The Power of the Pause

How leaders can push pause

Pause icon. Internet button on white background.

Leaders would benefit from taking time to pause. Pausing allows you to physically and mentally get away from your work and responsibilities. It can refresh and renew your strength and mind. The practice of pausing can be challenging for leaders to implement since leadership is about going and doing. Taking regular time to pause in short and longer amounts of time will produce some powerful results.  Let’s look at how you can practice of pausing in short and long amounts of time.

Short amounts of time

You should create habits that will allow time for you to pause on a daily basis. Short amounts of time pausing can refocus and recharge you. It can lower stress levels and allow you to make the best decisions. Here are 3 daily practices worth implementing:

Practice silence

You should consider taking 3-5 minutes on a regular basis to get away from the busyness and noise of leadership to be silent. Silence is a great way to gather your emotions and/or thoughts. It can allow you to concentrate on your breathing and to reflect. Race car driver Sebastian Vettel said, “Sometimes you need to press pause to let everything sink in.” Taking time in silence can allow you to clear your mind and refocus.

Get out of your office

Leadership responsibilities and tasks can be overwhelming at times. Pushing pause to take a short break and/or getting out of the office can do wonders to clear your mind and ease stress levels. Whenever you are feeling weighed down or stressed with your work, you should consider taking a break and getting out of the office, either physically or mentally. It will recharge and relax you.

Short breaks for thinking

Pause provides you with the time to think. Consider starting a habit of taking 5-10 minutes to pause so you can engage in the art of thinking. You should consider several Thinking Principles for your thinking time. Short amounts of thinking time on a daily basis can really impact your productivity and leadership effectiveness. It’s like what John C. Maxwell said, “Good thinkers are always in demand.” 

Longer amounts of time

You should also consider longer periods of pausing alongside the daily practices of pushing pause. Even though these might be more challenging for a leader to implement you should consider them and weigh out the pros and cons. If you are honest with yourself you will see the benefits of taking longer amounts of time for pausing. You should take one day each week to pause as well as an annual vacation.

Pausing a day a week (or several times a month)

You should take one day a week to completely pause from your work, so you can recharge and rest. During this time, you could spend time with family, do activities or hobbies you enjoy, or just spend time relaxing at home. You should refrain from doing any type of work. That means no phone calls or checking your email. If you want to be extreme you can avoid doing household chores, paying the bills, doing errands, or going grocery shopping. The benefits of taking one day each week for yourself are that you will be ready and renewed from the other 6 days of the week.

Annual vacation

You should take an annual vacation. It might be traveling to a desired location or staying local. I recommend taking at least 7 consecutive days off work each year. This is a longer time frame for you to fully recharge and renew yourself. You can do a lot of the suggestions from the weekly pause or add your own list of activities. Your body and mind will feel nourished walking back into work after having a week off.

Questions: How intentional are you about pausing on a regular basis? what does pausing look like for you in short and longer amounts of time?

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  • I’m not as good as I’d like to be on “pausing”. But it is something I do from time to time. My family and I vacation a few times a year so we can get away and unplug from everyday life. And once every few weeks I try to take some “me” time. 15-30 mins of silence. Just praying, reflecting on what God is doing, looking at His creation or sitting with my eyes closed. This really does help reduce my stress and hear from God. It helps me refocus on HIS bigger picture.
    Have a happy holiday season! God bless you and your family.

    • Those area great ways to press pause. It’s a challenge for most of us but it’s so crucial. Thank you for reading and commenting. Blessing to you and your family!