purchase you ever made. Travel is good for the soul, so instead of just thinking about it, actually commit yourself to that trip of a lifetime.
Whether travelling alone or with a friend/partner – the more spur of the moment, the better!
Browsing through a website such as holidaypirates.com can be a solid starting point – they independently source and report on budget breaks for people who have no specific agenda on when or where they want to go- a good place for inspiration if you’re not sure where to start.
7. Revamp your Résumé
Even if you’re not job hunting, taking an hour to update your CV and Linked In accounts is a smart move throughout your professional career to ensure you’re not a position of playing catch up later on.
Updating your résumé forces you to take stock of your core skills and abilities, which can bolster confidence and highlight the areas where you may need to expand your know-how or undertake additional training in order to be proficient in the necessary skills which will land you that dream job.
Review your To-Do
Lists are a great way to help you focus on the things needing urgently addresses in your life, but to avoid getting overwhelmed by a list of To-Dos and ‘should have done’s’, by taking stock of your week past and using this a the basis for reasonable objectives for the week ahead.
Secure the likelihood of achieving these targets by syncing your To-Do goals with your phone and computer calendars, or invest in a task management app to really harness your inner planning powerhouse.