We live in a world of “do more, produce more, and get the work done at all costs.” We’ve learned to press through our fatigue, juggle our family events, and ignore our own physical needs to get that important work done.
The problem is that our lists never really get done completely.
We keep piling more onto that list all the time. When we have all these loose ends that never get finished or even acknowledged, the brain is always working on them in the background. You fall out at the end of your day to rest, only to sit bolt upright at 3 a.m., thinking, “Oh crap! I forgot to do finish the work for my biggest and most important client!” It’s not a big leap to see that this pattern causes mental fatigue.
Of course, we take pride in all the great work we DO get finished and all our sacrifices. That said, there are times when being more productive actually occurs by hitting the pause button, for a moment or two.
Stop the action to check in and take stock of exactly how close you are to fulfilling on your commitments. In other words, benchmark your progress. Pausing and doing a logical process of regrouping, redesigning, and restarting will relieve that stress and angst and allow you to rest soundly when you close your eyes at the end of a busy day. Benchmarking progress will give you a sense of accomplishment, and it’s a great motivator for doing even greater work but more calmly.
We are now well into the fourth quarter of the year. The holidays are fast approaching. This is one of those times to pause, benchmark, take stock of your progress. It’s time to look back at your plans for the year and determine what still needs to be completed before the end of the year. Like a well-played chess game, you want to anticipate the next moves.
Planning now will support your health and vitality and prevent “holiday burn out” over the next two months. Design your life so you can wrap the year up in a pretty bow, take a breather during the holidays, craft your new plan, and then hit the ground running when the New Year begins.
I’ve been doing a pause process for many years now. In addition to my Completion & Renewal process, I started today to review all strategy and planning documents and write a brain-dump list of crucial to-dos. I have also instituted a practice of morning meditation (thanks to one of my brilliant coaches!) and since the weather is gorgeous and unseasonably warm today, I took a long walk to ponder my list. There is nothing like getting out an connecting with nature to unplug for a hectic pace of work, revitalize yourself and come back renewed. Now I can start the final push to finish as much of my to-do list before Thanksgiving as humanly possible. I’ll break the list into bite-sized chunks and take pleasure in checking off one item after the next. I’ll also spend some time each weekend from now through the holidays to noodle ideas for an even more successful and balanced New Year. How about you? What’s your “pause?”
If you don’t have a process, start here: