At this time of the year many of us will be taking some time off - even if it’s just the double bank holiday (in the UK at least). Some people love taking an extended break from work whereas others like it to begin with and then get itchy fingers to do ‘just a few emails’ 🙋
Personally, taking time out, or pausing, no matter how short or long, has always been important to me. It’s a time when I can be quiet and let my brain come up with weird and wonderful solutions to problems. Not all of them are practical, but the process of thinking through potential solutions seems to always bring up something that can be done, even if it’s only the first step.
While I’m a big believer in pausing, I realise it’s not a concept that’s popular with everyone I meet or work with. I get that. There’s always a lot of stuff going on, decisions to be made, competing demands on time and resources and, and, and…..
Instead of detracting from this, I think taking a pause can actually help. It can bring clarity to problems and what your real priorities are. Pausing can allow new ideas and concepts to come to mind and be thought through, or discarded. A pause means you can focus on the single most important thing/decision/goal at that moment - you can give it all of your attention without thinking about five other things at the same time. It can also mean you do less u-turns on decisions - which can be costly in terms of time and money as well as causing unnecessary frustration for your people.
And when I say ‘pause’ I don’t mean days or weeks, although now and again that may be useful or even necessary. Pauses can be for just a few minutes. It breaks the rote processes and enables you to focus, whether that’s on something like an operational decision or to give clear direction in the moment to your team.
Pausing, for however long, can help you achieve the following:
Focus on the most important thing in that moment
Clarity on what it is you want to achieve, or solution to deliver
Clearer messaging to your teams leading to increased engagement
So if pausing hasn’t been your thing then maybe give it a go. Who knows, it might just work….think about it 🤔