Pause Blog On Overload, Overwhelm & Life In General

PAUSE – 14.38 – What’s It Take To Feel In Charge?

Pile of Books-wReflection: For several decades now I’ve been a student of productivity, effectiveness, balance and other things related to living ‘the good life’. As you may have noticed, there is no shortage of info on this topic.

Each time I hear about a new book in this area or see a magazine with a related article, I find myself drawn to check it out. I’m always hoping that there might be a new technique, a new idea, a new strategy– an insider secret that would be helpful to me that I could share with you.

At this point in my research I often find myself more disappointed than delighted. New expressions of longstanding ideas is often the best I can find.

And that leads me to consider that what we need may not be more information, but more execution. We need to act on what we already know pays off. And that thought led me to consider, ‘What is it that works?’

 

Action: To boil down 30 years of digging around in this area, here is my shortlist legacy of learnings about leading a productive, balanced and meaningful life. Read More…

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

PAUSE – 14.36 – What Can You Do To Brighten Things Up?

Weeping Willow Cottage

Weeping Willow Cottage

Reflection: December is just around the corner. The sun (at least here in the northern hemisphere where I live) is taking its own sweet time creeping over the horizon in the morning, while racing to darkness at the end of the day.

It seems like the ideal time to address one of the questions that came out of the Pause ezine reader survey conducted earlier this year. One Pause reader asked, “How do you brighten up the workplace?”

It’s an interesting question. If your daily experience delivers some combination of dim, dark, dingy, depressing or drab, it can be a real downer. (Sorry about that, there seemed to be a lot of loose d’s hanging around my keyboard!)

So let’s take a look at actions that could reverse the trend and bring a bit of lightness and levity.

 

Action: Here are a handful of ways to brighten your workplace. You might find one or more helpful. Read More…

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

PAUSE – 14.35 – Always On Guard? Often Off Balance!

RelaxReflection: When I speak and write about granting our selves and each other permission to pause, many people grasp the idea in quick order. They can see that there’s a strong case for renewal and re-energizing in the face of overwhelming demands. It makes sense on an intellectual level.

But, that message doesn’t always make it from the brain to the gut – where so many of our decisions and choices are actually made. As a result, the idea literally does not sit well with us.

Now, as you know, it is possible to force yourself to sit down for a moment to catch your breath and take a break. But how often does that rest take the form of a tentative perch on the edge of your seat, burdens still at hand, muscles tensed to lift off again at a moment’s notice, brain on high alert?

That’s not much of a break especially when compared to option B. You drop into a chair and drop into the moment. You let your body be surrounded and supported, relax your muscles, set your burdens aside, and tell your brain to take a hike.

It’s the same 30-60-90 seconds, but it’s a significantly difference experience.

 

Action: The next time you sense you need to step back for a few moments, pay close attention to your approach. Read More…

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

PAUSE – 14.34 – Need A Real Alignment?

Alignment-wReflection: Sometimes our best intentions and our everyday actions are not that well aligned.

A few cases in point:

  • We say, ‘To make a long story short…’ and then we make a short story long.
  • We feel virtuous about stocking up on healthy fruit and vegetables. But, do we eat them? No, we just let them waste away.
  • We buy new running shoes and set up the treadmill, and then let them collect dust in the corner.
  • We repeatedly show up late to appointments because there is always ‘something unexpected’ that gets in our way.

I recently led a training session for a group of leaders. They started the day by sharing how much they had been learning about the importance of being present to their staff – listening and attending with care. Many of them then proceeded to spend a big chunk of our time together flipping through messages and texting on their smart phones.

At the root of the issue is the quality of our self awareness – the ability to see ourselves as we really are. It’s an essential skill, but one that can be tough to cultivate.

Because we’re privy to our intentions – spoken and unspoken – we cut ourselves a LOT of slack. We credit ourselves with points for our good intentions and don’t deduct points for our less than ideal behaviors.

What really matters most, though, is our actions. And it is those actions that build or destroy our health or our relationships and establish our character – both on the inside and through the eyes of others.

 

Action: How do you get better at self awareness and alignment? Read More…

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

PAUSE – 14.32 – Are You Charting Your High Level View?

PumpkinGal-w-borderReflection: I do value the Task List/Reminder List on my electronic calendar. Still, if I work and think only at the level of small individual tasks, I end up feeling like I’m stuck in the weeds or mired in the swamp. No matter how many of those bits and pieces get accomplished (write this, call him, brief her, deliver that), there are always ten more items flooding in to take their place.

To catch my breath and get a grip, I need to rise above the small task minutiae. I need access to the big picture, and, like oxygen, I need it often.

Here’s a practice that’s worked for me. I’ve cultivated the habit of taking twenty minutes at the beginning of each month to cultivate that higher level view; and I take another ten minutes at the beginning of each week to take stock for the next seven days.

I remind myself of my larger goals for the year. I look over the calendar for the next few months or weeks. I think about the season of the year and the rhythm of my work.

I sift. I sort. And, I actually write by hand a brief list of things to focus on for work, family, community and myself over the coming month or the coming week.

Then each day before I dive into the accumulated bits and pieces on my task list, I look at the overview for the week and use that big picture to keep things in perspective. I try to make sure that the task list on most days includes at least an item or two that contribute to those big picture points of focus. It helps…a lot! Read More…

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

PAUSE – 14.31 – Doubting Your Value? Know That You Matter!

FlamboyantFallColor-wReflection: In life’s daily give and take, slog and grind, tug and pull, it’s easy to question whether what you do or who you are really matters. Many times I’ve felt discouraged or hopeless or useless and found myself asking, ‘What’s the point?” Maybe you have, too.

Along the way I’ve learned that fostering a sense of significance – believing that we do, in fact, matter – is very much an inside job. Others cannot fill a hole in our hearts or a need in our lives that is of our own making.

 

Action: In those dark moments of self-doubt about self-worth, here are a handful of tactics you might find helpful in shifting from dismay to delight. Read More…

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

PAUSE – 14.30 – Success Can Lead To Excess

Virgina Creeper Welcomes Fall-wReflection: Our pursuit of success has both an upside and a downside – a bright side and a dark side.

The very same impulses that drive us to success (a commitment to showing up, the ambition to get ahead, and a desire to make a difference) are the very same impulses that can drive us to excess (taking on too many things at once, working ourselves to exhaustion, and driving ourselves and those around us crazy in the process).

In our pursuit of success and significance, it’s far too easy to lose our focus and to lose our way – to end up feel overwhelmed and overloaded.

Trying to handle the situation with traditional time management tools only makes a small dint in this experience. Goal setting, prioritizing, delegation, and techno efficiency will only take us so far.

If we want to be sustainably productive, we need to concern ourselves with other equally important elements of productivity:

  • Maintaining perspective
  • Developing presence
  • Tapping into peace of mind

 

Action: Pay close attention to perspective, presence and peace of mind as you make your way through today:

  • Remember why the things you are working on matter.
  • Take satisfaction as you move projects forward – even if they aren’t yet complete.
  • Be present to the people who share your world and your work.
  • Tune in your body and your thoughts; and answer the call when they signal what you need.
  • Tap into that invisible ‘river of peace’ that flows at your feet every moment of every day.

 

Quote Of The Week: Could we stop measuring our days by degree of productivity and start experiencing them by degree of presence? – Yours Truly

Our entire society can be changed by one person’s peaceful presence. – Thich Nhat Hanh

 

 

Resource Of The Week: You might find this article by Lori Deschene of interest: Productivity & Happiness – Why Are We So Busy?

 

 

Readers Write: In response to last week’s message, What Can You Learn From A Toddler On Overload, Pause reader JO writes:  “I am not sure who said this or coined it but if I have an important meeting or event it’s important to HALT and do an internal check. Am I Hungry, Angry, Lonely, Tired (HALT)? If so I take care of it prior to that important event or meeting!”

I did a little sleuthing on attribution, JO, and it seems this acronym is most strongly associated with treatment programs for chemical dependency. The thought here is that when we are in weakened states (as in HALT) we are more likely to make poor choices. When you recognize and take care of those needs, you improve the likelihood of making more thoughtful, healthy and sustainable choices.

 

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

PAUSE – 14.29 – What Can You Learn From A Toddler On Overload?

Leon & Hat-wReflection: In recent months, I’ve really enjoyed spending time with my youngest grandson who is now closing in on two years of age.

And, in the way of grandparents everywhere, I must tell you that he is the sweetest, smartest, cutest little guy you’ll ever meet … until he’s over-tired.

  • When weariness strikes, he grows unsteady on his feet, zigging and zagging like a drunken sailor. (BTW, how did sailors get such a bad rap anyway?)
  • He moves from diversion to diversion, not settling in to play with anything for more than a few seconds at a time.
  • Small events that are mildly amusing become maniacally hilarious.
  • Problems that are minor frustrations trigger major meltdowns.
  • When everyone else can see that what he needs most is a rest, he resists – refusing to go willingly into that good night.

Of course, he’s just starting to discover his emotions, to learn what he needs, and to figure out how to soothe himself when he’s upset. He’s a long way from understanding that a break or a nap or a good night’s sleep might be a good idea.

He’s not alone. There are many of us who left our childhood in the dust decades ago who are still learning these things. We struggle to come to terms with our emotions. We over-react in ways that are totally out of proportion to a triggering event. We keep pushing, pushing, pushing despite body messages to the contrary.

 

Action: So what might we learn from the little guy’s experience? Read More…

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

PAUSE – 14.28 – Keep a Promise To Lighten Your Load

Blossoms To Go-wReflection: One of the ways we add to the mental and emotional overload in our lives is by making promises we’re unlikely to keep.

For example, you run into an old friend or an ex-colleague on the street. You’re both super excited to see each other. You spend the next 20 minutes swapping news and bringing each other up to date.

At the end of the exchange, you say, “I’m so glad we ran into each other. This has been great. We should get together soon for (pick one) coffee, a drink, dinner.” Your friend agrees, smiles and nods, and you go your separate ways.

It was a great visit. That’s true. But, now there’s a ‘thing’ between you.

What kind of thing, you ask? A promise, a commitment, a spoken intention to act. And the central question is whether you will or whether you won’t follow through.

Sure, your intentions were good, as they are in so many instances. But, time is limited, and we’re easily distracted. Before you know it, days, weeks, months, even years go by – and the thing – that unmet promise still hangs in the air and follows you around.

Multiply the number of ‘things promised but not delivered’ in our lives and the weight of expectation grows heavy.

What’s equally problematic, is that our integrity takes a hit in the eyes of others. We become that person who talks a good line but rarely follows through.

 

Action: What to do? Read More…

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

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