Power of Pause - Energise
Bob flopped in the chair. Physically exhausted and his ears were buzzing with the stress and busyness of the day. Buddy, the dog, threw a cautious look at him. He may be man’s best friend and as a dog with heightened senses he could tell this man was on edge and needed to stroke him. But he didn’t want the irritable grump he had just seen the man give to his wife. Cautiously, the dog made his way forward and laid his head on the man’s thigh. Instinctively, Bob reached down and stroked his canine best friend’s head. With each stroke, the day seemed fractionally better. Buddy, lifted his head and trotted off to the hall way, returning swiftly with his lead in his mouth. “Sorry Buddy, not tonight, I’m knackered and I still have so much work to do.” Buddy, just stayed, his chin on the man’s thigh, lead still in his mouth. He was a knackered dog too, but he knew what was best for his human. A good walk, to clear the head, to take a break from the day. The work would flow much better once he’s spent time with Buddy on a walk.
It’s funny how our canine and human friends often know when we need to pause to energise ourselves. Gemma, Bob’s PA, saw he needed to pause to re-energise himself when he was a little short and snappy at the meeting this morning. He had cancelled his last two coaching sessions and she could tell that he needed them. Bob’s wife Helen, was concerned when Bob had missed 3 weeks of squash, his favourite past-time, and each night he was getting grumpier at dinner. It was time that he paused to energise himself.
How do you know when your metaphorical batteries are getting low?
Tired? Grumpy? Snapping at people? Make mistakes at work? Thinking differently about people?
What things energise you when that is happening?
Last week we started our blog series on ‘PAUSE’. Pause has the ability for us to REGAIN.
R - Reflection - Take time to reflect and journal about yourself or the situation to plan improvement
E - Energise - Use exercise, rest or mindfulness to recharge your mind, body & spirit
G - Gratitude – Use a rhythm of thankfulness to reduce stress & gain perspective
A - Awe - Take time to reflect on the moment or nature and use awe to gain perspective
I - Inspire - Take time to read, watch or listen to replenish your thinking, knowledge and wisdom
N - Now – Use the power of pausing to notice your senses, your body, to be in the moment, the present to replenish the mind
Pausing to energise, is the second pause. So, what is it? It is pausing from work to do the things that energise us. That could be exercise, mindfulness, peace & quiet, a hobby or past-time. Something that makes us feel refreshed, energised and helps us to clear the head.
The best way is to proactively plan in times for pausing the day to day and switching to the energiser that suits you. I recently had someone tell me that their company had told them to take 30 minutes to do nothing in a week. Unfortunately, this is the worst thing this person could have been asked to do. For many people 30 minutes to just stop is great and energising. But this person likes to do things. 30 minutes stopping for them was like caging a tiger. Planning in what works for you is the trick.
There normally is a sign that indicates we are heading towards a physical, emotional, mental or spiritual burnout. The trick is learning your signs and symptoms early enough to then do something about them before it gets too bad. Even if you have planned in times to pause from the day to day and to energise, sometimes even more time is needed.
The trick is to recognise the signs that pause to energise is needed.
Take a look at this diagram. At points a, b, c, they are all times when you could make a decision to pause to energise. This ensures that the pressure levels keep lower and avoid a burnout.
There can be a real danger for leaders, that we think time away from work is time wasted and we can’t afford to take the time. Our mind then springs into overdrive and our thinking can lead to feelings of guilt. We need to reframe our thinking over this. We can’t afford to not take the time. We become inefficient and make mistakes when we are pushing ourselves too hard. Taking time to pause the day to day, do an energising activity, ensures that we are then more focused on our return.
Instead of thinking
This is a waste of time
I haven’t got time for this as I have so much to do
We could replace it with
This is recharging me so I am more efficient when I do work
What is the right thing to do so I can give of my best?
What works for you?
What are the things that energise you? Sport, exercise, walking, reading, quietness, even something as simple as a good soak in the bath. Have you planned in some as regular rhythm of your week? Do you know what things you need to do if you're finding stress is building up and the situation needs to be paused.
When we do this, we take control back and although we give time to other things, we get more done.
Do contact me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org if you would like coaching help designing what 'pause to energise' looks like for you.