Do you ever find yourself moving so fast from one thing to the next, only to realize that time has flown by and you are not sure what you really got done?
When we are in a busy season, that can happen a lot. We move from one thing to the next, working hard to check one more thing off of our to-do list.
But, are we even asking ourselves, “Should I be working on this particular task? Is it a good task to focus on or am I doing it just for the satisfaction of crossing it off my list?”
- What if, instead, we paused, thought for a moment before creating our to-do list?
- What if we paused and took time to consider our goals, our priorities, and values?
If we did, I bet we could create an intentional to-do list instead of frantically writing whatever is on our mind and feels urgent right now.
What if we paused, just to pause? To lift our heads up from producing and getting things done to look around, appreciate where we are, how far we’ve come, and the beauty all around us.
In today’s episode I want to talk about why we need to practice pausing in our lives and in our businesses.
Here is a common theme in a lot of conversations I have with my clients.
“I’ve been so busy trying to get it all done that I didn’t think about it first. You are asking me questions I hadn’t even considered. I’ve been so busy I haven’t paused long enough to think about anything other than what is right in front of me.”
I feel this way when I’m in a hectic season of my life or business. When I don’t take the time to do a weekly review of my goals, my calendar, and how I want to spend my time, I get to the end of the week and wonder what I work on? How did I spend my time? I felt so busy and productive, so why do I feel so behind? Why are there so many things left on my to-do list?
It’s Time to Practice Pausing
When we are angry, we are told to take a breath and think before making an angry reply that we will regret.
If we are working on building better money habits, we are told, pause, wait, and think about that purchase before making an impulse buy.
When at a stop sign, we are supposed to look around, look up and not speed through the intersection.
Growing up, we were taught to pause in many areas of our lives. Why not in business? What not in productivity? Why not in our marketing? Why not while we serve our clients?
This week we had gorgeous morning weather on our morning walk down the beach. T-shirt weather in the morning! I live on the South Central Oregon Coast. T-shirt weather on the beach doesn’t happen all that often, especially in the mornings.
That morning I had to shrug off my flannel jacket amid a tangle of leashes as the dogs wove around my legs. Honestly, I think they think it’s a great time to see if they can trip me when my focus is elsewhere.
We didn’t have as much time as usual to go for a longer walk, but it was so nice, I couldn’t resist heading out and seeing what we could see.
The sun was out, warmish for once. Few people were out walking around. And the tide was in. It was beautiful.
When we visit this beach, I have a few landmarks in mind so I know how far we’ve gone and when it is a good time to turn back. And it hit me. I needed to ask myself, why? What was I trying to accomplish and why did I feel the need to accomplish it?
Yes, the dogs need their exercise, and so do I, but why am I trying to hit a specific length of time on such a gorgeous day? Why is my head down, focused on the landmarks and where we were at?
Why was I not taking this AMAZING moment in time to pause and just enjoy? This is a rare moment as an Oregon Coast dweller. Why am I not enjoying it?
So I had us stop. Take a breather, and just watch and enjoy the beautiful day.
- There were birds flying around that would suddenly angling into a steep dive and come back up with tiny silver fish caught in their talons.
- I saw a seal moseying along, surfing the waves and probably diving to grab his own breakfast.
- The sun was out warming us without it being too hot, and the wind was a gentle breeze.
I would have missed all of this if I hadn’t taken the time to pause, to breathe, to look up, look around, and just be.
The birds are not rushing around frantically. They are taking the time to find the right wind current, using their sharp eyes to spot their target, and then suddenly diving to grab their food.
That seal was surfing the waves, coming up for air, riding the crest of the wave and then disappearing and diving under the crashing waves. Not hurried, not rushed. He was just doing his thing.
The Power of the Pause in Our Businesses
We need to do that in business.
In a recent email newsletter, the writer reminded us that to-do lists do not, and should not own us. That we need to get okay with not getting everything done and instead embrace the freedom of choice.
We get to choose what gets our time and attention. We get to decide what to work on that will move us toward our goals.
Isn’t having more freedom and flexibility in our day one of the main reasons we started our businesses?
The Benefits of Pausing
We don’t need a lot of time to pause. A pause can be a moment, a few moments, or longer. But often we only need time for a quick check in and ask a few questions:
- Is what I’m working on in alignment with my goals, values, and priorities?
- Am I filling my to-do list with things that will move me forward toward my goals and business vision, or am I filling it with items that will make me FEEL productive?
- Am I making intentional decisions about my schedule or making those decisions based on fear?
Until we practice the habit of pausing, we won’t know if:
- We are reacting to the moment or reacting to an opportunity.
- We are reacting to an inspired idea.
- We are reacting to a prompting on our hearts.
- We hear that Still Small Voice or if outside noise is distracting us.
Developing a habit of pausing helps build awareness, discernment, and intentional decision-making skills.
Without learning how to pause, we don’t realize how much we are missing. How much is passing us by because our head is down focused on the next thing on our lists?
Take Some Time to Pause Today
I’d like to encourage you to stop and pause for a moment or two today. In fact, I’m challenging you to take a moment to pause today.
- Take a deep breath.
- Lift your head and look around.
- Write out a gratitude list.
- Sit with a favorite drink and just be.
Have lunch away from your computer even! Wild concept I know.
If I hadn’t taken a moment to sit and pause on this walk down the beach. I would have missed so much. I wouldn’t have seen the incredible birds hunting, the seal being a seal, or enjoy the rare calm and warm morning on our local beach.
When you hear yourself saying, “I don’t know what to do. I’m so busy I can’t think straight.” It’s time to practice the pause.
So please today take a few minutes today (or maybe go wild and do it every day this week) to pause, to enjoy the moment, to lift your head up and look around, take a deep breath, and appreciate where you are at and how far you have come.
Will you do that for yourself, and your business, today?
Marta Goertzen is an entrepreneur, writer, WordPress Website developer, and nature photographer. She daily explores the trails and beaches of the South Central Oregon Coast with her dogs Oliver & Mochi. You can follow along on their adventures on Instagram. Marta also fully believes that change starts with gratitude and that gratitude can change everything. Find out how with the “Grateful Friday 7-Days of Gratitude Starter Kit”