Work Smart, Not Through Lunch Jessica Lunk It feels like the day has just begun, and yet, just as you’re starting to get into your work groove, it’s time to grab lunch. If you’re like the 65 percent of workers highlighted in a 2011 Right Management survey, you’re too busy to actually enjoy a relaxed meal. Instead, you shove food into your mouth as you gaze at the computer screen. This frantic lunch routine can be avoided if you’re more productive throughout the rest of the day, so follow these tips and get ready to enjoy a real lunch. Get Started Early Often, the biggest problem with productivity is not your own work habits, but rather, your coworkers’ penchant for stopping by and hassling you. If possible, show up an hour earlier, when fewer people are at the office. As a bonus, you’ll avoid much of the rush hour traffic associated with the standard 9-to-5 shift. Take a Break It might seem counterintuitive, but you can actually get far more accomplished if you occasionally set your work aside. Stand up from your desk and take a lap around the workplace. This will clear your head and leave you better prepared to tackle tough projects. It’s also okay to occasionally take a break to scroll your Facebook news feed; a study from the National University of Singapore indicates that those who occasionally take internet surfing breaks are actually more productive than those who work nonstop. The key is not getting sucked into a web surfing wormhole. Set a timer and take a maximum of five minutes for surfing — and then get right back to work. Ditch Multitasking Do you take pride in being an excellent multitasker? Turns out, you’re not nearly as productive as your single-tasking cubicle neighbor. The human brain is not capable of truly multitasking; when it feels like you’re doing two things at once, you are, in reality, switching very quickly from one task to the next — and doing neither effectively. Unfortunately, an Inc. report indicates that this can be a very difficult habit to break, as your brain receives a hit of dopamine every time you switch from one task to the next. Prevent a downward multitasking spiral by setting a strict schedule for checking email and social media. Break Projects Into Manageable Chunks Remember when you were a high school student and your teacher advised you to break that large project into several small chunks? The same principle applies to the workday. From students to employees, everybody procrastinates when faced with huge projects. It’s much easier to get started on a small, but important task. The key to a productive workday is following a carefully-planned schedule. Set aside plenty of time for breaks, including a real lunch break involving a meal away from your desk. You’ll enjoy your workday more, and you’ll get far more accomplished.