I like to think that I take proper breaks when working. And that if I don’t I at least take a full hour for lunch. That I pause to enjoy food, get some fresh air and allow my brain to focus on something different for a while.

In reality, I’m not good at stopping and I have a bad habit of eating my lunch at my desk. I don’t even always stop answering emails while I eat. Then wonder why I feel tired and my headaches at the end of the day.

Warm summer weather helps a bit. I managed to force myself away from my desk to enjoy lunch in the sunshine. Which took the following form. Flopping on the first empty patch of grass in the park. Followed by losing myself in a book for a while.

But as the Starks would say ‘Winter is coming’. Unless we have an extremely mild winter I won’t be sitting in the park reading. Instead, I’ll be back to eating at my desk and not taking a break every single day.

So I needed to set in place good habits. These would ensure I left my desk during my lunch break. And got some fresh air, and had some kind of motivation to do it regularly. I knew that I probably wouldn’t just go for a walk every day. However t I thought I might if I had something to listen to.

I often listen to podcasts while doing things at home at the weekend. If I changed my listening to weekday lunchtimes then it might just give the motivation I needed. I’d be getting exercise and thinking about something other than work. Plus wanting to hear the rest of the podcast (or audiobook) would provide the incentive and treat for pushing myself away from the emails.

As a bonus, if I find podcast episodes are building up I know that either I’m not taking enough breaks or that the breaks are too short.

I’m finding the lunchtime walks a time to unwind and I know that I’ll appreciate seeing how the park changes with the seasons as the year moves on.

How do you escape your desk at lunchtime?