I know that not everyone can take a full hour lunch break every day, whether it’s because you have an erratic job, meetings scheduled in, or just one of those office atmospheres where a lunch break is frowned upon. However, please remember
- You are probably not paid for that hour you’re working and are therefore entitled to take the lunch break
- You are actually MORE productive if you take a break to walk around, get some fresh air, eat something!
The office I currently work in is pretty relaxed about lunch breaks, as long as it’s in my google calendar then it’s my time to do as I please.
Yesterday, I met up with Annie (who I know through Project Awesome and mutual friends) for a different sort of lunchbreak. We met at The Monument to climb to the top. For those of you that don’t know, Monument Station next to London Bridge in The City, London, is named after The Monument there.
It’s actually the highest freestanding stone pillar in the world. Built in 1671, it was designed to commemorate the Great Fire and celebrate the rebuilding of the city. Standing at 61 metres high, it measures the exact distance from Pudding Lane, where the Great Fire began and the site on which the fire stopped, where The Monument stands today.
Here’s a little more background info on the Great Fire;
The fire began in a baker’s house in Pudding Lane on Sunday 2nd September 1666 and finally extinguished on Wednesday 5th September, after destroying the greater part of the City. Although there was little loss of life, the fire brought all activity to a halt, having consumed or severely damaged thousands of houses, hundreds of streets, the City’s gates, public buildings, churches and St. Paul’s Cathedral. The only buildings to survive in part were those built of stone, like St. Paul’s and the Guildhall.
As part of the rebuilding, it was decided to erect a permanent memorial of the Great Fire near the place where it began. Sir Christopher Wren, Surveyor General to King Charles II and the architect of St. Paul’s Cathedral, and his friend and colleague, Dr Robert Hooke, provided a design for a colossal Doric column in the antique tradition. They drew up plans for a column containing a cantilevered stone staircase of 311 steps leading to a viewing platform. This was surmounted by a drum and a copper urn from which flames emerged, symbolizing the Great Fire. (source)
Annie and I climbed the 311 stairs and were greeted with gorgous views across London bathed in sunshine. Love being tourists in our own city. It wasn’t particularly busy as I’m not sure that many people know that you can actually climb it (probably a good thing as there wasn’t a huge amount of space on the spiral staircase!).
After enjoying the views for a while, we retreated back to ground level, where we were presented with a certificate- how cute!
If you think about it, an hour a day, 5 hours a week, 20 hours a month is 240 hours a year- that’s a lot of wasted time/free working hours! Why not plan in at least one thing a week to do in your lunch break;
- Go to the gym- you can squeeze in a guick 20 minute workout or class. Lots of people in my office actually take their lunchbreaks early or late to avoid peak times at the gym.
- Meet a friend for lunch and catch up
- Read a book, magazine, blogs etc (although extra points if you step away from a screen!)
- Write: a letter, an email to a friend or a blog post.
- Go shopping- do some food shopping at a local market, buy some new clothes, pick up something nice for lunch. I work right next to Borough Market and am spoilt for choice when it comes to fresh food, I should make the effort to visit during the week!
- Explore your city/town/field- I work within walking distance of so many amazing landmarks that don’t take long to go round. Find out what’s near you and learn a little more about your local area. I’ve got St Paul’s as my next touristy thing to do in a lunch break.
- Go for a walk or run- it doesn’t have to be a long one, getting some fresh air can do wonders for your concentration levels.
- Eat mindfully, really pay attention to what you’re eating without multi-tasking.
- Learn something- I do this by reading, although I wish I could study in my lunch breaks!
Great post – I completely agree and am always trying to encourage my colleagues to take breaks as like you rightly say a) we’re not paid for them and b) we are more productive when we have taken a break. It’s an excellent habit, whatever it is you do with it, as long as it’s not work! Today I met my other half and we went for a walk to buy salad – not quite as exciting as walking up 311 steps to the top of The Monument, but a worthy way to spend 45 minutes. Oh and it meant I had a decent healthy lunch too.
Maybe when I’m next in London (although I’ve no idea when that might be) you could add “meet someone new” to your list?
Yes please would love to meet in person! Going for a walk with the other half sounds lovely and don’t worry, I definitely don’t normally walk up The Monument in my lunch break!
I could not agree more. I always take lunch away from desk even if its just to walk to the place down the road for tasty healthy food.
I often workout in lunch (just back from a gym sesh!).
Im trying to wean myself off blogs in lunch (today not included…) as I find Im more likely to procrastinate back at the desk!
what an amazing lunch break. sometimes i love going to the gym before work, that way i feel like work isnt the first thing i did that day. it helps to break it up.
I totally agree with taking a proper lunch break! So few people in my office do, so it’s hard to walk out for an hour when everyone around you isn’t! I’ve started walking down to the river near where I work which is lovely in the sunshine 🙂 I didn’t realise you could climb up the Monument, what great views!
NO I didn’t know you could until recently!
I always get away from my desk at lunchtime, even if it’s just for 10 minutes! Would love standing desks or Pilates balls to be the norm in the work place! Beautiful weather for the monument.
St. Paul’s is great. You should definitely climb the stairs to get to the top and see the views. It’s quite expensive from what I remember and I spent a few hours there so would recommend leaving it for a weekend rather than lunchtime!
It’s definitely on my hit list!
Great write up Charlie. Recommend the Monument more. A great little break – and we proved it’s possible to chat non-stop both up the stairs and down and still be ok to return to the desk without a shower!
St Paul’s next? Easy for me, maybe a bit far for you? We could pretend we have claustrophobia and can’t take the lift so HAVE to take the Heron Tower stairs up to Duck & Waffle?!
YESSSS then breakfast at Duck and Waffle??