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The Power Of Pause

Nov 02, 2023

Most professions honor workers who are hard working. Workers are seemingly judged by how busy they are and how they are working non-stop. Working overtime is a bonus. Many cultures have a similar mentality. Most of my friends in Hong Kong are always working overtime.

No doubt most physicians earn the badge of honor for working hard, working non-stop, and working overtime. We are not supposed to take breaks. We are supposed to be available in random hours of the day, all the time. The misconception is that working long hours with no breaks is the right thing to do. This further promotes the idea that taking a pause is being lazy. You have time to die but no time to pause.

Being busy and non-stop working does not translate to increase in productivity. You may be hovering in busyness and not having anything concrete completed.

I was watching this drama series about an interior designer. As she is getting more recognized in her industry, she is getting more projects. There is this scene that she is working non-stop, trying to finish her projects, and not eating any food. She works past midnight for two days straight. By the third day, she collapsed and fainted. She ended up staying in the hospital for two days.

If you do not schedule for a pause, at some point, your body and/or your mind will put a hard stop on you.

Our bodies are not designed to work continuously without a break. That is why we set time to sleep. Besides this prolonged period of rest, it is important to pause periodically during the day. There is time to pause if you make time for it. A pause can be a brief five minutes or an extended hour, or any duration of time you desire.

Taking a pause is to prevent you from operating in the overdrive mode when you are mentally and physically depleted. Taking a break is not a sign of laziness. Pausing lets you recharge, gives you time to refresh. This will increase your performance, productivity and critical thinking skills.

When you are always on the go, you tend to feel rushed all the time. You think that there is no time, and there is no time to think. When it comes to decision time, you are prone to making hasty decisions without thinking it through. You just want to keep going, thinking that by doing so, you will get things done quicker. The truth is that, when you are not making a quality decision, You will end up having a suboptimal outcome. Your productivity may be compromised, or you may have to do it over.

Taking a pause allows you to think. You get to gather all the information you know and utilize your clear mind to make a quality decision. You also get to be more creative, or even come up with ideas which are outside of the box.

A pause gives you time to reflect, to remember what went well, what experiences you can draw from the past and apply them in the present. It is always a process of learning and growing.

Hitting the pause button opens up the opportunity for you to think what matters most. It is a chance for you to keep your priorities straight and check to ensure what you do stays in alignment with your values.

When you pause, your mind gets to slow down. You take a break from feeling rushed. It decreases your chance of feeling overwhelmed. Taking a pause is vital to your well-being.

When you have a busy and jam-packed schedule, when you seemingly do not have an extra minute to spare, how do you pause?

You are in more control than you think. It is important for you to believe that there is a time to pause. Set your schedule to include the time to pause. You get to decide how many breaks and how long each one is. Set the time for each pause. Put it on your calendar. You make time for it. Keep in mind that you are not losing time by taking a pause or two – you are gaining productivity and creativity.

When it is time for a pause, change the scenery. Walk away from your work station. Go outdoors. Change your posture. Stretch your body. Keep your mind off what you are doing. After a pause, you will feel more refreshed. You will be refueled. You will have more clarity. You will be more ready to face the rest of your day.

Are you ready to stop feeling stressed and overwhelmed? Are you ready to have more time to do what you want?


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