When I worked in my office job I made sure I left my desk for at least half an hour over lunch, taking a break from my computer and phone screens to wander round the bustling stalls at Borough Market or simply to take in the iconic London landmarks scattered around London Bridge. It was my chance to reset and take on the afternoon with a clear mind.
Since becoming my own boss, lunch breaks have become a thing of the past. It’s strange how your mindset changes when every hour not working is on your own dolla! My priority became working as much as possible, but slogging away like a machine wasn’t really working out for me so I decided to take my lunch hour back – and I’m so glad that I did.
Making time for friends
I’m aware of how much of a nightmare I am to make plans with, weekends are the only time I see Pablo and is when we work on side projects and blog shoots. My evenings are consumed catching up on drawing new designs and business admin. So lunch has become my new preferred meeting time.
Recently I’ve chatted about freelance life with Laila over a vegan reuben at Rudy’s Diner in Camden, and met with Natasha at my old favourite Canvas Cafe to have a good old moan about developing our businesses. I plan on making these lunch time catchups at least monthly, they are a great way to break up the day and always leave me feeling inspired and brimming with ideas.
Ticking Off My Todo List
One sunny morning I wasn’t getting much done apart from prancing around the house in my new NICCE London hoodie and a full face of makeup. Since I was feeling my look and the weather was great I called up Pablo and suggested we take an early lunch hour to get some blog pictures.
Half an hour later we had this full photoset and still had time to grab a rice box from Twigs in Broadway Market and sit in the park. Owning the moment and actually being productive over my lunch hour made me feel motivated for the rest of the afternoon.
It doesn’t have to be as elaborate as a full blown photography shoot, but doing jobs that I have been putting off (like popping down to register for the doctors or posting clothes on eBay) I have found to be an equally rewarding way to spend my break.
If I don’t get time outside at least once a day I go a little stir crazy, but sometimes dragging myself away from work to get some air seems like a real struggle. With deadlines looming and a full inbox it’s easy to let work take over and the outside become a distant memory, but I find taking even 15 minutes to pop outside and grab some fresh air is worth the time away from the screen.
That physical space away from work gives my brain a chance to reboot and always leads to a much more productive afternoon and better concentration all round.
Exploring New Places
Being freelance and flexible means I can go see friends wherever and whenever is best for them, which is an awesome way to find new places. London is so big and overwhelming sometimes I am guilty of going back to my old favourites time and time again, but there are so many amazing places to grab a bite. I am loving letting others take the reigns and show me their favourite spots; on that note if you guys have any London lunch recommendations please hit me up in the comments.
Making time for the side hustle
Oh how I wish I had Bernard’s watch! I am a creative filled with ideas and passions without enough hours in the day to fulfil them. This has always been the case but since branching out into design I have never felt more stretched, despite this I still don’t want to let go of my side hustles.
For me these include: blogging, Instagram and YouTube – although I have slowed down on my content creation it’s still time consuming. Now at least a couple of days a week my lunch break has become the time where I can work on these creative outlets and take a break from my business.
Whether that’s, shooting, reading, writing, watching or editing I still get so much joy from the online community.
One of the most noticeable differences since I have taken back my lunch break is my heightened levels of concentration and all round productivity. I thought hours spent at my screen meant more output but how wrong I was. It’s impossible for your brain to focus for such huge periods of time and actually taking a break and letting it recuperate has been beneficial to both my personal wellbeing and work.
So whether you workout, take a nap, eat great food, catch up with a friend, or work on your side hustle I urge you to take back your lunch hour!
*This post is sponsored and in collaboration with NICCE, but as always all opinions and words are honest and my own