All my coworkers know I’m writing a book. That’s because I lug my laptop to work with me every day, plonk down in a corner of the break room during lunch, pop in my headphones, studiously ignore the TV, and write.
Writing during my lunch break has become my secret weapon. It’s helped me stay on track with countless goals—it’s a strategy that’s seen me through NaNoWriMo and several drafts. If you haven’t tried writing during your lunch break, here are seven reasons to give it a go:
1. You don’t have to wake up early or stay up late
I love sleep. I really do—and I feel crabby if I have to sacrifice my sleep time for anything. Which is why, so often, my well-intentioned efforts to wake up early to read my Bible, or stay up late to work on a blog post, fall apart. My body just won’t take it, and I suffer the effects of missing out on an hour or even a half hour of sleep.
But when you work during your lunch break, you don’t have to set an alarm or brew a cup of coffee at 11:00 p.m. You show up and get to work, all without giving up much-needed sleep. It’s honestly my favorite aspect of the whole strategy, and the reason why I’ve been able to work on my writing every day.
2. You’re already in a work mindset
Half the battle of writing is getting started. It can be so hard to motivate yourself to sit down and actually type in the early hours of the morning, before you’re truly awake, and especially when you come home from work feeling tired and worn-out. The last thing I want to do when I get home is work some more.
When you’re in the middle of your workday, switching gears from one task to the next is a little easier than forcing yourself to get up off the couch (or out of bed) and open your Word document. It might feel strange at first, but writing in the middle of the day takes advantage of your already productive mindset. So go for it!
3. Consistent schedule
Perhaps my second-favorite part about writing during my lunchtime is that it gives me a near-constant schedule. If I go to work, then I will have a designated hour to write. It’s guaranteed—and it’s built right into my workday. No need to worry about how busy I’ll be after work, or how much sleep I got last night. This one hour is given to me five days a week, and all I have to do is show up.
This consistent schedule has trained me to work on writing every day. I come to lunch prepared to work, knowing that this is the majority of my writing time. As long as I show up and write some crappy words, my job is done.
I’ve built a regular commitment into my life that’s easy to keep, one of the hardest parts of forming a habit.
4. A (relatively) distraction-free working time
I’ll admit that this point largely depends on your specific environment, but for the most part, writing during your lunch break means you probably have a chunk of time that’s relatively distraction-free. There are no demands on your time, you can usually work in silence, and social media is usually blocked by the office firewall.
Most break rooms recognize the sanctity of headphones, but if it’s still too rowdy for you, look for an empty conference room in your office, a bench outside, or a nearby library or café. In the worst-case scenario, you can work in your car. (I’ve definitely done it more than a few times.) If you’re creative, you can usually find a free, public space in which to write.
In my case, I usually bring my laptop to the break room and put on headphones and the Skyrim Elder Scrolls V soundtrack to drown out the TV. (I have a serious vendetta against people who put TVs in break rooms, but that’s a rant for another time.) It’s not an ideal situation—I’d rather be working in silence—but hey, looking on the bright side, it’s training me to write in any situation.
5. You have a deadline
Another inherent benefit of the lunchtime writing session—you have a built-in deadline.
If your goal is to write 500 words, then you better get on it. Otherwise you’ll be heading back to your desk in disappointment when the hour’s up.
Knowing that you have to get back to the office at a certain time can help focus your efforts as you write. And it helps stave off the urge to mindlessly scroll through Twitter in between each sentence.
6. You don’t have to worry about writing throughout your day
While it’s true that writing during your lunch break means you don’t get a full break in your workday, it’s also true that you don’t have to worry about it when you get home—or when you wake up.
It’s never fun to come home from work and have that nagging feeling in the back of your head—I still need to write tonight. And if you’re anything like me, you’ll procrastinate and put it off until it’s past your bedtime and you still haven’t written a single word. So do yourself a favor and get it done at lunch.
7. It refocuses your perspective during your workday
This point is a little different—I think writing during your lunch break can refocus your perspective in the middle of your workday. You can rejuvenate your mind by doing something that you love, spending time on your big goals, and using the creative part of your brain. You’ll get back to your desk feeling accomplished—and ready to work.
Last word: Do what works for you
Before I sign off, I’d like to add that this schedule may not make sense for you. Maybe you need that hour or half hour every day to rest and recover.
If you need a break at lunchtime, take it. Find the rhythm that works for you, whether you write in the morning, afternoon, evening, or nighttime. But most importantly, find consistency. Carve out a specific block of time into your schedule and work on your writing every day. It’s the best way to make progress, improve your writing, and reach your writing goals.
Let me know if you try writing during your lunch break (and if your break room also has a TV in it!!)