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Never Going Back - A Week of Not Eating Lunch at My Desk (randomdrake.com)
131 points by randomdrake 1348 days ago | hide | past | web | 103 comments | favorite

Sometimes I like to eat lunch at my desk, other times I eat in the dining area with co-workers, and other times I eat out. Why does it need to be an all or nothing proposition? There are days when I'm very busy on a problem and I don't want the distraction of taking lunch so I'll either eat it at my desk or eat something low impact like a protein bar/shake. Alternatively when I get stuck on a problem I'll take a longer lunch and get away from my computer for a while.

>Why does it need to be an all or nothing proposition?

Because that would make for a completely reasonable, non-inflammatory headline and you'll never get to the top of HN with headlines like that, son.

This is an excellent point. To answer your question: I don't think it needs to be an all or nothing proposition.

For me, I had acquiesced to always eating at my desk; convincing myself I was making the best decision for me.

I know myself well enough to know there are aspects of my life I'm not good at regulating or balancing. I also know that I'm good at convincing myself of things that aren't in my best interest. Experiments like this are useful to me for that reason.

I discovered that I was wrong about what I thought I wanted from this particular aspect of life. This discovery was important enough, for me, to make a clear cut decision to alleviate the chances of convincing myself my old routine was a good one.

An analogy that comes to mind is how some people stop smoking cigarettes: cold turkey isn't for everyone, but for those who know it is, they go for it and they stop and they feel better for it. There's science to show eating lunch at the desk is unhealthy. I've found I tremendously enjoy the alternative and the benefits that come with it. So, I've gone cold turkey. But that doesn't mean it's for everyone.

>An analogy that comes to mind is how some people stop smoking cigarettes: cold turkey isn't for everyone, but for those who know it is, they go for it and they stop and they feel better for it.

While it's a bit tenuous to compare where you eat your lunch with a long term physical addiction, it's worth noting that the vast majority of people who quit "cold turkey" fail. Indeed, I'll broaden that and say more casually that when people make public pronouncements, using absolute words like never, their failure rate comes within a measurement error of 100%.

Cliffbean says in another post that such absolutism is "an attempt by many people to play against their own psychology.", and I absolutely agree with that, although my take tends to be much more cynical than theirs: It is an attempt to essentially shackle future you with the fickle and short-term observations of current you. Future you, most people eventually learn, doesn't really care much what current you thinks, and will reassess in the future based upon new information.

Which is how we see an unending stream of these disposable lifehack "one week in" observations, always presented as if it's profoundly revealing information that has changed the speaker forever. In a month you can write a "Why I was always eat at my desk", detailing the unhealthiness of take out food and the great financial savings you've enjoyed, the benefits of taking a moment to relax and unwind, and on and on.

Everyone is different. We all have different social patterns, different diets, different behaviors. Do what works best for you, and what works best for you will undoubtedly change over the years. Life is dynamic and is a constantly changing set of circumstances and situations.

But if I have one piece of advice for you, it's to never use the word never. Unless you're telling someone to never use the word never. The only result of making never declarations is that over time your word starts to lose any value.

I don't understand. I quit smoking a few months ago. I can't imagine any other way than firmly attempting to never smoke another cigarette any more, ever.

Now that particular resolution might not be 100% successful. Maybe I will succumb to another cigarette some day. But there's a difference between setting a certain goal, and what counts as succeeding at it.

If I tell myself, I can quit smoking but I'm allowed to smoke a cigarette every now and then, that is setting myself up for failure. I know because that's how I failed previous attempts. Even a single cigarette for me re-triggers the physical addiction, and will make the 2-3 weeks after that extra hard to control and not relapse. That occasional single cigarette would just be making it extra hard on myself to follow through, and the extra willpower needed when I allow myself that, is not worth the supposed pleasure of that one smoke.

(btw I am aware that there also exist people who can actually manage to quit but smoke one cigarette every 2-3 months or so. makes me wonder whether they ever were really addicted in the first place, but that's another question, plus I'm not here to judge anybody. What I do know is, that I am not one of those people)

So I resolve myself to the goal of "no cigarettes anymore, ever", in order to achieve a 99.9% cigarette-free life. But I am sincerely aiming for that 100%, because I'm a bit fed up with the whole addiction thing, experienced it, seen it, learned from it, I'd like to see it fade away to memoryland.

Maybe though my overcoming nicotine addiction is the only thing that is so important to me that I'll allow myself to say "never again". I wouldn't say this about not eating at my desk, for instance, it's too small a thing to make such a big claim about.

>Why does it need to be an all or nothing proposition?

This can depend on personality, circumstances, etc. IMO if someone is stuck in a rut and decides the only way out is a complete polar switch, good for them. At least they are making a change for what they feel is the better. They might already know that they don't do well with half-switches and tend to fall back into the same orbit. Or they might just be really overwhelmed in general and find the feel of small yet firm changes appealing.

It can be annoying to have to put up with others' all-or-nothing viewpoints, but it can still be useful to appreciate that their perspective might be informed by experiences that differ from our own.

I'm fine with people making polar switches but there's no need to write about it as though the thing they switched from is the "wrong" choice. Can't it just be wrong sometimes and/or for some people? Of course, "Sometimes Going Back - A Week of Sometimes Not Eating Lunch at My Desk " doesn't play as well as the original title..

I think eating at your desk is a wrong choice. There is almost no benefit to eating at your desk. The only potential upside is that you get "more" work done. Anyone who has the opportunity should leave their desk at least three times a week for lunch.

When I eat at my desk, it is because eating at my desk means eating in a relaxed quiet environment without lots of people around.

You're making a huge assumption that people eating at their desks are doing work while eating.

Right now I'm browsing HN while eating at my desk.

I think the all-or-nothing attitude is an attempt by many people to play against their own psychology.

For many people, "I'll just do whatever I feel like each day" is problematic, because the moment right before lunch isn't their brain's best time to make that decision. In that moment, the task at hand looms large in their attention, so they are disproportionately tempted to submit to it and keep working. The benefits of taking the break are somewhere out in the future, they're abstract, and even if you intellectually believe in the benefits, it can be easy to discount them, right there, in that moment. The task at hand is right there, right then, very concrete, no discount.

For such people, all-or-nothing is a way for them to make a decision ahead of time, in a moment of less stress and greater foresight, and perhaps commit themselves to it in a way that takes the decision out of their hands in their weaker moments. They may not come out ahead every day, but if the strategy works, they should come out ahead in the long run.

^ This. Exactly!

Thanks for articulating the thought process I'm having almost every day right before lunch time.

Agreed depending on the day and my workload I may sit at my desk. Other days I may need to get out of the office and I will go out to eat by myself.

>Alternatively when I get stuck on a problem I'll take a longer lunch and get away from my computer for a while.

Exactly sometimes problems are solved by taking time away from them to reflect.

My lunch varies by my mood and workday but I dont choose to stick with one scenario or another. I adapt to what my needs are.

I don't think it has to be an all or nothing thing. Do whats right for you!

But I definitely know some people do it out of guilt. Indulging themselves, and their co-workers in Productivity Theater.

I never eat lunch at my desk because I think it's inconsiderate to my coworkers. They should not have to smell or see what I am eating, let alone hear me crunch into chips or an apple.

Thank you. This is very considerate

Coming from a culture where no, people don't eat at their desks, this is really weird for me.

I go and have lunch somewhere (and this has not been a problem in any country I worked). If I really can't go I starve, or go later.

This would be only an exception in "We're saving Apollo 13" kind of stuff.

Funny you should mention about the cultural differences - a German neighbor of mine moved to Munich after a few years in New York.

Whereas she was accustomed to eating at her desk in NYC, she was asked to eat her "stinky tuna salad outside the office!"

I think it's inconsiderate of the employer to provide desks where you cannot eat lunch in peace.

I find this quite ridiculous, people are not these fragile creatures that can't see, hear or smell anything other than the usual office sights, sounds and aromas. I think you're over thinking this. Unless you're eating weird stuff like boiled lungfish or whatever then I suspect nobody is paying the slightest attention to you eating chips or an apple.

I do not think it is ridiculous at all.

I have an office mate who always eats at his desk about 4 feet directly behind me. He chews with his mouth open and takes his time eating his lunch. So I get an hour of lipsmacking and chewing noises every day. That hour is occuring right now and I am reading hacker news because getting anything done with that slurpy wet smacking going on is rather difficult.

I am enough of an asshole to have pointed out I would like if he didn't chew with his mouth open, but not enough of an asshole to argue with him when he denied that he does.

I also realize noise cancelling headphones would solve this problem, but I value being aware of my surroundings (I really want to avoid the situation where someone has to tap me or wave a hand in between me and my screen to get my attention).

I have previously had other office mates who ate at their desks who did not bother me at all, but depending on a persons eating habits it certainly could be inconsiderate to your coworkers.

Edit: For clarification we have a full cafeteria (where he gets his food) as well as other areas he could eat.

Once sat a couple feet away from a woman who's jaw made a very loud clicking sound when she chewed. I brought it up, she apologized, said it sucks for her too. We were pretty good friends and liked to joke around and once during her lunch she IMed me saying "I found this video you would love!" and it was a youtube of Mike Meyers from Waynes World describing his faults including how when he eats he makes a clicking sound with his jaw.

Thank you for reminding me of this small slice of my past I had nearly forgotten. It made me smile.

TL:DR "Cool story Hansel"

Every place I have ever worked this has become a problem at some point for some person (or group of people).

Someone decides to reheat some fish they caught and had for dinner last night, or has a really heavy garlic/curry dish they heat up and bring to their desk, or covers their food in a pungent sauce, or they bring in McDonalds/greasy fast food, etc.

Inevitably someone complains and HR sends out the "please be considerate of other people when deciding to eat at your desk" email. It seems to happen more quickly in multicultural environments, where many people have different tastes/sensibilities, but this has just been my experience.

Edit: Re-wording! For clarity!

You've clearly never sat next to someone in a quiet office, who is crunching on fistfuls of banana chips for an hour with their mouth open. I swear it would echo, those things are so loud. Maybe it's the whole mouth-open thing that does it. But not everyone manages to eat discreetly, or even 'normally'.

In a loud office, it might not be so bad, but when the office is otherwise quiet, it keeps you from concentrating at all. CRUNCH. CRUNCH. cr-cr-cr-cr-CRUNCHCHCHCHCH.

Sometimes, at my office, someone decides to make popcorn.

I never hear them eating it.

But, on the other side of the office, the smell encroaches, stirring the taste buds with delicious promises. And then I look up, curious. And then I realize what happened. And then my stomach goes, "Oooh, that's a good idea."

And then it's too late.

If your office is poorly laid out in such a fashion, headphones would be a good addition to your desk. When I first moved into a dorm room, I had a hard time sleeping due to hearing other people moving around and talking. I learned to sleep with a fan in order to generate white noise.

You might say "I don't like working with headphones!" but the point I'm trying to make is that in offices without privacy, some amount of consideration has to be paid to mitigate the effects of other people. There's always going to be some noise that someone makes that annoys someone else. You can't stop it at their end, so you try to stop it at your end.

I don't want to hear you crunching into carrots or biting and slurping an apple. I don't want to smell your leftovers from yesterday. I don't want to hear the rustle of your take-out bags. Please find another place to eat. Why is that so difficult?

If the sound of a bag rustling sends you into such a tailspin what does an overheard conversation do?

At some point you simply have to develop the power of concentration. Try focusing intently on your work rather than focusing intently on your surroundings.

I don't take personal calls at my desk. My phone is on silent at all times when at the office. If I need to make a call, I step out.

I would like others to do the same.

Edit: Even my desk phone is on silent. It sounds a single beep when the phone rings.

    > I don't take personal calls at my desk. My phone is on 
    > silent at all times when at the office. If I need to 
    > make a call, I step out.
    > Even my desk phone is on silent. It sounds a single beep 
    > when the phone rings.
That's going a bit overboard, but that's fine. Good for you.

    > I would like others to do the same.
That's not really a reasonable request.

FWIW I agree with buckbova and don't think its overboard in the slightest to ask for personal calls to be made out of the office. Nor do I think it unreasonable for this to be part of the company culture. It happens to be part of how we work in the startup I work at (except the desk phone on silent thing) and I'm not aware of any problems this has caused. So I find your pronouncement that its not "reasonable" to be a bit presumptuous.

Agreed. I wish my company was more like that. I don't want to hear you arguing with your wife, making a doctor's appointment to get that lump checked out, or trying to convince your kids to do their homework while you're at the office.

I'd like to share an office with someone as considerate as you.

Overheard conversations are worse, yes.

Magical solutions don't seem to work for me. I do not think I have the somatic components necessary.

If you allow people to eat at their desk inevitably someone will bring in stinky tuna salad every day.

Tuna salad is the least bad of the problems


No one considers assaulting ones neighbors sonically with a radio acceptable, why is it so different with your lunch?

Trust me, your sandwich is no better to anyone else than your choice in music. Leave it in the breakroom.

You might be wrong about that:


I was trying to find a nice way to say this; people seem to not focus very much if you notice things like that. I have had Indian/Vietnamees people eat stuff next to me (which is very high in aroma) and in the Netherlands there is quite a bit of fish eating; I have never noticed anything as i'm , you know, focusing on what i'm doing? Hell, I often work next to a TV or console gaming and that really doesn't do anything. Never had colleagues bothered by this either.

I notice that people who complain about sounds and odours are often people who don't have very much to do, at least not with a looming deadline. It's like when you live in a neighbourhood with attached housing; there are always a few who complain about everything they hear and see and they actually do listen to people flushing toilets and accidentally dropping chairs.

I think we know who eats chips and apples in the office. :-)

I have an actual phobia, for hearing people chew. It makes my skin crawl and instantly pisses me off. I get it from my dad apparently. I really wish it didn't affect me so much.

Agreed. Even in a place with full-size cubes, you can still hear/smell food from others. My old office, we group of us would eat lunch in a conference room. During that time we did various activities: Watching various TV shows on the projector. Playing card games (lots of Magic The Gathering), and other fun stuff.

Working at home it's a bit different. I generally eat at my desk. I sometimes use that time to go for a walk or go to the gym. But mostly it's internet reading. :\

Yep. Nothing built inter-team hostility at the last place like someone from another floor (galaxy) booking our breakfast eating spot ( near our cubes) for some meeting of theirs.

Or a week of job interviews while we were short staffed and hiring frozen ... but anyway.

We're not allowed to because they don't want us spilling things on the floor and ruining the carpets.

I'm just the opposite. I have eaten my lunch at my desk almost every day for years and can't imagine anything else.

  - I crave LONG periods of time for coding...
  - By noon, I'm really getting rolling. I hate to stop.
  - I always plan & pack my lunch exactly like I want.
  - I love how everyone else is gone & I'm alone.
  - No one I know eats like me...
  - I'm tired of explaining/debating food choices.
  - I hate standing in line or waiting for my waiter.
  - I hate "small talk" over lunch.
  - I leave early, before traffic.
  - I still exercise more than anyone I know.
  - If I want a break, then I surf or email.
  - My favorite hour of the day.

I use my lunch periods to get away from the forced socialization of our open-office plan. In fact, that one hour when everyone is down at the cafeteria is usually my most productive hour in the day: I can get stuff done without disruptions or interruptions.

Exactly. Blog posts like this aren't useful. Either it's about prescribing a certain behavior for others, which is obviously a waste of time because we all have different values that lead to equally valid/subjective choices, or it's just intended to describe one person's decision tree, which isn't of general interest. Blogging like this feels like it's driven by narcissism either way.

"I found my mind wandering to other things and realized that I was actually enjoying my food a lot more; remarking internally on how the bread actually taste in the sandwich."

jesus christ what

i know right

I'm surprised he doesn't mention what I think is the #1 reason for going out for lunch: spending time with your coworkers that is not necessarily work focused.

All the reasons he gives seem pretty weak: if you need a break, you can step outside the office for a walk or a coffee or even go read on a bench for 20mn without the activity being necessarily lunch.

Eating lunch at your desk has benefits, such as allowing you to go home sooner or doing things at your computer that are not work related but which you enjoy doing (e.g. reading HN).

The moral here is not "Always eat at your desk" or "Always eat outside" but "Don't always do the same thing".

I decided to have zero "out of work focused" conversations with my co-workers at my new job. It's the best decision I made. Office politics was always against me because I was speaking with my co-workers about things I do outside of work. I learned that co-workers are no my friends. They are sometimes enemies

False dichotomy. It's true that they are not your friends but it doesn't mean that you should never interact with them, nor that you wouldn't enjoy (and maybe even learn from) spending time with them.

You spend more time with your coworkers than with your family, so cutting this entire part out of your life for some nebulous principle is not socially smart.

Wow... I have always done the opposite. Lunch conversation with coworkers is always exclusively about non-work-related things. This way we actually get to know each other as people, and enjoy each other's company as human beings. It's a measure of human respect, in a way.

Your coworkers might not be true "friends", in the sense that you're not going to hang out with them outside of work, but there's no reason to restrict getting to know them as people.

I've never once had problems with 'office politics' resulting from getting to know people in a more genuine way. Of course, we all have private things that might be best for anyone but your closest friends not to know, I'm not saying share everything about your life, but I would be very sad if I worked at a place where I felt I couldn't just casually chat with the people I'm spending half my waking hours with.

I can imagine the Onion article - "Man Leaves Dark Building During Day, Is Surprised He Likes Sunshine"

I'm from Brazil, where we have lunch on restaurants every day. Very very few people have lunch at the office and even fewer at their desks.

When I first went to the US I was appalled by people eating at their desks, today I live in the UK and it's common for people to have lunch at their desks, may it be sandwiches or salads they brought from home. I still can't do it.

Reason being I have to breath fresh air, disconnect from the office and have my own personal meal time to sit down and enjoy a meal leisurely. I usually invite people to have lunch with me and I can see that they look almost uncomfortable sometimes.

I've done a month of exact opposite. Sometimes I didn't eat either.

Catch up on WWDC, wrote some cool hacks, update some libraries, write some tests for someone elses library, do some pull requests.

Lunch itself is a waste of time, adding co-workers that might eat slower than you where social conventions requires you to stick around (because they are kind enough to do so).

I rather just avoid that whole mess.

Besides, lunch was invented so I could watch WWDC in peace.

I am also lucky to work in a place where no one gets upset or questions it.

I actually like the company of my co-workers, but lunch is me being productive.

I don't want to spend my precious lunch hour being social. Desk lunches are one of the best perks of being a programmer.

I pack a lunch nearly every day. I tend to get hungry 30-45 minutes before most of my coworkers, and I eat lunch at my desk because I don't want to sit by myself in the empty break room. Off topic: the amount of money I save by packing a lunch versus going out is awesome. I also tend to eat a bit healthier as a result.

This is one of the bits of advice I used to give new hires in NOC and Security: "Sometime things are crazy and we may not get to eat on time or may need to eat at our desks. Don't eat at your desk when you don't have to. Get away for a few minutes for your health and sanity."

Unrelated (ish) but much more important: "Don't cook fish in the shared microwaves!" At the current place, all of the microwaves have signs exhorting everyone to "Please cover your food!".

Another point to consider is that eating at your desk could be a major source of illness: your phone, tablet, mouse, keyboard, etc., are all great sources for all sorts of germs.

And why would those only be a concern if you are eating at your desk, not whe you are working on it and (gasp!) touching you phone, tablet, mouse, keyboard, etc?

Whenever I read an unqualified claim "there are more bacteria on your keyboard than on a toilet seat", I think "hm, most people must be spending way more time than necessary cleaning their toilets". But of course, the scientist in me also thinks the kinds of bacteria present will make an impact. The bacteria on a toilet seat might be similar to the zillions of bacteria in my stomach, or they might be E. Coli, salmonella, tetanus, syphilis, etc.

Putting that into greater perspective with some data: studies have shown your desk environment to have 400 times more bacteria than toilet seats.

That's because, most of the time, a keyboard/mouse will NEVER be cleaned (and desks themselves something like twice a year) while toilet seats will be cleaned quite often, even more than once per day in a big enough office.

I clean my keyboard and mouse regularly, as well as try to keep my hands clean while I'm working (if I eat a chocolate, I'll wash my hands afterwards, for example), but I know I'm the exception.

Should we be worried by that? I presume there's some qualitative differences between desk-dwelling bacteria and toilet-seat-dwelling bacteria.

Great question. To be honest, when I was doing my research I was able to come across multiple quotations of a study talking about these numbers. However, attempts to actually find a copy of the study in question led me to two different dead links. It's why I didn't bring it up in my blog post. I simply couldn't find a copy of the source; as compelling as a statement regarding toilet seats may be.

I hate that it's so hard to find a copy of an academic study.

Should you a find a copy of the study that explored and expounded upon this, I would love to see a link.

I agree with you. If you simply turn your keyboard upside down and give it a few slaps you will see a lot of grubbiness comming out!

Im going to invent a keyboard that has a toaster-style pullout.

But then your code will always be either slightly too-heavily cooked or not-quite-cooked-enough!

A somewhat different perspective exists in India. Most large corporations (and a large number of startups too) dissuade people from eating at their desks. Because most Indians love and eat cooked food, which, well, tends to give off the odours of cooked food. An entire floor eating cooked food at their desks will inevitably lead to a lingering odour that settles over everything & everyone.

So many of us have two options - eat out at a nearby eatery, or eat your prepared lunch at the internal cafeteria.

Personally, and in my circle of friends, we've gone from preferring eating out to preferring eating cooked meals that are either bought at the cafeteria or brought from home.

Maybe it's our preference for cooked food, which after a few years of eating out, will always be healthier if you get if from home. And because many of us have the "luxury" of being able to hire cooks who come in the mornings/evenings.

There are of course many Indians who prefer eating out, but as they get older (read: 4-5 years of working), they start realizing that home-cooked food is a better proposition. Which is why you'll often find a broad cross-section of employees - from an entry level person to CXOs, bringing cooked food in insulated containers as lunch.

It is one of these American cultural differences that we never imagine about other cultures: People eat lunch at the desk, instead of socializing; drinking alcohol outdoors is against the law; police can pick you for loitering...

I almost always take lunch, even when I'm very busy. Indeed, especially when I'm very busy. I always found it tremendously invigorating to get out of the office and walk around outside, particularly when I worked in Manhattan where you could totally drown yourself in the crowd and push out work thoughts.

It's funny, I almost never used to eat lunch when I worked in an office. I'd go have lunch outside of the office with coworkers. Now that I work remotely from home I eat at my desk close to 100% of the time. I rarely try to do actual work while eating, opting instead to stay hands free and watch a pycon talk or part of a documentary or something, but the article definitely resonates with me.. Most of my lunches are interrupted by questions in team chat and I end up feeling rushed back to work and not like I've had an effective break. I think I'm gonna try eating out today :)

I actually never bring my lunch to work, entirely for this reason. We don't have a cafeteria, and if I don't force myself to step away from my desk for an hour I'm never going to.

There's a forest near my office, and I like to drive up there during lunch and walk for 30 minutes.

I used to work in Santa Barbara a block from the ocean so I'd go swimming at lunch. Other times I'd get Tacos Rajas from La Super Rica.

At my current job my desk is pretty attractive compared to the surroundings so I prefer that. Also, I can pack a pretty good lunch for myself.

During lunch I drive up to a park with a wooded area and read or go for a jog. Enjoying the scenery and having some alone time is refreshing.

How about a look into how much more money you spend by going out to lunch everyday?

Eating lunch out every day can definitely get expensive, and people don't realize that. Of course, you don't have to buy your lunch in order to not eat at your desk. Assuming you have a place you can go (in this guy's example, a park), you can always bring something from home. Or, if you need something more exciting than what you can make at home, do like this guy:


...and then bring it somewhere other than your desk to eat.

At first I thought this was going to be a soylent story. I'm glad it's not. Thumbs up for the enjoyment of eating.

I bring a book to work. When I'm not eating with coworkers, lunch is when I forget I have a job and read.

It blows my mind that someone had enough motivation to write a big post on just why eating at desk is bad.

I've have never eaten lunch at my desk in 3 decades, I refuse. I need that time away to clear my mind. EIther I go out or eat in the company cafeteria (if it has one) or if I had to eat in some kind of lunch space.

Thank you. However I must confess that I am conscious of the decisions I make, and I am capable of evaluating the impact those decisions have on me and my particular circumstances.

The outcome of this is :

Some days I am full of energy and clarity and I eat at my desk and keep working.

Some days I am tired, stressed or for some other reason can't focus, and then I might go out and eat in a park and take my time.

Some days I have friends who want to meet for lunch.

Some days my colleagues want to go out for lunch as a group, typically Friday.

Some days I go eat in the common area because I am eating something smelly.

Some days I skip having anything substantial at lunch and go home early.

Does anyone else not care even if they did lose productivity to lunch...

Would you like a cookie for coming to the realization that you're an adult and can make adult choices about your daily behavior?

...why of course, you can eat that cookie wherever you like

I read this as I was eating lunch at my desk... nothing spices up a meal like a guilt trip. Yeah ok, maybe I should go take a real break.

I usually try to take a real lunch, but it is tempting to get a bit of extra time back during midday. It ends up being a slippery slope where it silently goes from once-in-a-while to all-the-freaking-time.

I also probably end up physically leaving my desk, but spending my whole lunch spinning the wheels in my head and that's probably just as problematic.

My team normally all leaves the office to go eat as a group in the dining room at noon every day. I wouldn't have it any other way.

I take a 2 mile bike ride home, hang out for a bit with the cats, and watch some Hulu before heading back. I cherish my lunch breaks.

I eat lunch in my dining room with my family (remote work is the best!)

In my previous job, I would eat lunch out whenever I was in the main office. Otherwise, the owner would decide it was just the PERFECT time for a meeting...

In my satellite office I would eat at my desk, though. In my lone office in the back of a warehouse.

One of the best decisions I ever made at my prior job. I'd take a solid hour for lunch outside, typically with colleagues. Additionally, 2 colleagues and I took a 45 min walk at 330pm everyday. I'd argue that I was significantly more productive by doing this and much much happier.

Go out to lunch 20 years now. I have to get out of the office for an hour to keep my sanity.

Lunch and dinner breaks are my most treasured time periods on many days. Whenever I remember the good old times at university, I think of my walks outside the library - and along the seashore - while taking a rest from studying to eat dinner.

I should add that browsing Wikipedia while eating lunch has made me a nutrition expert, to the surprise of many people. Eating lunch at the desk can also have its advantages.

A book(physical) is essentially all you need to mentally get away.

I bike for 75-90 minutes in the middle of the day, so I don't have much time for lunch. I eat while working after my bike ride.

That said, I agree with a lot of what the author has said.

I've never heard that, but I never do it anyways. Why sit at my desk when we have ping pong, pool, pinball, or arcade games?

For me its because I want my lunch to be as short as possible. I want to jam my food down my throat and finish what I'm doing. If I am going to relax it won't be at the office. I have much more fun things to do at home. For me work happens at work, and play happens at home. I keep as strict of a line between the two as I can.

That's just how my mind is set up though and I get why others like to relax and unwind throughout out the day.

just buy some cigarettes and take breaks often

just wait until HN finds out nicotine is (technically) a powerful nootropic

But... when would I read Hacker News?

Sitting the whole lunch period is a bigger problem. Grab a take away, then go for a walk.

Its always great stepping out for lunches. Welcome to the real world!

Nice post Dave, keep the posts coming!

The word never is seldom (but not quite 'never') advised, and shines brightly as a warning sign. It appears far too often among these shallow lifehack type articles.

In this case someone realized that that they have options about where to eat. While this may seem a tad cynical, in a week they will be back at their desk.

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