5 ways to ensure “Doing Lunch” doesn’t kill your productivity

lunch_timeI love to eat.

This makes me an ideal candidate for going out for lunch. I find Doing Lunch is a great opportunity to take a break from my office and feel the vibe of the outside world. It’s also an important way to network.

However, there is a down side to taking this kind of break in my day. If I don’t make the most of it, it can be a big, fat waste of time.

The reality is this: Doing Lunch is a commitment of time, money and energy. These are three resources that are vital to your personal productivity.

Here are 5 ways you can ensure your lunch break doesn’t eat into your productivity:

1. Have lunch on purpose

What’s your goal for Doing Lunch? Is it to build a relationship with someone? Maybe it’s to find out about their business challenges. Whatever the reason, know it in advance. It will keep the conversation focused and on track. (Tip: Don’t use the hour to give a sales pitch, otherwise next time you’ll be eating alone.)

2. Location, location, location

Choose a restaurant that is close in proximity to where your lunch date is located. You want to make it easy and effortless for them to get to the restaurant. You may even ask them if they have a favourite lunch spot and meet there.

3. This lunch has 60 minutes

Show respect for your lunch date’s time by keeping it to an hour. Here are some ways to help you do that:

  • Make a reservation. Nothing is worse than wasting time standing in line or waiting for a table.
  • Arrive early. That way you can get settled and check out the menu ahead of time. You can also talk to your waiter/waitress and inform them that you only have an hour. You’d be amazed at how this speeds up your service.
  • Order your drinks and meal at the same time. This can save you precious minutes. It also means you won’t be interrupted again to order your meal.

4. Follow up

Send a thank you note by email or snail mail. Mention next steps or reference a helpful article that may address a business challenge they are experiencing. Now that you’ve connected, it’s up to you to maintain and grow the relationship.

5. Get back to work

Often we return from lunch so relaxed that it’s difficult to get back into work mode. This is where some pre-planning can get you over the hump. Before you leave for lunch, make sure you have your afternoon tasks planned and scheduled so you can just slip right back into your groove.

Do you build your network by Doing Lunch? Where is your favourite spot to meet and why? Share your comments below and continue the conversation.


  1. I have a difficult time getting back to “work mode” when I return from networking meetings, 1:1 lunches, even after giving a presentation. I just feel “drained” of my energy. I’ll give your idea of having a plan written down in my planner for what I can do after the event. Keeping in mind that my energy bank feels drained this would be a good time to do less taxing tasks. Any other thoughts appreciated. I love your post!

    • Hi Bonnie. I’m with you. When I return to work from a business lunch I feel drained as well. Good for you for tapping in to your energy level and deciding to do those tasks that require less brain power. I use this time to clean up my desk, return phone calls or process my emails. Give that a try and see how you do. Keep me posted on the tasks you decide to tackle when your energy is low.

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