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If you're one of those people who regard lunch as one of the few moments of blessed solace in the day, this piece is not for you. A great man once said, "Food is an unavoidable evil." And by "evil," he meant distraction from work.
But this isn't supposed to be a message to start hating on lunch down-time. On the contrary, it's possible to use lunch as a means of boosting productivity, networking, or both.
Expensed Meals, Team Morale
Many firms have taken to the habit of allowing teams of attorneys to go out on the firm's dime, so long as the main purpose is work. However, even if employees end up talking about non-work-related stuff once in a while, the very act of going out to eat without the worry of who will take care of the bill has a great effect of boosting morale. After eating, people tend to be more productive and focused -- so long as the meal wasn't too carb heavy.
Another good way to boost energy for later on in the day is to engage in a midday workout. An amalgamation of the various collected fitness studies online generally point to the benefits of exercising semi-vigorously around lunchtime in order to achieve an energy boost that will last for several hours. Doing a workout with co-workers is even better because it builds camaraderie and gets much needed blood upwards towards the brain.
Networking Over Food
If you really want to be ambitious during your lunch break, consider scheduling lunch with people who can potentially give you business. For example, consider scheduling lunch with former law school friends or lawyers you know from other firms. You may also consider lunching with bankers, accountants, or other professionals who may be able to give you work. You will be surprised by how much time can be used to generate future business ... without ever actually taking time out of your day.
Of course, not everyone is sold on the idea of staying productive during lunch. For example, the Japanese are famed for encouraging workers to sleep at work when they begin to feel drowsy. If that sounds a bit extreme, there are still plenty of reasons to simply relax during lunch.
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