Pause Blog On Overload, Overwhelm & Life In General

PAUSE – 14.17 – Tune In Not Out

Focus road sign with dramatic blue sky and clouds.Reflection: Have you ever chatted with a companion whose eyes continually dart over your shoulder scanning the scene behind you?

You may have no idea what you are missing in the space behind you; but you know exactly what you’re missing in front of you. What’s absent is your companion’s full attention. It’s unnerving and disengaging.

Tracking background movement is not life’s only distraction. Mental preoccupation dilutes attention. So do computer screens, smart phones, televisions, and more.

Rapport suffers when one or both parties to a conversation are more absent than present. And a lack of attention from someone who is central to your life (boss, key colleague, mate or partner) can be especially problematic.

Participants in some of the sessions I facilitate tell me how powerful it can be when they set their multitasking habits aside and turn their full focus to the individual and issue at hand. Amazing things happen. Other people settle down, open up, and share what’s on their minds. People blossom under the warmth of their attention. Relationships flourish.


Action: Here’s what you can do to create a more conducive environment for some of the important conversations in your life. Read More…

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

This post was written by Pat Katz on April 30, 2014

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PAUSE – 14.15 – Are You Dazed? Try A Doze!

napping-wReflection: When a busy toddler grows weary, he or she simply lies down and falls sleep. Doesn’t matter where. Doesn’t matter when.

When an elderly person grows weary, he or she simply nods off in the middle of a visit or the middle of a sentence. Doesn’t matter where. Doesn’t matter when.

As for the rest of us somewhere between toddlering and doddering, when we grow weary, we shake the cobwebs from our heads, grab another cuppa java, and will ourselves to wakefulness.

We power on. We don’t power down. Pressing …pressing …and rarely pausing. Because, after all there are important places to go, people to see, and things to do.

Sadly, this ends up working against us instead of for us. While we may be nominally awake and at work – it is with diminishing capacity and diminishing returns! That’s why, in a wearied state, so many things feel tougher and take longer. We’re neither fresh nor focused.

Now I’m not suggesting nodding off in a middle of a business meeting would be a good thing. However, I am suggesting that ignoring the body when it calls for rest can be a bad thing.

A study at NASA on sleepy military pilots and astronauts found that a nap improved performance by 34% and alertness by 100%. Although you and I may not be flying jets or spacecraft, how much more effective might we be if our performance and alertness improved that much because we took a rest when we needed one?


Action: What to do? Read More…

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

PAUSE – 14.14 – Are You Using The Three S’s of Appreciation?

Three S-wReflection: I so appreciate the fact that spring on the prairies is finally putting in an appearance. It seems that the month of April offers no shortage of opportunities to appreciate a variety of things and people.

This very week in Canada (April 6-12) is National Volunteer Appreciation week. A quick glance at an online calendar of special days reveals that’s not the only special day on this month’s agenda.

April also brings you National Siblings Day (10th), National Librarian Day (16th), Volunteer Recognition Day (20th), and Administrative Professional Day (23rd). You’ll find a host of whacky days on the calendar, too. Feel free to celebrate jelly beans, scrabble, and rubber erasers to name just a few!

In today’s everyday busyness, it’s easy to think that celebration and recognition are not that important – that appreciation is just icing on the cake. However, that’s just not true.

Many employee surveys show that a lack of recognition, appreciation and acknowledgement are a major workplace issue and a significant source of disengagement. It’s such a shame, because it’s such an easy challenge to address.


Action: What to do? Focus on small daily appreciative actions like these. Read More…

Posted under Appreciation, Life Balance, Pause E-zines, Wellness

PAUSE – 14.13 – Had Any Epiphanies Lately?

New Directions-wReflection: Epiphany:  A moment when you suddenly see or understand something in a new or very clear way.

Ariana Huffington had an epiphany. She fell asleep at work, hit her head on the edge of her desk, sliced open her cheek, and came to in a pool of blood. One hospital trip and several stitches later, she set about changing her habits and adopting a saner, healthier way of being in this world.

Some years ago, I had an epiphany of my own. As a young Mom, I left the house on a deep freeze of a winter morning. Burdened by tote bag, gym bag, child’s backpack, briefcase, and clamping a wriggling snow-suited toddler in my arms, I tried in vain to lock a reluctant front door.

In the end, the entire load, including screaming daughter and me dropped to the step. Freezing tears streamed down our faces. In that moment of overwhelm, I knew there had to be a better way, and set about discovering what that might be.

Fictional news anchor Howard Beale had an epiphany. In the movie Network, he punctuates his on-air rant about the state of the world by declaring, “I‘m mad as hell, and I’m not going to take this anymore.”

Maybe you’ve had an epiphany or two of your own. Or maybe you’re working up to one at this very moment.

Epiphanies are rarely unheralded. If we pay close attention as life unfolds, we might notice the small occurrences that signal a need for change. But, heh, we’re busy, we’re preoccupied, and we’re on a roll! We get in a groove and it morphs into a rut that’s not apparent till it trips us up and down we go.


Action: The challenge is to tune into our ‘epiphanettes’ – those small wake up calls that surface day to day. Read More…

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

Pause Reader Reactions To ‘Where Is Everybody? Where Are You?’

Quill pen-wSome messages seem to touch more of a nerve than others. Many ezine and blog readers responded to the recent Pause message about disconnecting from technology and reconnecting with humanity.

In case you missed it or might like to refresh yourself on the content, here is the link to the original message: Where Is Everybody? Where Are You?

Here’s what Pause readers had to say about their own experiences with this issue:


LL writes: I started to leave my phone upstairs when I go to bed at night. I used to use it as an alarm clock but not anymore. I just felt like this was starting to be a heavy bedroom partner and got rid of it! My husband is now my alarm clock!


LC writes: I know what you mean!  It’s not just the young people anymore either.  Yikes – I think we are caught up in the hype and the allure of technology.  The most likely response is that the makers of the devices will ensure they can be smaller so people can’t see when you’re on them. It’s going to be a long time before this pendulum swings back the other way I fear.


Read More…

Posted under Life Balance, Overload & Overwhelm, Technology, Wellness

PAUSE – 14.12 – Where Is Everybody? Where Are You?

Stack of smart phones

Stack of smart phones

Reflection: I’m worried about us. Not in a global warming, political upheaval, where is the world headed kind of way. But rather in a very specific ‘why don’t we choose to be more present’ sort of way.

While facilitating recent seminars, I’ve noted – and not for the first time – that as soon as there is a pause in the program the majority of people seem compelled to plug their phones into the gap.

Like the fictional Dutch boy who stuck his finger in the dike, today’s smartphones serve as the first line of defense against potential threats like these: a moment of down time, the possibility of original thought, and the risk of actually connecting with a live person positioned within arm’s reach.

While answering email, returning texts, scanning Facebook, and checking news feeds may give the illusion of connectedness, I propose that the opposite may also be true.

Instead of enhancing connection, this habitual behavior insulates us from the moment at hand, distances us from creative thought, and diminishes the likelihood of meaningful live conversation.

Our ‘reach for the phone’ knee-jerk habits actually keep us reacting and retorting and stop us from reflecting and relating.


Action: Here’s a challenge for today  - and for tomorrow, too. Read More…

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

PAUSE – 14.11 – Put A Little Spring In Your Step

Stairway Through Paradise-72Reflection: I’m an inveterate reader – always on the lookout for new ideas or unique expressions of old ideas stated in fresh engaging ways.

Today I flipped through my collection of recent blog posts and articles by other writers who focus on the importance of stepping back and taking time out.

I’ve picked three articles to share with you. You’ll find them in the Resources Of The Week section of this posting.

Think of it as my ‘Welcome to Spring and Fresh Ways of Doing Things’ gift.


Action: The articles are all great. But here’s my anti-overwhelm suggestion. Read More…

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

PAUSE – 14.10 – A Little Can Mean A Lot

Van Gogh Seascap-wReflection: In painting, there’s a guiding principle loosely referred to as “A lot of this and a little of that.”

The concept in the art world is that all one thing can be boring, and that even equal measures of two separate elements may not be that engaging. To create a work of art with a more satisfying sensibility you need a ratio of elements that is often less than equal.

For example, a great work of art may feature:  a lot of warm color and a little bit of cool, a lot of light values and a little bit of dark, a lot of sharp edges and a little bit of softness.

Here’s how the principle could be applied outside the world of art to create a more satisfying balance in our everyday lives:

  • If you find yourself swamped by a whole lot of work, even adding a little bit of play can shift the experience in a more satisfying direction.
  • If your diet has you filling up on a ton of veggies, even adding an ounce of chocolate can sweeten the scene.
  • If you’re heavily involved in other-care (whether children or elders) planning a personal ‘just for you’ adventure could improve your outlook.
  • If you find yourself wholly office bound (suffering from filing cabinet fever), a coffee elsewhere with a client or colleague could lift your spirits just a little.


Action: What are you experiencing a lot of in your world these days? Read More…

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

PAUSE – 14.09 – Umbrage – Take It Or Leave It!

72dpi-scowling manReflection: Why this? Why me? Why now?

Do you ever find yourself reacting this way when things go sideways in your world?

It’s no surprise that stuff happens. You know it. I know it. We all know it.

Cars don’t start. People don’t finish. The weather blows. You find yourself out of patience, out of milk, or out of time!

Although the universe may be unfolding as it should (or so the Desiderata would have us believe), it’s not always unfolding as we think it should or as we hoped it would.

And so we’re left to deal with our reactions to what can feel like a stealth attack on our expectations.


Action: What to do?

Read More…

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

This post was written by Pat Katz on March 5, 2014

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PAUSE – 14.08 – In Praise of Puttering

Hands Free!

Hands Free!

Reflection: When preparing to deliver a conference presentation or seminar for a group, I’ll often interview a sampling of attendees ahead of time to find out more about their workplace stresses and satisfactions.

In a recent series of interviews for an upcoming conference, I asked about successful strategies for coping with high demand, stressful times. I heard a predictable assortment of suggestions: adopting time savers, planning ahead, taking time out, celebrating successes and having some fun.

However, one unusual response stood out. This particular fellow described his stress reduction strategy as ‘puttering’. He explained that when life and work grow demanding, he narrows his attention and focuses only on the high priority items.

But, after several weeks of that high level focus, he finds he has sidelined a whole pile of lesser tasks. These smaller, less important bits and pieces build up to create a pressure all their own.

At that point, he devotes a day to puttering. No major projects and no big decisions are allowed. Instead, he putters around clearing away the small stuff.

He calls A, repairs B, stores C, answers D, files E, replaces F, cleans up G, and so it goes.

As he moves from one small task to another with ease and a meandering spirit, he fuels a sense of accomplishment and feels a sense of relief. Read More…

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