How to Maximize Your Lunch Break

Your lunch hour is a great time to break up your day and work on your career. Instead of online shopping or cruising Instagram, use that time to invest in yourself. You'll become energized and get the extra motivation to work through the rest of the afternoon. Leaving career-advancing activities to after work or the weekend can often times get cast aside for dinner plans, weddings, and brunches. Instead, utilize your lunch hour.

Lunch Date - Instead of grabbing a salad with your work BFF and heading back to the office, switch it up. At least once a week, make an effort to connect with a new colleague and offer to get lunch with them outside the office. Relationships are built through spending time together and getting to know one another.

Network Online
- Career success is as much about who we know as it is what we know - and doing a LinkedIn Advance People Search to identify the significant players in your industry is definitely helpful. Not only can you observe the career paths these people took to gain insight into your own possible path - but inevitably you'll find something or someone in common.

Learn a new skill - Have you been interested in ramping up your skills like content writing, web design or learning a new language? Lunch time is the perfect time to invest in yourself. There are plenty of online programs you can choose from. General Assembly, MediaBistro and SkilledUp all offer unique classes during office hours that can greatly enhance your skills.

Work Up a Sweat - I am a big believer in attaching a physical goal to a career goal. Hit the gym during your lunch break. Many gyms offer shortened classes for the lunchtime crowd, and some companies even bring in yoga instructors to help employees relax and refocus during lunch. You'll return to your desk relaxed and refreshed for the afternoon ahead!

Give Back - Spend your lunch hour using your professional skills to give back to a charity you care about. CatchaFire matches you to nonprofits based on your time commitment and skills. Businesses and need people who can help them run as efficiently as possible. Professional skills like graphic design, event planning, social media, fundraising and programming are high in demand. If you are looking to build your skills in one department you can learn easily by working as part of a team. Volunteering also helps put you in touch with people inside and outside of your industry. It's a great way of getting in front of people who have similar values and are leaders. If you are interested in using your skills to volunteer, be sure to add the Volunteer Experience & Causes section to your LinkedIn profile. Expressing the causes you care about and the organizations you support will enable your network to connect you with the right opportunity.