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Take Back Your Lunch, Take Back Your Life

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How long do you take for lunch?

I know, I know: You don't have time.

If you do, it's a cup of yogurt or a salad in a plastic container at your desk, while catching up on emails, or an energy bar on the run to your next meeting. When's the last time you enjoyed a an actual lunch hour?

Several weeks ago, my organization, The Energy Project, conducted a poll on the Huffington Post about the way we're working. Some 60 per cent reported taking twenty minutes or less each day for lunch. Almost 20 per cent took less than 10 minutes. One quarter never leave their desks at all.

The result is that we're spending long days hunched over our computers, becoming more and more fatigued, distracted and irritable as the day wears on.

It's not good for us, and it's not good for our employers.

Here's the antidote: Take Back Your Lunch. In the best of worlds, that's something we all ought to do every day. At the very least, I want to urge you to take back your lunch on Wednesday, and then on every Wednesday this summer, wherever you are.

To find out where people will be gathering- or if you'd like to organize a Take Back Your Lunch Meetup in your city or town -- go here for more information:

http://takebackyourlunch.com

How crazy is it that we've gotten to a point where going out for lunch qualifies as a virtual act of rebellion?

Far too many of us have bought into the belief that the best way to keep up with demand is to be working all the time.

But human beings are not designed to run like computers, at high speeds, continuously, for long periods of time. We're rhythmic beings, and we operate best when we pulse between spending and intermittently renewing energy.

Instead, we're systematically running ourselves down. Just listen to what people we interviewed have to say about how they view their workdays -- and their lunch hours:

The key to productivity isn't the number of hours you invest, it's what you're able to accomplish during the hours we're working. When you work continuously, you get more fatigued and less productive as the day wears on. The quality of your work also suffers.

Getting outside for lunch compels you to move physically, and it's a way to expose yourself to natural sunlight, which is a lot better for you than florescent lights and computer screens.

Taking back your lunch is also a way to relax, let go of whatever stresses have accumulated during the morning, and recharge. It's an opportunity to have a little time for yourself, or to spend it with a friend or a colleague.

Giving yourself time for lunch makes it possible to savor what you're eating, instead of simply gobbling it down. Food is not simply sustenance, it's meant to be enjoyed.

At the most practical level, when you take lunch, the likelihood is you'll return to work more energized, more focused and more productive in the afternoon. That's especially true if you leave your Blackberry or your iPhone at the office -- a whole other level of liberation.

Wherever you live, make lunch happen this Wednesday. And if you work in New York City, join me and make lunch a happening. I'm headed to Madison Square Park, starting at noon on Wednesday, to help kick off the movement.

Take Back Your Lunch. It's the first step in taking back your life.