Pause Blog On Overload, Overwhelm & Life In General

PAUSE – 15.20 – A Little Distance Makes A Big Difference

Reflection: What do you see when you look around? Burdens and responsibilities or delights and opportunities? And how much of a difference might it make if you could put a little distance between yourself and those everyday demands?

Vacations and time out matter. Not only for the richness of adventure and creation of new memories, but also for the perspective that comes with distance. Re-entry, after a time away, brings with it the opportunity to appreciate everyday life anew.

In our recent weeks of adventuring, we discovered that the Hermitage in St Petersburg holds some amazing artistic treasures. The fields of lavender and sunflowers in Provence are every bit as compelling in person as they are in pictures. The sounds of Paris are like nowhere else in the world – with the wha-wha of police sirens overlaying the bells of Notre Dame.

And now that we’re back, we’re finding that our time away changes our experience of being here. Read More…

Posted under Appreciation, Life Balance, Life in General, Pause E-zines, Travel

PAUSE – 15.19 – Take Advantage Of Those Everyday Opportunities For Joy

Thimble Bucket Joy-w
My Thoughts:

Much energy is given to contemplating the idea of a bucket list – the aspirations we have for those once-in-a-lifetime experiences (like sky-diving, canoeing the Amazon, or visiting the pyramids).

There’s nothing wrong with thinking and dreaming big. The challenge is that so much of our everyday life plays out on a much smaller scale.

Because of this, Jennifer Louden recommends writing yourself a Thimble List. That’s a list of tiny thrills and joys that you want to experience often – things like:

  • surprising a client with an unexpected kindness
  • savoring a bowl of juicy strawberries
  • sharing laughs and adventures with a two year old
  • reading a great novel while stretched out in the shade

Ticking items off the bucket list is great; and engaging in small pleasures can be every bit as satisfying.


Your Thoughts:

Pause for a few minutes this week with pen and paper in hand.

Start your very own Thimble List. Post it somewhere to prompt you to take advantage of those everyday opportunities for joy.


News Notes:

Travel Plans – Most years, my husband and I usually plan our travel adventures for ‘off season’. This year, we’re trying something different and adventuring across the pond to experience the height of summer in points European. While we travel, I’ll be taking a month-long hiatus from creating these messages. Look for your next Pause ezine in your mailbox on July 22.

Malaise News – Thanks to all who offered their opinions on possible titles for programs on the topic of malaise. These phrases were amongst the top runners:

  • From Bored to Restored
  • Engagement Is An Inside Job
  • Spark A New Journey
  • Moving Through & Moving On
  • From Tired To Inspired
  • From Deflated to Elated

Although I haven’t yet settled on the final title, your feedback was very helpful in sorting the list and advancing the cause. Much appreciated!

Posted under Appreciation, Life Balance, Life in General, Pause Poster Message, Wellness

This post was written by Pat Katz on June 10, 2015

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PAUSE – 15.17 – Likely More Weary Than Lazy

not lazy bouchard-w

My Thoughts:

This is such a compassionate message. So often, I talk with people who do and have been doing such great things.

Yet they often say they are falling short of their ideal performance and not living up to their own expectations – much less the expectations of others.

Could it be, as Burchard suggests, sometimes we are simply tired? Worn out from pushing and pressing so hard for so long?

Or perhaps we’ve grown weary from going through the motions of life’s old familiar routines, and are just a tad too worn down to even consider something new? Read More…

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

PAUSE – 15.16 – Are You Tending To The Tugs?

Vic Harbor Boat-wReflection: Seaports are fascinating places.

What I most enjoy watching are the tiny but powerful tug boats as they guide the larger Mother Ships in from and out to the sea.

Tugs are built for action not for show – rarely shiny nor streamlined in shape or finish. But despite their lack of polish, the port would be a mess without them. They’re essential in moments of transition.

Watch them at work and you’ll see they apply pressure in different ways. Some nose in at a right angle to the ship and nudge from the side. Some work in tandem from both sides at once.

Some tugs latch on up front and tow the ship in the desired direction. Some push from the rear – adding power from behind to guide the ship through the water.

Tugs help ships avoid collisions, come safely to mooring, navigate through tricky channels, and head confidently out to the open sea.


Action: As we navigate the murky waters of our everyday lives, we too rely on tugs. They may not be as visible as those in port, but they are present nonetheless. Read More…

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

PAUSE – 15.15 – Choose Today For A Better Tomorrow

Do something today -w


My Thoughts: 

It is far too easy to get caught up in the daily grind of responsibilities giving very little thought to how today’s choices affect tomorrow’s experience.

But impact the future, they do – one choice at a time. Minimize future resentment and regret by making at least one choice each day that honors your health, your relationships or your aspirations.


Your Thoughts:

  • What’s one action that will create a healthier you? Think movement, nourishment, or rest.
  • What’s one action that will enhance an important relationship you hope to enjoy well into the future? Think presence, connection, or appreciation.
  • What’s one action that will move you in the direction of your aspirations? Think experimenting, learning, or adventure.

Read More…

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

Survey On Malaise

Asleep at The Wheel-wI know this invitation was included at the end of last week’s Pause blog post, but in case you might have missed it I want to make special mention of it in a separate post.

I’ve been doing some R & D  work on a particular aspect of engagement in work and life – the concept of malaise.

We’re all pretty familiar with stress and burnout – that dramatic stretched-to-the-limits, crash and burn phenomenon. Malaise is different.

Malaise is more like rusting out, feeling stale, bored, lethargic, restless, joyless or adrift – suffering the dis-ease of being under-challenged or feeling under-engaged. It can be every bit as challenging as burnout.

My interest was triggered by what I have been noticing in some individuals as they reach the latter part of their careers. Although I don’t think malaise is restricted to that stage of life, it does seem to be more prevalent there.

I’m interested in learning how we might avoid long stretches of malaise and move more quickly to light a spark and find a path through to a more joyful and enthusiastic experience of life and work.

To that end, I’ve done a number of interviews on this issue, and just last week I released a survey to start gathering more input.

Here is the link to the survey:   I would be delighted if you could take five to ten minutes to respond to the survey.

I’ll be collecting replies up until the end of April. if there are other people in your circle whom you think may have an interest in sharing their thoughts on the issue of malaise, please share the access link as freely as you wish.

Although I haven’t reviewed all the 300 responses submitted so far, some of the early comments are showing that people are finding the questions intriguing and very helpful in guiding them to think about their own experiences with malaise in their lives and organizations.

I’ll keep in touch, and share more on this subject as my work unfolds.

Posted under Life Balance, Life in General, Wellness

This post was written by Pat Katz on April 21, 2015

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PAUSE – 15.11- Can You See It Now?



My Thoughts:

Kazantzakis suggests we already have at hand what we need to create a more ideal future.

Could it be that our own lack of vision or lack of action are all that may be holding us back?


Your Thoughts:

What’s your vision of Paradise? What’s already at hand that could move you in that direction?

What’s your next step? And, when will you take it?


News Notes:

Uninspired. Unsettled. Uneasy. Lifeless. Restless. Joyless. Stuck. Have you been there?

I’m talking about malaise – that generalized feeling of being ‘out of sorts’. It grinds away and wears us down, robbing our lives of spirit, energy and joy.

As I mentioned in last week’s Pause, I’m doing some writing and programming on the subject of malaise.

Experience tells me that the more deeply I understand a phenomenon, the stronger my work, and the more helpful it will be to others.

To that end, I’m inviting you to weigh in with your thoughts and experiences. This link will take you to an online Survey on Malaise that will take 5-10 minutes to complete.

I’m most grateful for your help. A thousand thanks for sharing your insights and wisdom.

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

PAUSE – 15.10 – How Do You Know What’s Right For You?

Goldilocks 3 bears-wReflection: I expect you’re familiar with the story of Goldilocks.

You’ll recall Goldilocks entered the house of the three bears and set about finding what was right for her. Porridge: too hot, too cold, or just right. Chair: too big, too small, or just right. Bed: too hard, too soft, or just right.

Goldilocks’ search for the right fit makes her an interesting role model for balance (break and enter aside).

We’re all familiar with the ’too hot, too big, too hard’ side of this equation. That’s the world of overload and burnout where we find ourselves on fire, racing at top speed, flat out, overcommitted and overwhelmed.

We may be highly engaged, but we’re just as likely to be exhausted. Things are just not right. This overextended phenomenon of ‘too-much-ness’ gets a lot of attention.

From time to time, many of us also experience the ‘too cold, too small, too soft’ scenario. This is where we’ve outgrown one or more elements of our lives and our everyday patterns no longer fit as well as they once did.

We may feel restless, pinched, diminished, bored, joyless or adrift, suffering the dis-ease of finding ourselves under-challenged or under-engaged. Things are just not right. This malaise phenomenon gets much less attention even though it, too, causes distress.


Action: I’ve experienced malaise myself, more than once in my life. At those points, it’s not that things are all wrong, it’s more like they’re not all right any more.

It was a recent round of malaise that first pointed me in the direction of painting – as a way to light a spark in the areas of learning and creative expression. And, boy did it ever do that for me!

Rest easy! I’m not advocating painting as a panacea for everyone. But, I can suggest an approach that might help you find your way to a better place – or help you guide others who may find themselves stuck. Read More…

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

PAUSE – 15.09 – Create New Ways To Carry On

Pick Yourself Up Orange-w


My Thoughts:

I love this image, because it’s so unexpected – just like many of life’s events that trip us up and bring us to our knees.

And, I love this image, because it’s so creative – just like some of the best reactions to challenging situations.


Your Thoughts:

How about bringing a little extra-orang-inary thinking to your world this week?

What’s been tripping you up lately?

And, what creative responses might help you pick yourself up and carry on?


News Notes:

The warmest of thanks to all of you who took part in the Pause Subscriber Challenge. I so appreciate your taking time to extend a special subscription invitation to your friends and colleagues.

From last year’s Pause readership survey, I learned that – next to having heard me speak at a conference or seminar – the most frequent way that people come to join our jolly band of readers is through an invitation and recommendation from a family member, friend, or colleague.

That’s the power of ‘word of mouth’. So thanks for valuing and speaking kindly of my work. Do keep forwarding the messages that resonate most to others who may appreciate them, too.

As promised, I’ve drawn a name from the list of those of you who let me know you invited others to subscribe in these last two weeks of March. A bundle of Pause goodies will soon be on its way to Tara Zrymiak, an engineer with SNC-Lavalin Inc.


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

PAUSE – 15.08 – Could You Use More Breathing Space?

Broadway Roastery

Broadway Roastery

Reflection: It never seems to go away. This idea that our lives are so much better when we jam twice as many tasks into every minute and hour of the day.

Just last week, an article in the Globe and Mail proposed saving up to 20 hours a week by doubletasking instead of multitasking. Isn’t double is just a subset of multi?

The suggestions in the article? Catch up on email or social media while you watch TV or a movie. Study while you shave or shower. Listen to a podcast or watch a video while you exercise.

I must admit I’ve experimented with these combos myself. Just last month I took myself and a podcast for a walk along the river. I soon discovered that as soon as I tuned in the audio, I tuned out myself, nature, and the world around me. Instead of returning from the walk refreshed and relaxed, I had simply gone through the motions while someone else’s words rolled through my brain. The net result: a distracted splintered experience.

Here’s what we miss when we take this doubleheader multitasking approach. Breathing space, for one. Connection, for two. Creativity, for three.

One of the reasons we have original thoughts in the shower, for instance, is precisely because we’re not driving the ‘must think up something new’ bus while we’re cleaning up. We just engage in one task, the mind wanders at will, and surprises us – or rewards us – with original thought! That’s something that can’t be forced, but can be encouraged when we leave space for it in our lives.


Action: Yes, there are times when we can do more than two things at the same time. But let’s resist giving ourselves or others carte blanche to cram an unlimited number of activities into our already crowded days.

Be vigilant and thoughtful about your choice of combos, And know for sure that breathing space is a legitimate partner for many of your actions. Read More…

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