Take a real lunch and recharge your batteries.
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If your last real lunch break was sometime during the Clinton Administration, it's time for a change in your schedule. Need help convincing your boss? Taking a break may even make your day more productive!

Join energy expert Tony Schwartz, author of The Way We're Working Isn't Working, in his Take Back Your Lunch project.
How long do you take for lunch? Do you take lunch at all? I know, I know. You don't have time. If you do, it's five minutes at your desk, distractedly, while you're catching up on emails, so you can leave work at a decent hour and get home to your family.

Or it's a cup of yogurt or a candy bar on the run between errands before picking your kids up after school.

Or it's skipping lunch altogether, because you're young and you're pushing hard to prove yourself at work, and you're also trying to lose weight.

I'm here to encourage all of you to Take Back Your Lunch. Ideally, it's something we all ought to do every day. But at a minimum, take back your lunch on Wednesdays all summer long.

Find out how at TakeBackYourLunch.com!

How crazy is it that we've gotten to a point where eating lunch is a virtual act of rebellion?

At The Energy Project, the company I run, we recently conducted a poll to find out more about the way people are working. More than 60 percent of respondents reported taking 20 minutes or less each day for lunch. Almost 20 percent took less than 10 minutes. One-quarter said they never leave their desks at all.

That's consistent with a study by the American Dietetic Association, which found that 75 percent of office workers eat lunch at their desk at least two or three days a week.

The result is that we're spending long days hunched over our computers, getting more and more fatigued, distracted and irritable as the day wears on. It's not much different if you're a homemaker taking care of kid. You're still go, go, go. Taking care of yourself gets last priority—including lunch.

Listen to what folks have to say at TakeBackYourLunch.com.

Here's the problem: Human beings aren't meant to operate like computers, at high speeds, continuously, for long periods of time. We're designed to be rhythmic, and we operate best when we move between spending and renewing energy. The simplest way to make that happen, at least one time each day, is to Take Back Your Lunch.

So that's exactly what we're asking you to do! Starting this week, between noon and 2 p.m., in cities and towns across the country.

Find out where people will be gathering in your community—or how to organize a Take Back Your Lunch Meetup in your city or town.

Don't feel guilty about it!
For those of us who work in office jobs, many have become co-conspirators with our employers, believing the only way to get all our work done is to stay at our desks.

But the key to productivity isn't the number of hours we work—it's what we accomplish during the hours we're working. When we work continuously, we progressively run ourselves down, and we get less productive as the day wears on. We also feel worse, and the quality of our work suffers.

If you're taking care of children, not stopping to renew—and to have lunch—affects the quality of those relationships. Here are some of the benefits you derive when you get up from your desk, or the couch in your living room, walk outside and Take Back Your Lunch.

First, you move physically. That's good for you. The more times you move during a day, the healthier you become. And the better you feel.

Second, heading outside exposes you to natural sunlight, which is better for you than fluorescent lights and computer screens. It's also a chance to connect with nature, if you're anywhere near a park.

Third, simply changing channels in the middle of the day is an intentional way to relax, let go of whatever stresses you've been feeling, refuel and recharge.

Fourth, getting out for lunch is an opportunity to spend time with a friend or a colleague, which can be both pleasurable and renewing.

Finally, when you do take lunch, the likelihood is that you'll return to work more energized, more focused and ultimately more productive.

So this Wednesday—and every Wednesday throughout the summer—grab a friend, a colleague, or even your boss and Take Back Your Lunch. It's the first step in taking back your life!

Are you ready to join Tony and Take Back Your Lunch? Share your comments below.

Tony Schwartz is the author of The Way We're Working Isn't Working and president and CEO of The Energy Project. Learn more at TheEnergyProject.com.

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