Pause Blog On Overload, Overwhelm & Life In General

Pause Gem #41 – Al Desko or Al Fresko?

Pause Gems-wReflection & Action If you’re reading this on Wednesday morning, you still have time to make a date for lunch. Why do I mention it? Because it turns out that an astounding number of folks are eating Al Desko and not Al Fresko.

A recent poll found that 60 percent of workers eat lunch at their desks every day, while two thirds take less than half their entitled lunch hour. A quick math check shows those people are working (or at least sitting in front of their computers) an extra 128 hours (or 16 eight hour days) a year.

We’re discovering more all the time about the physical risks of too much sitting and too much desk time. When we closet ourselves away – brain glued to screen and bum to chair – we end up numb on both ends.

Move around mid-day and you clear out the mental cobwebs and top the energy tank. You’ll return to your afternoon tasks with a fresh mind and body.

What’s keeping us glued to our chairs? Read More…

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

Pause Gem #40 – So, Are You Happy?

Pause Gems-wReflection & Action: There’s nothing like a good question to draw attention to what makes life worthwhile. And, for the record, that question is NOT: “So, are you busy?”

Far too many conversations in our stressed out, revved up world start just that way. We connect with a colleague at work, bump into an old friend at the grocery store, or meet a neighbor on the street. Before we even think about it, we’re automatically asking, “So, are you busy?”

It’s a question that usually generates a lengthy recounting of activities done and undone. Recounting the proverbial to do list seems to be a common way to establish our value and justify our existence on the planet.

Oddly enough, when you ask people to consider what really matters in life, the things that show up most frequently tend not to be the things that populate their to do lists.

What’s most meaningful and energizing relates more to the big picture issues: relationships and adventures, or a deep sense of connectedness and purpose.

If that is where more meaning lives, why not change the focus of our conversations? Why not start asking each other these questions instead: Read More…

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

Pause Gem #39 – Who Needs A Mental Wealth Break?

Pause Gems-wReflection & Action: I’d had a busy couple of weeks with projects, commitments and deadlines on every front. When the calendar cleared one day last week, I decided to pause and step away for a mental wealth day. That’s the kind of day when you focus on making a few sizable deposits in the sanity bank account.

I spent ten minutes in the office, cleared a few urgent messages, put an away message on my phone, and settled in to enjoy the open space.

As the day unfolded, I puttered in the garden, visited on the street with several of the neighbors, lunched in the sun on the back deck, napped in the hammock, chatted by phone with several family members, and enjoyed the fish in the pond and the birds in the trees.

A greeting card from my sister arrived in the mail that morning and set the tone for the day. The front cover featured a figure reclining in a hammock under a palm tree with these words: “Nowhere to go and all day to get there….” That became my mantra for the day!

I love that sentiment, it’s such a contrast to what we are more likely to experience in our everyday lives: “Everywhere to go and no time to get there!”

One of the most popular delusions in today’s world is the belief that we cannot step away from our responsibilities – that without our constant vigilance the world will come to a grinding halt. It just ain’t so! Read More…

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

This post was written by Pat Katz on August 3, 2016

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Pause Gem #38 – Could It Be Your Lucky Day?

Pause Gems-wReflection & Action:  It was bright and early Sunday morning, and our then four year old grandson was on the other end of the phone – brimming with enthusiasm and bubbling over with news.

“Guess what I’m having for breakfast? Toast with jam and TWO slices of cheese. Orange and white cheese – marble cheese. Marble, that’s funny! And, Mommy made me a Smoothie, too. It is SO good. And, you know what she bought me yesterday at the grocery store? Cheese strings. THOSE are my favorite. And, I’m watching the Cat In The Hat video. And he’s bouncing on the bed. I like to do that, too. AND, I get to go swimming today! I am having a VERY Lucky Day!”

That nonstop monologue turned MY groggy morning into a very Lucky Day. How can you NOT smile in the face of that kind of exuberance?

Enthusiasm is infectious. And if you have to come down with something, enthusiasm beats other viruses, hands down!

There’s no doubt, as adults, we have serious things to deal with. Yet, there are times when I know I complicate my life more than is necessary. Maybe you do, too. Read More…

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

PAUSE – 16.21 – The Powerful Impact Of Powering Down

RenewalReflection:  Better focus? Greater health and well-being? More creative thoughts? Could you use more of these?

According to recent research by the Energy Project and Harvard Business Review, they’re easier to access than you might think. Just step away from the work.

The study showed that employees who break every 90 minutes to pulse between work and renewal report:

  • 28% better focus
  • 30% greater health and well-being, and a
  • 40% increase in creative thinking

This is just one more in a long series of research findings that confirm this fact: time out delivers a significant return on investment!

 

Action: Adopting this practice and reaping the rewards takes shifting from intention to action.

It’s easy to get caught up in the flow and frenzy of the work, and overlook the breaks. Use a timer reminder on your calendar. Set it to ring at 90 minute intervals. Add software to your computer that will interrupt you on a schedule of your choice to invite you to stretch and move.

Then choose a renewing pause – one that honors what you need at the time:

  • If you’re sitting, movement and stretching are good.
  • If you’re stuck indoors, a little fresh air will help.
  • If you’re holed up working solo, a bit of social interaction may help.
  • If you’re wrangling with serious issues, humor can lighten the mood.
  • If you’re surrounded by people, solo time can reset your equilibrium.

Build in the breaks. Choose a contrasting experience. And, you’ll be well on your way to experiencing the powerful impact of powering down. Read More…

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

PAUSE – 16.20 – Are You Standing Up & Stepping Out?

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My Thoughts:

As I grow older, I seem to become less concerned about knowing how things will end before I commit to a start.

Maybe I’m more confident in my ability to handle whatever comes up.

Or maybe I’ve realized that imagining I control the outcomes is mostly an illusion anyway.

I do know that I’ve been around the block enough times to realize that the sheer act of beginning something new opens doors and invites possibilities that are never apparent when you’re hunkered down on the sidelines wondering, ‘Should I…?’

 

Your Thoughts:

Are you toying with trying something new? Why not find a low risk way to stand up, step out, and test the waters?

Let yourself be surprised and amazed. And, let me know how it goes!

 

 

News Notes:

It’s just over a year since I stood up and stepped out to explore the challenges of mid life malaise. Some of you will remember responding to a survey on that topic in early 2015.

Since then, I’ve used the results of that research to craft a variety of programs on Rekindling Spark – Navigating Mid Life Malaise. Over the last six months, I’ve designed and delivered a Ted Talk, a conference keynote, a follow up breakout session, and a half day seminar.

There’s nothing like stepping out and testing new material to see if it makes a contribution and a difference. And, this most certainly does. Read More…

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

PAUSE – 16.19 – Might You Need to Recalibrate Success?

Step to Success-wReflection: Funny creatures we are – us human beings! Sometimes me thinks we thinks too much! Cogitating on this! Judging that! Setting implausible expectations!

A speaker colleague of mine, Ron Culberson, recently observed in his blog post on significance that he feared his Success Meter was not calibrated properly. (Read more about his observations in today’s Resource of the Week link).

By way of example, he reports feeling like he’s failed if, by end of day, he hasn’t done something that registers somewhere between noteworthy and stupendous. I’ve been there myself. Have you?

Last week I spoke for the Spiritual Care Association of Saskatchewan. This is a group of people who face really tough situations every single day.

They provide support for individuals and their families when the prospects for a long life or a speedy recovery are just not there. It’s emotionally demanding work – often with no practical, tangible way to ‘solve the problem’ or ‘make things right’.

In many of those tough, end-of-life moments, it’s simply their presence that they can offer. There’s nothing to be done except be there and be available. And, you know what? That counts a lot.

 

Action: Are there days when your expectations take a crazymaking tilt? Are there days when you stomp on yourself for falling short of your aspirations? Read More…

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

PAUSE – 16.17 – Clear The Decks And Lighten The Load

Heavy LoadReflection: Life’s been busy these last few weeks with program design and delivery, travel, visits with family and friends, and springtime in the garden. All good things – yet challenging, too.

And so it felt good over the long weekend to experience the positive impact of tidying up. Not in a Marie Kondo ‘tossing things out’ kind of way. The experience was more about making things right – which in turn made things light.

On Friday, my last act in the office (which happens to be in my home) was to clear the desk and stash the miscellany. Everything done? No way. But without visible piles and papers, there was nothing calling my name each time I passed by.

On Saturday, I moved the lawn, trimmed shrubs and weeded a few perennial beds. Finished? No. But a whole lot better than before.

On Sunday, I transplanted flowers sheltering in the garage into pots and planters around the garden. Complete? No. But the garage is empty and that feels great.

On Monday, I tackled many loads of laundry, while dusting and vacuuming the house. Through neglect and spring doings, the place was a disaster from one end to the other. Perfect? Hah! Nothing will ever pass the white glove test in my world! But good enough – with no more garden grit underfoot.

And so, as I write this on Tuesday morning, I’m feeling grounded for having brought a bit more order to my world, and I’m ready to welcome the tasks of the week ahead. Read More…

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

PAUSE – 16.16 – Time And Time Again

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My Thoughts:  April, May and June are ripe with birthday celebrations in our family. I’ve noticed there’s nothing that marks the passage of time quite so clearly as those annual celebrations of our arrival on this planet.

This quote suggests, “You can’t turn back time, but you can wind it up again!” There’s some truth in that. A good night’s sleep, for instance, tops your tank and gifts you with a brand new day at sunrise.

A fresh interest that challenges you and brings you joy also has a way of ‘turning back time’. It makes you feel more energetic and engaged in life and – if not younger – at least more youthful in spirit.

 

Your Thoughts: What experiences wind you up again? And are you making time for those things in your life?

And, when was the last time you tried something new or different? Could today be that day?

 

News Notes:  Engagement Series Final Session Still Has A Few Open Spaces

I’ve really enjoyed delivering the first two sessions in a three part Series on Engagement through the University of Saskatchewan Edwards School of Business.

Session One focused on Fueling Enthusiasm. We had a full house of very enthusiastic participants. Some organizations brought several people to the session so they could support each other in applying the ideas back in the workplace.

Session Two focused on Boosting Energy. It was a treat to see how well attendees engaged with those ideas. I know that applying what they learned will pay off for themselves and those around them, too.

Session Three will be focusing on Tapping Passion – Moving Beyond Mid-Life Malaise. It is just around the corner, and will be delivered on the 9th of June here in Saskatoon. There are still a few seats available in the program.

If you’ve been interested in the ideas I’ve been sharing on this topic, here’s your chance to engage with them first hand – to see how they might fit into your own life, and to become a more effective support to others who find themselves in danger of rusting out.

Here is the link to the program details and registration information. Hope to see you there.

 

Posted under Life Balance, Life in General, Pause E-zines, Pause Poster Message

PAUSE – 16.14 – Lighten Up & Relax

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My Thoughts:

There is certainly no shortage of advice on how to improve our lives and workplaces. Heck, I’m sharing some with you right now!

At times, the sheer volume of ‘how-to’ messages can overwhelm us: Do more of this. Do less of this. Remember this. Don’t forget about that.

When I stumbled across Pema Chodron’s message featured here (Maybe the most important teaching is to lighten up and relax), I immediately felt a weight lifted from my shoulders. And that brought a smile to my face.

Though we may not always be in a position to relax, there are a lot of situations in which we could lighten up and not take life and our selves quite so seriously.

 

Your Thoughts:

With respect to a burden or two in your world today, where could you lighten up and relax?

 

News Notes:

As I mentioned at the beginning of the year, my plan for 2016 is to publish the traditional Pause format every second week. In the weeks between, I’ll be experimenting with a series of projects.

The first project was the six part video series on Rekindling Spark – Navigating Mid Life Malaise. I hope you enjoyed watching the series and sharing them with friends and colleagues.

If you missed any of the messages, you’ll find links to all of them in this recent blog post.

For the next couple of months, alternate weeks will feature a series of Pause Posters – like the one you see here today.

I enjoy partnered ideas and images that make me stop and think. Some that you’ll see are created by others and some I’ll pull together myself. I’m excited about sharing them with you – along with a couple of brief thoughts and a question or two for reflection.

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