Have you ever found yourself so busy you couldn’t think straight? I know I have. Moving through my task list, making sure I’m covering all the bases in my work, handling the gotcha’s that seem to appear from nowhere can leave me befuddled and ineffective.
The worst part is the stress of trying to stay on top of everything has even led to my making bad decisions.
Enter the pause. In our weekly Uniquely Brilliant podcast, Diana and I talk about the power of pausing in almost every episode. It’s even in my 5 Step Tune-Up Technique for Careers.
It’s amazing what we make room for by pausing. When we make the effort to just stop – stop everything for a few seconds, we create space for new insights. I don’t know about you, but when I’m pushing hard, fretting about an outcome, trying to figure out how to make an idea work, there’s absolutely no space in my brain for any kind of insight to get through.
Since I feel so strongly about this topic, I’m sharing our podcast episode on pausing with you. I’ve beefed up the show notes from The Positive Pause the episode to give you something to think about.
- When we take the time to pause, we give ourselves the opportunity to reflect, regroup, and re-assess our current situation. We move from reaction to action. Even though it doesn’t seem like it, pausing is taking action.
- Pausing leaves room for insights! It creates space for creativity to come through.
- Pausing is planned procrastination. Maybe we’re not ready to decide between puce and pomegranate. When we pause, we are procrastinating – but the idea that procrastination is always bad is outdated.
- Here’s a favorite: our thoughts are like seeds. They need time and space to grow. When we plant flowers, don’t we pack the dirt around them loosely so they have room to grow? We don’t want to strangle their root system – yet we’ll flail around so hard looking for a solution to some problem that we strangle ourselves!
- Pausing is temporary. We’re not stopping forever or even for a long time. For example, last week I was tweaking my bio for, like, the 126th time. I was so frustrated with trying to figure out how to convey who I am in 200 characters. And, for once, I was smart. I paused. I looked out the window for a couple of minutes. And, it came to me. It was just a little pause, followed by a little tweak to the wording, but it made the whole bio hang together.
- Pausing gives us time to address situations from a logical place instead of an emotional place. Just one extra breath can keep us from making huge mistakes. Need I say more?
- We can pause in any number of ways. We can look out the window (!), take a short walk, work on a coloring page, play a game on our phones, take a few deep breaths.
- Pausing is about separating ourselves from the current situation so things look different when we reenter it.
Don’t let anyone rush you!
- Pausing allows us to make decisions at our own speed. We can get so caught up in working at other people’s speeds. So if we’re being pressured to make a decision, and we need to pause and take a little longer to think about it, we should do just that.
- When we get rattled or stressed or angry, we can pause and anchor ourselves in the current moment. We can start by naming the things we see around us (down to the carpet and our clothing). This technique is called grounding, and it puts us back in the here and now.
- When we remember to pause because we’re stressed or angry, we can pause and ask ourselves, “Where is this coming from? Is there something I need to make this better?”
- Finally, to re-purpose an old Coca-Cola ad campaign, “It’s the pause that refreshes [us].”
*ferocious: very great, extremely intense