15 Creative Hacks To Make the Most of Your Lunch Hour

Working mamas don’t you have more days than you can count where you just don’t know where the time goes? I remember one day early in my parenting journey sitting on B’s nursery floor in a heap of laundry and mess. I cried wondering how I was going to get it all done. I was upset because it was the weekend and I just wanted to spend precious minutes playing with my little before returning to work on Monday.

But then there are those days where you feel like Super Mommy!  You are slaying your to do list and feel like you are making some major parenting wins.  I once heard the advice to hire a parent because they will be your most efficient employee.  It made sense to me but I didn’t fully understand that concept until I became a working mother. Managing time is now a skill set that is completely perfected. I can squeeze more out of an hour (when I want to) than some people can squeeze out of a day.  I am more motivated now to get my stuff done because I have a cutie waiting for me to be completely present at the end of the day.

While I have mentioned on numerous times how hard it is to leave that sweet little face to go to work  there is one gift every working parent receives…the lunch hour.  Lunch hours are precious gifts to all employees and I have never been one to work through mine. A break is needed to be efficient in whatever job you do. We aren’t robots and we can only work with full concentration for so long before we aren’t able to focus.  So lunch breaks, even before parenthood, are very important to me.

Most of the time in my pre- mommy life, I just went home and zoned out while I ate. A few times I would meet up with my mom or friend for lunch. I still do those things but I look at the lunch hour in a different way these days. Now my lunch hour is my one hour for me time. I get excited over all the possibilities that I can accomplish and squeeze out of that hour.  Here are some of my favorite ways to spend that beautiful hour:

1. Hair Appointment

Obviously you have to be careful scheduling this one and let your stylist know you are short on time but this is a great way to refresh yourself without taking any time away from your family. Eat a small bite at your desk and then go get some pampering!

2. Mani or Pedi

Choose one because a lunch hour is not enough time for both and just like with the hair salon, let your person know you are on your lunch hour.  This is such a treat to have in the middle of the day!  Enjoy!

3. Quick Grocery Run

Okay so for some running an errand like a grocery store trip does not sound like me time but it is nice to free up time later and get a much needed errand complete.  Although I did get too ambitious one time and tried to do an actual week’s worth of shopping which took way longer than an hour!  So need to get something for dinner and want to avoid the after work rush? Go at lunch!

4. Book and coffee shop

One of my first jobs was in a larger city which meant a 25 – 30 minute commute to work.  That kind of commute meant there was no way to run home for lunch. I wasn’t making much so I couldn’t go out to eat every day but staying in the office all day would just make me go stir crazy. So I started a little treat that became a midday retreat I loved. I would eat my lunch while I worked at my desk and then take my book to head next door for a cheap (no frills) cup of coffee. Today reading is rare when playing with a 3 year old so if you ever want some time to read try this coffee shop secret!

5. Exercise

I try to attend about two classes a week. I would love to write that I go to more but I do like to go out to lunch sometimes and do other things so I dedicate two lunches a week to yoga. I don’t get sweaty doing yoga so I don’t feel bad about going back to work after. I also sneak walk breaks in throughout the day to count for my exercise. Got to stay healthy!

6. Clean House

This one takes some serious planning and motivation but sometimes when the mess in my house has made me hit my limit I have been known to run home and do a quick mad woman cleaning session. No it isn’t the most thorough but it is something and that is better than nothing in this phase of life!

7. Organize one thing

In this current trend of simplifying your life (a trend that I am loving!) decluttering is a big part of the mindset. Decluttering and organizing done right takes a little time although you can break it into chunks.  Take a few minutes next lunch break and set a timer to declutter one thing for 15 minutes. You will feel so much better when you come home that evening!

8. Shop for you

Oooh now talk about a treat!  Go to a store during your break and get that pair of shoes you have been wanting. You work hard so you deserve a treat!

9. Shop for others

After B was first born one of my favorite things to do was to go to Walmart to the baby section. There was something so sweet about getting more little inexpensive footed onsies for him to be snuggly in. Still to this day if B needs something or if I am looking for a gift for someone, even short Christmas shopping runs, I can do it at lunch.

10. Lunch date

While an evening date is great, sometimes the process (and expense) of getting a sitter and making the plans can make these dates happen a little less frequently. But assuming both of you get a lunch hour, make a date to go to a fun little place to eat. We feel so refreshed after an hour of getting to talk uninterrupted (even if we are talking about our kiddo!). These dates can happen every week too!

11. Lunch date with friends

Get in some girl time with other mom friends! Or in my case I catch up a lot of time with my mom! I am lucky enough to work on the same campus with her so grabbing some much need mother/daughter time is easy.

12. Pay bills/run errands

Not fun but a necessity and if you put it off too long then you will have stress. So use an hour or two a month to get those must dos off your to do list!

13. Zone out at home with no one there

I love to go home and just be. My favorite guilty pleasure is eating on the floor of my living room with my tea cup poodle as I watch Pioneer Woman.  It takes me back to my maternity leave days (I watched Pioneer Woman a lot while snuggling B) so it is a comforting, simple act that restores me on chaotic days.

14. Bible study/book club

I haven’t found my group to do this but I think it is such a great way to spend an hour during the day. I know of friends who have had a Bible study lunch group and I know that must make the rest of the day feel so refreshed and inspired.

15. Catch up on news

I use to be a news junkie but now my the Today Show has been replaced by the Mickey Mouse Clubhouse. I am not complaining because I love the reason why Mickey dominates our TV but I do need to be informed and sometimes that takes a minute. Stay at work but don’t work for an hour. Eat your lunch and stream some news!

What do you do to make the most of that precious midday break?

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