Quit wasting your lunch hour on lunch (or how you can change your life in just 45 minutes a day)

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Lunch hour has become recess, a chance to unwind and play a little bit. But it doesn't have to be. Those 45 minutes every day can be the reason you go to work and just the time you need to make some major changes in your life. Get ready to give a whole new meaning to the term lunch money.

Make money on your time

You have 45 minutes of scheduled free time every day. You can watch videos online, get trapped behind your desk, or you can do something useful- like launch your own business. By having time set aside every day, you no longer have an excuse not to launch your dream career. So, tap into your entrepreneurial side and start selling wine on your lunchbreak.

So, you're not the Coppola winery, what do you want to do? Get started on your business plan, website, or corporate logo. Even with just a few minutes a day, you'd be suprised how much you can accomplish in a week.

Back to school

As long as you're thinking about school recess, you might as well head back to the classroom. With online courses offering everything from certificate to master's degrees, your lunch time might be the right time to pursue an advanced degree. According to the U.S. Commerce Department's Census Bureau, an average working person can expect to earn $2.1 million over the course of their lifetime if they have a bachelor's degree. That number bumps up to $2.5 million if the have a master's degree. Think your lunch hour is worth $400,000? It is now.

For those of you with MBAs in the crowd, take this step to the next level. Approach your local adult education center about teaching a series of business seminars or classes over lunch. Take your industry expertise or just best general business practices and structure a curriculum. Your rationale for offering the course can be that not everybody has time for classes, but everyone has time to eat. Say hello to a new profit center.

At work-out

Not a gym rat? Not a problem. With the new Nintendo Wii Fit being launched soon, you'll be ready to get in shape with a video game. A wireless board serves as a base for the series of low-impact, core-centric workout programs. In many ways, this is the evolution of the Dance, Dance Revolution Workout - where video games are masquerading as exercise routines.

The challenge will be convincing your human resources department to purchase the game for corporate use as opposed to a stody corporate gym membership. That should be somewhat easier thanks to Michael Moore's documentary, Sicko.

But perhaps the best way to approach HR is to pitch the idea as part of an employee fitness challenge that you would run. The goal would be to encourage your entire company to get in shape together. The beauty of this plan is that you'd be playing video games at work, improving your physical health, and getting noticed by management. Who is the creative genius in accounting with this great idea? That's you. Don't forget your fast track pants.

Now that's a lunch hour that's truly satisfying.

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Andrea Karim's picture

That was a good kick in the butt, Jonathan. I wish that the classes that I want to take were online courses, but alas. I guess I can use the time to brush up on my Chinese. That can be done online.

Guest's picture

Andrea, there are online classes that aren't for credit, but which can go on your resume and can be a boon to your career. I added a few to my social bookmarking in the past month: MIT OpenCourseWare (http://ocw.mit.edu/) is free. (I have others in my del.icio.us but I need to see if the links are still valid.

I worked my way through another round of school, from 2002-2004, for another certification. (NOTE: I do not have children at home and don't ever blame people for wanting to spend their evenings with their families.)

I took notes in class on a Palm with keyboard, and printed them. I'd sit on my car when it was warm enough, and eat lunch and study. That was the ONLY time I studied - and I pulled of a cumulative 3.97 GPA.

Thirty minutes of study a few times a week (with reading novels the other days) made all the difference in the world.

Andrea Karim's picture

I had never heard of that - what a great resource!

Guest's picture

I guess it all depends on how determined you are to make changes in your life. Just 45 minutes in a day is great, but you also have time after work and during the weekends to make your dreams come true.

Guest's picture

Dennis, the whole idea of this is to do something with the other 45 mins of your lunch hour that you don't use, for those of us that get hour lunches.

My problem is I work night shift at an IT company, and when I got the job I agreed to work 10 hour nights, 3 days off. Fine, it's cool. But the worst thing is I don't get a lunch. I can't tell you how many times I go to microwave some food, start eating, and get a phone call. Usually I haven't had one in like 3 hours, so that's when it sucks.

But I really do like the idea of the Wii-Fit thing. I might use that for personal time at home. Now if only I could figure out a way to play World of Warcraft while riding an exercise bike!

Guest's picture

Alot of these topics here have crossed my mind at some point, thanks.