Pause Blog On Overload, Overwhelm & Life In General

PAUSE – 15.32 – Let Life Flow When You Don’t Quite Know

Begin end in MindReflection: One of the most frequently referenced sources of advice about how to live your life is Stephen Covey’s book, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. ‘Start with the end in mind’ is one of those habits.

It’s a laser-beamed and focused approach that’s not without its challenges. Most notably you have to come up with the ‘end’ – the big idea or the grand life purpose – depending on the scale you’re working on. And, you risk overlooking opportunities of iinterest that lie closer at hand.

There’s another approach we could take as well – that of simply being more aware of our current state and the call or appeal of the opportunities that sit directly in front of us.

Those choices are echoed in author Stephen King’s observation that there are two ways to write a book. You either start with your outcome in mind and write in that direction, or you come up with a situation that has tension and see where your imagination takes you. You let the characters respond and the plot unfold. Read More…

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

PAUSE – 15.30 – Your Contributions Truly Make A Difference

Mas St Antoine-Courtyard-1-wReflection: I’ve long been a fan of Daniel Pink’s work on motivation (and have occasionally featured his ideas in previous Pause messages). So, it was a great thrill for me to meet him and hear him speak when I served as MC for last week’s Saskatchewan Human Resource Association Conference.

It’s not often that you hear an author tell you to skip a chapter in his previous book, because his thinking has changed. But, tell us he did!

If you’re not familiar with Pink’s model of motivation, here’s a recap.

Pink believes that we are intrinsically motivated (from the inside out) by three things:

  • Purpose (participating in something meaningful and larger than ourselves)
  • Autonomy (being in charge of our choices)
  • Mastery (desire to get better at something that matters)

What has he changed his mind about? Read More…

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

PAUSE – 15.29 – Give Thanks And Get Relief

Gratitude Rocks Poster-w

 

My Thoughts:

A recent weekend was chuck full of responsibilities, errands, duties, tasks, tidying, scrubbing, chores, jobs and more jobs. You name it, we did it! With a full life of your own, I’m sure you know what I mean.

It would have been easy to spend those hours in a state of irritation. I’ve done that in the past.

However, this time around, I decided to switch it up. I held this idea in mind instead: I’m grateful that I have a home to clean, a garden to maintain, and the strength to do both.

Same number of hours – totally different experience! Read More…

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

PAUSE – 15.27 – Let The Fall Lift You Up

Change of Season-w

My Thoughts:

Nothing marks the passage of time more dramatically than the changing of the seasons. Here on the Canadian prairies, the days are growing shorter, the temperatures are dropping, and the colors are changing.

Why not let the shifting of the season be a catalyst for other changes in your world?

 

Your Thoughts:

Are there relationships or organizations that have faded in importance and no longer mean as much to you?

Are there tasks that were once a delight that now feel like heavy obligations?

Are there new pursuits calling for your attention – urging you to make time and space for them?

This could be the perfect season to let go of something you’ve outgrown while reaching out for something new. Where could you make changes for the better? How could you let fall lift you up? Read More…

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

PAUSE – 15.26 – Short Circuit Second Hand Stress

Stress-wReflection: Members of a public service group once described to me the impact one of their leaders had on the entire team. This leader was highly unpredictable. One day he would arrive at work – all smiles and sunshine. The next day he would barge through the door with a heart of darkness – tossing glares, mean words and criticisms left and right as he made his way down the hall to his office.

Net result? Members of the team kept their heads down (literally cowering at their desks) until the boss arrived, and they knew which way the wind would blow that day.

I was reminded of this experience when I read Achor and Gielan’s article on Secondhand Stress in Harvard Business Review.

They describe how our brains are wired for emotional contagion. The up side is that this makes us empathetic towards others. However, there is a shadow side. We end up absorbing negative emotions, stress and uncertainty just like second hand smoke.

Being in the presence of someone who is highly stressed and stressful has a negative impact on our own nervous systems. We start pumping high levels of cortisol through our bodies just by virtue of being a bystander to someone else’s stress.

You might have noticed this phenomenon yourself. The challenge is how to deal with it.

 

Action: Here are three ways to inoculate yourself against second hand stress. Read More…

Posted under Life Balance, Overload & Overwhelm, Wellness

This post was written by Pat Katz on September 16, 2015

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PAUSE – 15.24 – And Now For Something Completely Different

Wash Stand-wReflection: Last week was busy for me. Maybe it was for you, too.

I worked on the design for upcoming September presentations, met with clients to share info on programs, provided impromptu daycare for my 8 year old grandson, scanned and posted more of my sketches from Europe, and so it went.

There was progress on several fronts, and I loved it all. Still, by the end of the week, my brain was weary and my body was tired from too much time spent in front of the computer.

I found myself casting around for a weekend activity that would meet this criteria: ‘And now for something completely different…’ (Thank you Month Python.)

I found the answer hiding in my garage in the form of an old washstand that I inherited as a treasure from the farm. It was coated with varnish discolored over time. About a year ago I bought supplies to refinish and refurbish.

And that was how I came to spend three hours on Saturday morning laboring away in the garage where the airflow could blow away the fumes. Read More…

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

This post was written by Pat Katz on September 2, 2015

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PAUSE – 15.22 – What If? Life Lessons From The Road

Nyhavn-w

 

Reflection: After a vacation, I like to take a bit of time to reflect on the experience.

There’s an element of savoring involved – remembering people and places, incidents and moments.

And, for me, any kind of noticing usually triggers lessons as well.

As I thought about this summer’s travel experiences, it occurred to me that there are some lessons that might be applied to everyday life.

I’m sharing them here in the hope they might be helpful for you, too.

 

 

Action: When I’m traveling, it seems so much easier to dress for the day. Choices are limited to what fits in one suitcase. What if we simplified those decisions everyday by streamlining our wardrobes at home?

The touring days that are most satisfying are those where we narrow the focus to one or two places or experiences rather than trying to jam too much into a short period of time. What if we narrowed our everyday focus to a couple of high priority items and stopped trying to do it all at once?

Some of the most ease-filled moments on vacation occur when we give ourselves time and space to put up our feet and take a break. Whether it’s catching a nap, dipping into a book, or jotting a few notes in the travel journal, there’s something to be said for retreating and regrouping. What if we made a regular habit of stepping away from the press of everyday activity to refresh our energy and reflect on our experience? Read More…

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

This post was written by Pat Katz on August 19, 2015

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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