Practical tips to build pause into your day and make better decisions
We are living in a very busy world with information coming at us from all angles. The boss, clients, co-workers, families all need something from us, pushing us along, creating a rush where we are driven by whatever comes at us next.
At the end of it all, we can find that we are not getting the important work done, mistakes are made, people around us get frustrated and possibly angry and we are exhausted, stressed and frustrated ourselves. It is a vicious cycle spiralling downwards that has to be broken. But how?
Take a breath
This slows things down. It allows the body to reduce the stress chemicals in the system enabling you to think more clearly. Ultimately what it is about is creating the space to think and take control and choose what you want to do rather than simply reacting to what’s happening.
In effect you are giving yourself more time. Time that you need to make a conscious choice about what you do next rather than be on auto-pilot and just respond that can lead to you trouble.
What does this look like in practice?
- 10 minutes of mindfulness each day. I prefer the morning, but it can be done anytime you want. The science is in - it aids recovery and build resilience. My experience is that it slows me down and takes the edge of what would normally be stressful moments.
- Remember to breathe. Ever noticed that when you are under pressure you suddenly have to take a big gulp of air? That’s because we forget to breathe. When in that pressure moment, consciously focus on breathing, it helps keep the mind engaged and calm the nerves.
- Write things down. At the end of each day write down your to do list for the next day (Make sure it is not too long and overwhelming – be realistic about what you can do). This clears the mind and you don’t have to worry about what you have forgotten. As you go through the day tick off what you have done (feels good) and pause to add any follow-up or new things to do that come up. (there are loads of great apps to help you with this, I use Asana).
- Before moving on the next job, pause and ask – what do I need to achieve and why is it important? This help prioritise and think back to the bigger picture and build focus
- Pause and take a breath before: answering questions; e mails, particularly one that anger you; deciding what’s next.
- Schedule ‘Pause’ time in your calendar – especially between meetings, even taking 2 minutes to stop and breathe before rushing into the next meeting can make a bit difference.
I would love to know what does pause looks like for you? What do you do that works?
Good luck with the pause
Want to understand more?
Listen to Jackie Smith explaining more about pause.