In today’s economy, more and more people are trying to save money and be more responsible with their finances. One of the easiest ways to do this is to bring a bag lunch to work instead of going out to eat.
Now, if you’re like me, you’d rather not spend your lunchtime gabbing with the office gossip goose or even worse, work through your lunch break. So, what other things are there to do?
Luckily, there are lots of options to help pass the time and make your lunch the relaxing mid-day break it’s supposed to be.
Take Your Mother’s Advice and Eat Something!
First and foremost… EAT SOMETHING! One of the worst things you can do is to skip a meal, especially during a work day. Skipping a meal can lead to lower blood sugar levels which will increase your stress and decrease your focus. So, don’t think you’re doing yourself any favors by skipping that soup, salad, or sandwich.
1. Watch TV
With two children at home under the age of 5, I rarely have time to watch my favorite T.V. shows on during their air times. Luckily, most major networks offer their shows online for free after they air.
Since a broadband connection is all but a given at most corporations, you’re able to view these shows with much of the same experience you would find at home.
Here are a few of my favorite locations to watch a good sitcom or drama:
- Hulu – http://www.hulu.com
- CBS – http://www.cbs.com
- ABC – http://www.abc.com
- NBC – http://www.nbc.com
- FOX – http://www.fox.com/fod
- PBS – http://www.pbs.org/video
- YouTube – http://www.youtube.com
- AdultSwim – http://www.adultswim.com
Papercraft is a very popular form of model building, that typically includes printing a foldable pattern from a PDF or web site.
Below are a few examples of places to find some very creative and free models at all skill levels:
- Custom Paper Toys – http://www.custompapertoys.com/
- Paper Critters – http://www.papercritters.com/
- Marshal Alexander – http://www.marshallalexander.net/
- Yamaha Paper Craft – http://www.yamaha-motor.co.jp/global/entertainment/papercraft/
3. Learn a New Skill
There are millions of blogs and web sites devoted to tutorials and how-to articles. Many of these are free and are an excellent way to provide both entertainment and self-improvement.
Here are just a few examples of some tutorial based sites I visit on a regular basis. Most of these are design, web development or geek related – however you can easily find tutorial blogs and web sites on any subject imaginable by doing a simple Google search.
- Nettuts+ – http://net.tutsplus.com/
- Psdtuts+ – http://psd.tutsplus.com/
- Tutorial9 – http://www.tutorial9.net/
- Abduzeedo – http://abduzeedo.com/
- Vectortuts+ – http://vector.tutsplus.com/
- Vectips – http://vectips.com/
- Make Magazine – http://makezine.com/projects/
- Instructables – http://www.instructables.com
- eHow – http://www.ehow.com
- DIY Network – http://www.diynetwork.com/
4. Work on a Side Project or Freelance
If you have a side project or do freelance work outside of your normal day job, the lunch hour is a great time to put in extra time during the day.
However, you must be careful not to violate any of your company policies or rules pertaining to using company equipment for personal use. I highly recommend talking to your HR department or referring to your employee manual on your company’s policies. Violating these terms can have grave consequences and usually include the words “…up to and including termination”.
In my experience, most companies are rather liberal with these rules as long as it doesn’t compete directly with their business. So openness and honesty is always the best answer.
If your company does prohibit the use of its equipment, you can always bring your personal laptop to work and use the free wi-fi connectivity found at most coffee shops or restaurants.
5. Join or Start a Book Club
Wait… What?… They actually still make books?!
Yes! Lunchtime reading is a great way to relax and pull your eyes away from the computer screen with some good old fashioned dead tree literature. Many offices I’ve worked at over the past few years have had at least one or two people who belong to a book club.
The lunch hour is a great time to meet and discuss your latest Nancy Drew or Tom Clancy novel, or just get ideas on what to read next.
How About You?
Obviously, these are just a few options to consider to make your lunch time that much more enjoyable… now, it’s your turn.
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