Out, Darn Desk Jockey! Outdoors, that is

Confession: I eat lunch at my desk. A lot. I know I shouldn’t, but my inner workaholic usually wins the fight. But this time of year, that inner voice is drowned out by another, equally obsessive voice: the desire to go outdoors. It’s a primal urge, and a healthy one. But one I—and thousands of other folks working in office jobs—can only entertain for little bits at a time.

According to a Wall Street Journal article published this week, apparently this urge to go outside is not only healthy, but could help reinvigorate productivity as well. Unfortunately, the article warns against actually drinking coffee on your metaphorical coffee break.

Along those lines, here are a couple of ways to get outdoors on your lunch hour or afternoon coffee break:
  •  Take a walk to Millennium Park. Our tax dollars built this fabulous outdoor space, so downtown office workers: get your money’s worth!
  • Sit on a bench and meditate over your sandwich. Many companies—city and suburban—invest in outdoor areas that surround office  buildings, which commonly go under-used. A few minutes of fresh air can go a long way to getting the creative juices revived to go back to work.
  • Drink your Starbucks sitting outside. Yes, we know you’ll be checking your iPhone while you do—but you’ll at least be out in the sunshine.
  •  Birdwatch from a terrace. If you can go to a rooftop restaurant, check out the many different types of birds our urban eco-system supports. You might even see a Falcon.
  • Google parks near you. You’ll be surprised how many “pocket parks,” and other small but serene outdoor spaces are nearby, that you don’t notice when they’re covered with ice and snow.
  • Take your laptop and work outside. Give your mobile wi-fi a workout, or just try going offline to concentrate. Sitting under a tree on our famed lakefront can be an idyllic place to become one with your spreadsheets.

Our mission isn’t to cure workaholics. But we might just get your inner workaholic and nature lover to agree on something!

By Margy Sweeney, Director of Partner and Public Engagement, EcoMyths Alliance