Today, one of my co-workers was talking about his CPA exam and how he has one left to go to become an official CPA. Definitely a hard test, and thank goodness that’s long behind me. However, he was planning on taking it at the end of May. Even though we are in busy season, I stopped and asked, what? Why won’t you just put the 15-20 hours per week for the next 3 weeks and take the last part?! It dawned on him, after I laid it out – taking advantage of the one hour that you pound food, talk about the weekend with your boys and about what you’re going to do after work on Saturday, each and every afternoon gets you NO WHERE. If you want to accomplish things that you complain that you don’t have enough time for – make it a priority and take advantage of time, including that “lunch” hour. I don’t necessarily believe in a lunch-hour, I merely think of – you have a day – you are expected to accomplish work, objectives/deadlines, but definitely should take breaks throughout the day to do other things, etc.. but get your work done and in public accounting – be chargeable. I digress…I then showed my co-worker this lunch hour can produce 5 hours, at least, per week of studying, not including an early morning and then weekend studying after work and on Sundays. It finally hit him that accomplishing this goal is doable NOW instead of “maybe” LATER. It made me want to write about how to make the most out of what we call the “Lunch Hour”.
making the most of your “lunch hour”
This really started to drive me after we were talking about what he can do with his lunch hour. It made me think – how many actually are taking a full hour (obviously if you need to take a break, by all means take one) to sit in a room, eat their food, hang out with the co-workers (which don’t get me wrong is good bonding, but seeing them 70 hours a week is enough for me hahah), talk about their crazy nights (more than likely spending recklessly… haha) and talking smack. Then I drilled down to the next thing – how many complain they aren’t making enough, aren’t getting ahead, talk about how “buried” they are with work, how they are behind and just all of these “wish” things. I have a strong feeling the percentage of people that take a lunch hour, do actually talk and feel this way. I am about to drop a statement – STOP TAKING THOSE DAMN LUNCH HOUR BREAKS!!! Yes, stop, now, yesterday, tomorrow, STOP! Here are a 5 suggestive ways to take advantage of your lunch hour and the benefits of doing so! These advantages that could help bring the relationships tighter with those that you actually want, help save you money, increase your assets that produce cash flow in your pursuit to financial freedom and also can make you even healthier than you think! See the advantages below.
Taking Advantage of your Lunch Hour #1
If you are falling behind in work and/or are constantly telling people all day how buried with work you are – take advantage of your lunch hour. Write down 3 things you want to accomplish and get them done! They can be completely off base with the current project in case you need to tend to another project, as well. This is common in public accounting, when you are juggling 5-10 clients at once. Guess what? It’ll be a time with peace and quiet – because everyone else is away in the kitchen, talking about how many beers they drank the other night, talking about how someone sucks at their job and another talking about how they hate their job or their boss. Rewind and repeat. Guess what? As they are dong that with their lunch hour, you are mighty and are powering through, completing your tasks, shrinking your to-do list, and you all of a sudden feel better. You feel better your plate is finally palatable and isn’t thanksgiving in terms of work you have to get through. It’s amazing, you should try it : ) What’s terrible about this – I am fairly certain in the office tomorrow, 85% of people are talking these exact things and aren’t doing a damn thing about it… well here is one way.
Taking advantage of your lunch hour #2
If you are already at a good place with work, don’t feel behind – then… drum roll… get ahead! If you want to make your day shorter and/or be ahead of your task list, goals at work or projects – take the lunch hour to leap frog where you currently are. Guess what? Chances are your managers/boss’s will definitely notice it, see that you’ve made their life easier and can even take on more/high roles or even more challenging items. Not to say this is a pure reason – but it can also help you come raise & bonus discussion time, which can help increase your income beyond what you normally would expect, simply because you are getting ahead, being more critical to your organization and are looking forward instead of behind. Doesn’t this make sense? Obviously, the more pure goal – to have more funds/cash flow to invest to reduce your time to being financially free : )
Taking advantage of your lunch hour #3
How many of you have either said or have heard someone say – they don’t have time to research on investing. That you don’t have time to create a budget or figure out how to lower your bills that are costing you more than you think. OR that you don’t have much money every month, which can probably be correlated with how much you are spending on your lunches! Here is a great solution, to which I typically spend a breaking point or a portion of the so called “lunch hour” researching investments/reading articles, etc.. but you can use this as a time to pack a lunch and save money! Then, if you really are complaining or mad at yourself for not researching, making a budget or finding ways to save – use the time that you used to spend and better yourself here. I love it when I see individuals tackling their personal items that they’ve been wanting to do, to put themselves in a better position. Because guess what – they usually have a better conscience to work with for the rest of the day, and the mood could be better (as it’s not weighing on the mind anymore). Let’s make this lunch hour count everyone! Uh oh – am I slowly saying this is similar to making every dollar count? Very similar!
Taking advantage of your lunch hour #4
I am one to even begin complaining like crazy, especially during busy season, that I haven’t had enough/as much time to work out. Well… guess what? I am now going to stop complaining and I am going running during/as my break time. It’s been amazing, especially because our office building has a gutted & vacant floor where people walk, so instead… I run. It’s about 8-10 laps depending on who you talk to, that equals a mile. So my weekdays and weekends in the office are now including my lunch hour or a break time to go running, usually a minimum of 12 laps and a maximum of 20. This doesn’t take too much time, stops me from complaining and gets me back on the “in-shape” wagon. Further – you can use this time to walk around, get cardio in, go to the gym if you are lucky and just do something that is physically bettering yourself, rather than complaining, throwing down Chinese food, an over priced latte and finishing it with a cookie. Dayum!!
Taking advantage of your lunch hour #5
Have that friend or cousin you haven’t spoke to in a while? Wanted to surprise your mom and/or your dad with a quick phone call or text message? Haven’t set your auto-bill pay for everything? OR looking for a piece of real estate to buy, but haven’t been able to find the time to do so? Here is where the magic lunch hour can make a few of these small, but impactful, things happen. I was literally at my desk the other day when everyone was eating and I thought – let me handle my mortgage servicing issue (as my mortgage servicer has been taking double payments without me asking), and boom, done. Then, I still had thought about how long it’s been since I talked to Mom… everyone needs to keep their mom up to date, I don’t care who you are!!! She didn’t answer, psh, but I send her a text message and she responded back shortly after, as she was working. However, it felt nice knowing that I was able to “act” on wanting to fix a personal item and also, in a way, catching up briefly with my mom.
I know I’m a little intense at times, but I think it’s really about how precious your time is on this earth. I think it’s about what we are choosing to do with our time, instead of just complaining about the situation we are in, watching time flicker out the window. In the pursuit to financial freedom – this lunch hour has proven to me time, and time again, that it matters. That every minute we have matters. It’s about being the best person you can be and hopefully it is making others happy, while making you happy. There has been a saying that I’ve been preaching lately and you cannot help someone to the utmost that you can, without truly ensuring you are taken care of. What do you think of the time that you think you are getting away from work, only to catch yourself being surrounded by people that you may not really want to associate with, talking about which person you don’t like, how far behind you are and how bad you wish XYZ would happen? I hope so bad that the advantages above outweigh that time that is currently being used in a negative manner. Pumped to hear everyone’s thoughts on this and to see if you second guess yourself as you grab your jacket to grab that lunch : ) Talk soon!