You who know me know that I’m a person of action. I make quick and informed decisions, and I get things done. Think of me as the Hummer of Entrepreneurship. I’m going to get there, so you might as well get in for the ride or get out of the way.
That said, it may surprise you to know that every once in awhile, I PAUSE.
I stop the action just for a time – a few minutes, a weekend, or a few days – in order to give myself time to regroup. No matter your personality – whether you’re a high-driving “D” like me or a highly detailed “C”, you have to stop driving or detailing and give your mind and body a break every once in awhile.
Here are 5 reasons you should engage the “Artful Pause”:
1. Pause to Think
I saw a quote recently: “When you give yourself a minute to think, you give yourself a chance to make a better decision.” How many bad decisions (and their ensuing consequences) could have been avoided if someone had just paused to think first? Never, never, never make a decision when you’re feeling pressured to do so, and it doesn’t feel right. You’ve heard of new car remorse? It also applies to other decisions as well. Pause to think…and make solid decisions you won’t regret later.
2. Pause to Listen
How often do we rush through life not listening? Do we really listen to our spouse or our children when they’re talking to us? Do we stop to listen to nature or music? Sometimes we just need to listen to our own thoughts – and those can only be heard when we turn off the noise of society that surrounds us. There’s wisdom to that verse, “Be still and know.”
3. Pause to Rest
Sometimes the best thing you can do is take a nap. Yes, there I said it. Seriously. If you’re starting to act like a two-year-old, then you need to rest. There are no rewards for being the person who gets the least amount of sleep. There comes a point of diminishing returns where you may be working more and accomplishing less, simply because you are tired. Stop, rest, and come back recharged. You may be amazed at how much more you can get done when you are rested.
4. Pause to Review
This is a critical step, especially in business. There are shifting points where you have to stop doing what you’re doing the way you’re doing it and evaluate. There may be a better way. There may be a need to delegate some things. There may be a need to refocus and reconfigure some things. At least quarterly, stop and reflect on where you are and adjust course as needed.
5. Pause to Create
It is amazing how a change of place or pace can spark creativity. In fact, this is one I recommend daily – step away from your computer, take a walk, go out with a friend, drive a different way to the office. Do something different – pause – and give your mind the chance to be creative. You might find you are more creative than you thought.
As for me, I am taking a purposeful pause during the month of August. I am cutting back on a lot of my normal duties so I can do some focused work and planning. As my friend and mentor Dan Miller advocates, sometimes you have to say no to good things in order to say yes to great things. We talked about the need for this in our recent Leadership Insights show with Andrea Feinberg.
So…are YOU planning to take a break anytime soon?