Eating lunch at your desk at work

It’s pretty easy to fall down the slippery slope and start to suffer from burnout when you work at home as a freelancer or any kind of online entrepreneur. Without a boss breathing down your neck and checking up on your status, the only person that keeps you on track is you. Yes, staying productive is very important if you want to achieve any kind of success, but you don’t want to overdo it either. Take a break, you deserve it.

Something that I’ve noticed since starting my career as a freelance writer is that my lunch breaks are not as long as they used to be. This is terribly counterintuitive, but it illustrates the misconception of freedom for freelancers. I feel compelled to work more, because when I do, I tend to accomplish more and make more money. That’s pretty motivating.

When I was still “working for the man,” I took full advantage of the full hour for lunch. Completing my meal well before this time ran out, I’d fill out the rest of the lunch hour by socializing with co-workers or reading the newspaper. When I took my lunch break yesterday, however, I found that I was back at my desk the moment the sandwich was completely consumed. My lunch hour was more like 15 minutes. Instead of taking one long break in the middle of the day, I seem to be more content taking several short breaks.

Am I alone in this phenomenon? I reached out to the Twitter-sphere for answers and at least five people responded to my query within moments. Their responses are listed below.

  • When I work from home I try to take a shorter break. (hummingbird604)
  • I find I take no breaks when I work from home. I’m always scared people will think I was slacking. (GusF)
  • When I was at home I went out for lunch with people. The joys of not being strapped to a desk I suppose. (TylerIngram)
  • No. They are MUCH longer than I’d like them to be because there is no one to tell me to get back to work! (stephen_fung)
  • When I work ‘full time’ in the summer, on weekends, etc. They’re usually shorter, because I usually want to get stuff done early. (michaelyurechko)

A very slight majority seems to take shorter breaks, but Stephen enjoys slacking off and Tyler leaves his home altogether. I hear that John Chow typically enjoys three-hour lunches on a daily basis. How about the rest of the Beyond the Rhetoric community? Do you find that you take shorter breaks when you work from home?