We all know that there are lots of things you should do on your lunch break to keep you sane and give your brain a rest – take a walk, do some exercise or have lunch with a friend.
But for those days when it's absolutely pelting it down outside, what can you do? We’ve come up with a few ideas to help you make the most of your lunch hour...
01. Learn something new
That golden hour is also the perfect time to get through the long list of webinars, tutorials and industry-related podcasts that you keep bookmarking but never get round to listening to/watching.
So whether you want to learn to design your own typeface (opens in new tab), get started with responsive web design (opens in new tab) or pick up some Photoshop tips (opens in new tab), there’s a vast library of information out there to tap into.
Where to start? Memrise (opens in new tab) is a great site that connects you with a whole host of different online courses, from learning new languages to gaining new design skills. The site also has an element of gamification so you can earn points whilst you learn. Alternatively, if it's web design training you're after, check out these great resources (opens in new tab).
02. Keep abreast of new stuff
In the creative industry, there are so many new cool websites being launched and innovative design techniques being talked about every day tha keeping abreast of it all can feel a little overwhelming.
Your lunch hour is a great time to grab a coffee and a sandwich and get inspired with the day’s design news. Creative Bloq should be your first port of call, of course, but it's also worth signing up to an RSS reader and subscribing to any design publishing sites or agencies with an active blog that resonate with you and the work you're doing.
You might also want to take a look at our list of The best Tumblr blogs for designers. (opens in new tab)
03. Do some networking
A rainy lunch break is a great time to get involved with the design community. Take to public platforms such as Twitter, Facebook and Google+, as well as design hubs like Behance (opens in new tab) and Dribbble (opens in new tab), to share your work, other’s work and any creative ideas that you want to soundboard with fellow designers. You’ll be very surprised how often relationships develop and new clients are gained over social media!
The most effective way of monitoring what’s being said on social networks is to create a list on Twitter of all your favourite design blogs and agencies and join in the discussion. If you’re a freelancer, this is also a great way to show your expertise in the industry and potentially a chance to gain some new clients.
For more ideas for online networking, check out How designers can make the most of social media (opens in new tab).
04. Read a book
If you've spent all morning looking at a computer, it's good to get away from the screen for a while. So why not take the opportunity to widen your design horizons with a good read?
Get acquainted with some of the 20th century's greatest designers by thumbing through these inspiring monograms (opens in new tab); check out some of the best graphic design books of 2014 so far (opens in new tab) or take a look at these superb web design books (opens in new tab).
05. Read a magazine
Print's not dead! There are tons of great magazines on the market covering all things design, and some of them are made by us.
So we'd heartily recommend our sister print publications, including net magazine (opens in new tab) (web design), Computer Arts (opens in new tab) (graphic design), 3D World (opens in new tab) (3D) and Imagine FX (opens in new tab) (digital arts). Grab one and you'll soon be wishing your lunch break will never end...
Natalie Brandweiner is an online journalist for MyCustomer.com (opens in new tab), covering social media and marketing, and has a keen interest in design.