Cultivating Paus-Ativity: Stepping Back To Step Ahead (Energy)

Nonstop action is a dead end strategy for success. When you nix time-outs, you just hit the wall – not the mark. Sometimes you really do have to step back to step ahead.

Make the most of the days ahead by building strategic pauses into your everyday experiences. Practise pausing – for renewal, appreciation and perspective- and you will boost energy, fuel enthusiasm and inspire insight.

Here are three pause practices for each of those outcomes.

Pause For Renewal

1. Get your sleep. Recent research suggests that while living creatures sleep, the equivalent of a night janitor in the brain clears out the debris left behind by the day’s mental workout. Too little sleep – too much accumulated rubble. Plus, when we’re sleep deprived, we don’t put facts together effectively or make great decisions. Burning too much midnight oil has daytime consequences.

2. Space out your commitments. Stop racing from appointment to appointment, giving yourself heartburn and ulcers in the process. Time out is life’s all-natural antacid. Buffer-in a few breathers. Book your meetings for 45 minutes not an hour in length. Leave that extra 15 minutes for body breaks, reflections, and transitions. You’ll bring a much steadier pace to your the day.

3. Breathe. Breathing may be automatic, but try making it intentional. The next time you feel scattered, stressed, or seriously conflicted, find yourself a quiet spot. Sit down. Drop your shoulders, drop your burdens, and breathe. Take a long breath in and a long breath out. Even just a few moments focusing on your breath will grow the calm and slow the frenzy. The more you practice, the easier it will be to find your way back to center when you’re nudged off balance.

Pause For Appreciation

1. Draw attention to the things you value. When you mentally register that someone has made a positive contribution, acknowledge it out loud. Tell that person what you appreciate and why it matters. Good thoughts not delivered mean squat. Don’t squander them. Bring them to life and pass them along.

2. Top your own tank every day. You may not experience an awesome win or a major triumph every single day. Few of us do. But there is sure to be something that’s going your way. Watch for signs and signals that things are moving in the right direction. Let glimmers of progress today fuel your enthusiasm for tomorrow.

3. Savour more. Broaden the focus of your appreciation. Pause to appreciate the world around you – its beauty and its wonders. Pay attention to WHO people are – their idiosyncrasies, their character and their values. Drink it in and soak it up! Savouring is every bit as renewing as a long, tall glass of water!

Pause For Perspective

1. Tune in the extraordinary. Whenever something strikes you as unique or unusual or surprising, tend to that twinge. Pause long enough to explore what’s new or what’s different. Think about how that shift in insight will influence what you choose to do next.

2. Make time to debrief. Cultivate the habit of asking yourself this simple question, “What’s the point?” What is the meaning of this conversation? What is the lesson in this experience? What is the seed in this idea? Use your answers to deepen your understanding and guide your actions.

3. Outwit life’s downers. Frustrated by an action? Disappointed by a comment? Exasperated by a circumstance? Explore what you need to learn, how you need to think, or what you need to change so you don’t find yourself in that situation quite so often. Look beyond your typical responses. Search out a fresh and unusual take on a familiar condition.

Are you thinking you’d like more out of life? Make pausing part of your every day practice. Give yourself the gift of stepping back, standing down, chilling out.

Cultivate paus-ativity, and you will be rewarded with energy, enthusiasm and insight.

©  Patricia Katz, Optimus Consulting MCE CHRP HoF, is a Canadian speaker and author who works with organizational leaders to ease the load and fuel the spirit. This best selling author of 6 books shares her wisdom weekly with thousands of readers of her e-zine, Pause. Sign up for Pause, and learn more about easing your load here on this site. Contact Pat for programs and publications at or 877-728-5289.