Just gimme a minute, okay?
Power of the pause…professionally, personally. A game changer.
Slow down for 10 seconds. Interrupt your action. Seriously. Taking a pause is a very bold and effective move. Taking a pause will help you be more effective, more compassionate, more accurate, more calm. Taking a pause will make you a better person.
Pause to collect your thoughts. Pause to refuel. Pause to understand. Pause to consider others. Pause for gratitude. A pause gives you space to be a better person… a better friend, better at your job, a better communicator.
Why? Sans pause, we are likely to speak out of turn, say something we’ll regret, make a decision based on poor intuition, hurt someone’s feelings, miss an opportunity to make the world a better place. Without pauses we burn out.
Here are ways to use a pause to make you a happier and better person:
Bookend your day. Use a pause at the very beginning and end of your day. When you first wake up in the morning, sit up, relax your arms and hands, close your eyes and set one intention for the day. It doesn’t have to be a change-the-rotation-of-the-earth intention — just one thing you’d like to get out of your day. “Today, I am going to make it a point to smile at people I pass by.” Or “Today, I will spend time outside”. Or “Today, I will count to 5 before I answer a question.” At the end of your day, when all of your tasks and chores are done, when you are ready for your final wind-down, sit still for just 2 minutes and reflect on your day. Before you put this day to bed, reconcile it. The simple act of bookending your day with a pause can ensure the day was lived with meaning.
Pause for gratitude. Melanie Salvatore-August writes “gratitude is a grease cutter; use it to cut through the dirt and grim of your fear and anxiety”. Take time to really thank people. Instead of the casual, automatic ‘thanks’, really let people know you you are grateful with your words and actions. Find at least one thing to be grateful for every day, take a pause and truly recognize it.
I love this article: “This is what poverty taught me about money”. Kat Quinzel tells us “I count my riches in the smiles I get from strangers”.
I want to do that. I want to be rich with smiles from strangers. I think I’ll remember received smiles with gratitude tonight.
Focus your thoughts. At any point during your day when you feel anxious, stressed, angry or confused, take a pause. Breathe intentionally for 10 breathes. Figure out what is causing your negative emotion. The point is not to change, cancel, or dismiss your thoughts and feelings. The point is just to identify them and their source. Okay, that particular person or task or requirement or desire is what is making me feel this way. Take a breath with it. Then another. Just that pause to clarify awareness will help you move through and reduce the effects of that feeling.
Gift it. Take a pause to give time to someone else. A pause, whether 2 minutes or 2 hours, is a use of time. Use a few minutes up on someone else. Try using a short pause to reach out to someone who needs a spirit lift, or handle a chore for a co-worker or family member without being asked. Take a break from your to-do list and ask someone how they are, then really listen to the answer. Consider it an investment in karma.
Measure twice. Take a pause before your speak (or hit ‘send’). Too often the words leave or mouths (or draft boxes) before we have taken time to think them through. Hurtful things are said. Confidentiality is breached. Wounds are re-opened. Words are extremely powerful and they can’t be taken back, they can’t be undone. People speak without pausing when they are angry, stressed, excited, and pressured. Again, the pause is not a challenge to squelch the emotions, it’s a chance to understand them. I used to feel that if a client asked me a question, no matter the complexity, I needed to answer immediately or the client would think I was not knowledgeable enough. In reality this was my own insecurity. If my wisdom allows for a pause to consider my reply and someone finds that an indication of ignorance, that is their problem, not mine. I’d rather measure my remarks twice to be sure they are accurate and kind. I certainly hope others do this for me.
How you define “pause” is personal. Your pause, your interruption of action, can look anyway you like. Stop typing, pick up a small stone that you keep beside your keyboard and just feel it’s weight for 10 seconds. Light a candle, watch the flame for as long as it takes to think of 5 things you are grateful for. Walk outside notice how the air feels. Concentrate on 10 breaths. Drink a glass of water. Your pause can be still or in motion, quiet or loud, alone or with company. It’s simply an interruption of action. Find what works for you.
Please pause to❤ my article so more people will find it! I am grateful that you read it and I hope you found something useful in the words.
I am Rachel Tawil Kenyon. I am a bookkeeper and small-business ally, and I live a balanced life. Click on my profile for articles about living a balanced existence at work and at home.