Pause Blog On Overload, Overwhelm & Life In General

PAUSE – 14.27 – Is Speed Truly The Holy Grail Of Happiness?

Kapasiwin Kabin border-wReflection: We’ve become far too accustomed to stuffing our days from end to end with task after task, trying to accomplish as much as possible as quickly as possible.

We latch on to shortcuts as if they might lead us to the holy grail of happiness. We grab fast food and we leave quick notes. We ask quick questions. We share quick hugs, and we send quick texts.

We literally cut ourselves and each other to the quick as we speed off to…what? What, exactly, are we trying to make of our lives? Where are we headed at such a breakneck pace? And what do we end up experiencing along the way?

Consider for just a moment, what might happen if every once in a while you: Read More…

Posted under Appreciation, Life Balance, Overload & Overwhelm, Pause E-zines, Wellness

PAUSE – 14.26 – How Do YOU Cultivate Contentment?

Tea & TunesReflection: Here it is the beginning of September, and I see Summer waving goodbye in the rearview mirror. I’m surprised at what seems like an early departure.

Despite the luxury of time that is July and August, there are so many things I didn’t accomplish. I didn’t go golfing or biking. In fact, the clubs and the bike are still hanging on the wall in the garage. I didn’t attend any events at Saskatoon’s Jazz Festival, Children’s Festival or the Fringe. I didn’t get the carpets cleaned or the fence replaced. And, I didn’t make my way through even half the books I’d hope to read.

I did, however, enjoy my morning walks along the river and lunches on the back deck. I shared some great visits with friends and family, and spent time with family who came here from away. I was tickled to spend several fun filled days with my seven-year-old grandson, Ethan. I sketched and painted and tended the garden.

I helped my Dad total up the grain he’d grown over a lifetime of farming and translated the bushels of wheat, durum and barley into loaves of bread, bowls of spaghetti and bottles of beer. (Amazing totals those!) I worked on the design for a new business offering and arranged for the second printing of my latest book.

Still, in the richness and muchness of life, it’s easy to feel like I haven’t done or been or given … enough. Maybe you feel that way, too! Read More…

Posted under Life Balance, Overload & Overwhelm, Pause E-zines, Wellness

Pause Gem #36 – Can You Be Here Now?

BeHereNow-wReflection & Action: Race to the shower Race to the closet. Race to the coffee pot. Race to the car. Race to work. Race to a meeting. Race to lunch. Race to the dentist. Race back to work. Race to another meeting and then another meeting. Race to the dry cleaner. Race to the supermarket. Race home. Race through dinner. Race youngster number one to soccer practice, youngster number two to a music lesson, and yourself to a community meeting. Race home again. Collapse into bed. Wake up tomorrow and start the race all over again.

Does anything about that race sound familiar? How much of your day do you spend, meeting yourself coming and going?

In the hustle and pressure of daily life, it’s so easy to be anywhere else but present. We find ourselves trapped in regreats about yesterday or filled with anxiety for tomorrow. Yet this place – this moment in time – is really all we have. If we’ve missed it, then it’s gone forever.

The challenge for each one of us is to be here now. Post-race and post-haste, here’s a simple way to settle down and be more present.

Try this: Stand or sit still for just a few seconds. (Yes, you can spare ten seconds. It’s your life after all.)

As you breathe in, draw the word here into your mind. As you breathe out, bring the word now into your mind. Repeat three times.

Pause to check: Are you here now? Take every opportunity to shift your attention from hurry to here.

Read More…

Posted under Appreciation, Life Balance, Overload & Overwhelm, Pause E-zines, Wellness

Pause Gem #33 – Can You Move Things Forward?

Choices R Us-wReflection & Action: Many of my mornings begin with a walk along the beautiful South Saskatchewan River valley, just two blocks from home. My route winds past a giant boulder on the bank. It’s the perfect perch for a moment’s rest and meditation.

I recently headed out on my morning stroll, anticipating a peaceful journey. As I turned the corner and headed to the river, I discovered that some aspiring street artist had selected our fence as a perfect canvas. We’d been tagged and I was furious! Now I needed that walk more than ever.

I arrived at the river—still smoldering over the graffiti—only to make a second discovery. “My” rock had also been hit by a crew of performance artists. Broken beer bottles were their media of choice. So much for the peace of the morning. Now I was really ticked off! The nerve! The disrespect!

After two days of intermittent fuming, it finally occurred to me that I could choose another response. Read More…

Posted under Life Balance, Overload & Overwhelm, Pause E-zines, Wellness

This post was written by Pat Katz on August 6, 2014

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Pause Gem #32 – You Can Laugh It Off To Lighten Up

Laughing ColorfulReflection & Action: I chose a poor day to renew my driver’s license. That day, problems with the phone lines made credit and debit card transactions impossible. Customers dug for checks, scrounged for spare change, or dashed down the block to the cash machine.

The cashiers did their best, but progress was slow. A fellow who arrived just moments after I’d entered the queue didn’t appreciate the delay. Like a bull in the paddock, he shifted from foot to foot, snorting and pawing the ground. Jingling the change in his pocket and rustling the papers in his hand did nothing to calm his jangling nerves. Neither the repeated checks of his wristwatch nor the disgusted glares he zinged at the cashiers brought him relief.

A few minutes after his arrival, a newcomer fell in line behind the restless rustler. In the loudest possible voice, the raging bull cautioned her that he hoped she’d brought a book and planned to spend the day because he’d been waiting in line all morning!

In less than five minutes, it was my turn at the counter. I leaned in close to the cashier and told her I hoped she had 911 on her speed dial; I thought our friend, the raging bull, was about to pop an artery. She chuckled and rolled her eyes, clearly relieved to connect with an understanding customer who showed a sense of humor.

Life is full of delays and detours. Read More…

Posted under Appreciation, Life Balance, Overload & Overwhelm, Pause E-zines, Wellness

Pause Gem #31 – Should You Unitask Or Multitask?

UniTasking-wReflection & Action: A business man races through the Denver airport towing his roller board suitcase with one hand – briefcase and coat balanced precariously on top. His ‘free’ hand, held near one ear, grips boarding card and cell phone. Deep in phone conversation and all but oblivious to his surroundings, he steps onto an ‘up’ escalator that, instead of taking him down one floor, dumps him back where he started.

The mind-racing, self professed ‘Efficiency Queen’ confesses to blurting out this phrase in the heat of an intimate moment with her husband: “Man, those bagels are sure going to taste good in the morning!”

A frenzied mother tells her teenage daughter to take her dinner plate to the counter and eat standing up so that the girl can empty the dishwasher and finish dinner at the same time.

Three real people. Three real events. All three actions share one belief – that it’s a waste of time to do only one thing at once. Multitasking rules!

There are times when multitasking does make sense. There are times when it does not. Read More…

Posted under Life Balance, Overload & Overwhelm, Pause E-zines, Technology, Travel, Wellness

Pause Gem #29 – The Gift Of Stopping

Stop Light-wReflection & Action: If you drive, you will be very familiar with red lights and stop signs. It’s a sign of our preoccupation with getting places fast, that those lights and signs often seem to be working against us and in favor of the opposing traffic.

When you are out on the highway, you are sure to find yourself stuck behind a slow moving vehicle of one sort or another. Slow, of course, is a relative concept. When you are in a rush, slow may mean that the unit ahead is ‘just’ driving the speed limit.

With more multi lane highways and passing lanes, slower moving traffic is less of a problem than it was during the days of single lane highways and Air Stream trailer convoys. Still, for most of us, patience is not a strong point in our high-speed non-stop world.

It doesn’t have to be that way. Read More…

Posted under Appreciation, Life Balance, Overload & Overwhelm, Pause E-zines, Travel, Wellness

Pause Gem #28 – Are You Sporting Badges Of Honour?

Editor’s Note: During the months of July and August, your weekly Pause Blog posts will feature the ‘Best of Pause’. These are readers’ favorite messages from the earlier years of the Pause e-zine. Featuring these Pause Gems will give me a bit of a breather, and also introduce our newer subscribers to some of those early editions.

Whether you are a long time subscriber, or new to our list, I sincerely hope you enjoy these messages. Come September, your Pause messages will once again feature all new info and resources.

PS – The Summer Reading Bookshelf shares the titles of some of the books I’ll be dipping into over the next couple of months.

 

BadgesOfHonourReflection & Action: From time to time, I have worked with colleagues who sparred for brownie points by quizzing each other about issues like these: How late did your meeting run last night? How many weekends will you be on the road? How many holidays are you carrying over? How many miles have you clocked on the company car? What’s the points total on your frequent flyer plan? How many emails stacked up while you were on vacation?

More recently, I listened to a panel of work-life balance experts talk about their successes and failures in balancing their own busy lives. They admitted they were challenged to live up to the goals they set for themselves. That’s true for all of us. Still, something in the tone of their responses seemed to suggest that it was okay for their lives to be out of whack because they were doing such important work.

It took me back to other conversations where professional or personal success were measured in terms of load, distance, sacrifice, and ‘face time’. The scale paid little attention to results and none at all to balance.

Eavesdrop on the tone of your own conversations with friends and colleagues when you talk about work-life balance. Read More…

Posted under Life Balance, Overload & Overwhelm, Pause E-zines

PAUSE – 14.25 – Renewal On The Go

Bright Boxes-wReflection: It can be tempting (especially if you like things neat and tidy) to compartmentalize life, assigning each role its own box and time slot. Work is work. Vacation is vacation. Play is…well, hard to come by.

In today’s world, it’s next to impossible to contain life this way. It’s far more likely that we will be able to make time for more of the things we care about if we allow them to rub shoulders with each other – overlapping in the natural messiness and flow of life.

On this morning’s walk (which is, by the way, when I get some of my best ideas for Pause messages) I was thinking back to some of the combos that have danced their way through my life.

When our girls played outdoor soccer, I used to alternate visiting in my lawn chair on the sidelines with walking around the perimeter of the field while the game played on. Exercising, socializing, and supporting my daughters in one fell swoop.

For several summers, the girls took swimming lessons at an outdoor pool. While they swam, I caught up on my business reading while catching a few rays myself.

Over the years, I’ve invited my mom and my daughters to accompany me on business road trips. One on one chat time is precious; and it sure beats hearing the same tired radio newscast over and over again. Now that I have a grandson in Calgary, I try to route travel to or from my Alberta speaking engagements through that city to catch time with the little guy.

These days, my paints and sketchbook travel with me. Sketching makes time on the road more enjoyable and flight delays more bearable. Even though life may be busy with work, I still have time for art.

 

Action: There are times to turn off the biz world, and be only with family. There are times to be single mindedly focused on business while letting other roles cool their hoofies on the sidelines. And, there are times to encourage the bits and pieces of our lives to mix and mingle.

Look for ways to create a few more renewal combos in your world. In the face of the daily grind: add experiences that lift your spirits, mix in activities that renew your energy, and take actions that strengthen your relationships.

Read More…

Posted under Appreciation, Life Balance, Life in General, Overload & Overwhelm, Pause E-zines, Wellness

PAUSE – 14.24 – Tune Out To Tune In

Reflection: I’ve been thinking recently that I wouldn’t mind being listless for a while. I don’t mean in the traditional sense of the word: lethargic, apathetic, or weary. Nor do I mean without a list of things to do – although that would be welcome on occasion.

What I’m actually referring to is the proliferation of lists that circulate on social media and grace the covers of books and magazines everywhere. Here are a few recent examples:

  • 14 Things You Should Do On Your Lunch Break Every Day
  • 17 Things Extremely Happy People Say Every Day
  • 18 Things Highly Creative People Do Differently
  • 22 Quick Habits to Add To Your Daily Morning Routine
  • 30 Things To Start Doing For Yourself – or its sister list: 30 Things To Stop Doing To Yourself

Add ‘em up. I’m exhausted just thinking about it.

I know these lists are published with the best of intentions – mostly to energize or inspire. And I grant you there is valuable advice in many of them. Heck, I’ve even created a few of these types of lists myself.

But here’s my challenge. When I spend too much time paying attention to these lists, I find myself in Tower of Pisa mode – tilted and off balance. I feel less effective and more inadequate because I’m not doing more or behaving differently.

You, too, might find yourself listing just a tad under the weight of what the advice aggregators believe we could or should be doing.

 

Action: With all these voices whispering instructions in your ear and putting ideas in your head, it’s hard to hear the one still quite voice that counts the most. That would be your own. Read More…

Posted under Life Balance, Life in General, Miscellaneous, Overload & Overwhelm, Pause E-zines, Wellness