Reflection & Action: Imagine a page with text spilling off the edges. Imagine a schedule crammed solid with meetings from morning to night. Imagine your clothes fitted so tightly there’s no room to breathe. Imagine a car without bumpers. The result? No place to rest your eyes, no ease, no grace, no protection from the bumps and bruises of life.
So it is in a life without buffers. Dr. Richard Swenson6 suggests that in our preoccupation with speed and progress we end up sacrificing our margins. Margin is that difference between your load and your limits (i.e.- physical and emotional energy, finances, and time). Think of it as the reserve space, or leeway in your life.
Living a ‘just in time’ existence at the edge of your resources can be exciting, but it comes with a cost. It leaves no cushion for tough times, surprises, unexpected problems or opportunities. And, as any high speed adventurer knows, crash without padding, and you will come to know pain on a first name basis.
Do you know and honor your own limits. In handling resources of time, money, or energy, at what point do you shift from swimming with strength, confidence and direction to drown-proofing, and then to drowning? Even tiny margins (a few extra minutes, a few extra dollars, or a few extra winks) can make a big difference in how fast and how often you hit bottom.
Build in margins in small, doable ways. Leave a few minutes early for your next appointment. Stop working on a project before you reach the point of complete exhaustion. Make your next purchase well within your means rather than pushing to the outside limit of your bank account.
Quote Of The Week: “Those who are caught up in the busy life have neither the time nor quiet to come to understand themselves and their goals. Since the opportunity for inward attention hardly ever comes, people have not heard from themselves for a long, long time. Those who are always ‘on the run’ never meet anyone any more, not even themselves.” – Robert Banks
Resource Of The Week: Pauza! Pauseren! Tauko! Presa! Skunda? Puristaa! Looking for some multilingual fun? Download this set of Press Pause / Press On Prompt Cards – my gift to you to start the month of August.
Each message is presented in nine different languages in colorful biz card sized images. Print to heavy paper or card stock.
Post them around your workplace or home. Stash them where they might surprise you later. Share them with friends and colleagues.
PS – While you’re doing that, I’ll be stretching my language skills in a one week French immersion program. I’ll either come out the other end more fluent, or with a broken brain! Stay tuned!
Readers Write: Andrea A. writes: I have your pause sticker on the front of my computer, and it reminds me, periodically, to slow down and take a breath, even if I’m not feeling overwhelmed at the moment.
I take a few minutes in the morning to reflect on how I want to spend my day. I take another few minutes at the end of the day to see where the time went and to jot down a few notes for the next day. It not only saves time in the long run, but also gives me a sense of control. I’m much more aware now of what I can control (me and my attitude), and what I can’t (pretty much everything else in my life).
I’m far less defensive when others, either within my workplace or outside it, claim that they’re too busy to take breaks during the day. This is always said, with a note of superiority, as if their time is too valuable, or their work is too important, for them to pause for even a few minutes. I know what works for me, and I know that my brain works much better if it gets to take a break.
Editor’s Footnote: Since it received such a positive response last year, once again during the months of July and August, your weekly Pause will feature nine messages from the ‘Best Of Pause’. These are readers’ favorite messages from the earliest years of the Pause e-zine.
Featuring these Pause Gems will give me a bit of a breather to regroup, research, and develop some great new material. It will also introduce our more recent subscribers to some of those early ideas. The art from the Pauseworks Studio will continue to include all new images each week.
Whether you are a long time subscriber, or new to the list, I sincerely hope you enjoy these gems. Have a wonderful summer. I’ll be back again in September with your regular Pause format featuring all new info and resources.