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March 22, 2022

5 Reasons Why The ‘Power Of The Pause’ Is Your Secret Career Weapon

Hustle, grind, repeat. Sound familiar? Unfortunately, many eager professionals follow that formula, wearing their busyness like a badge of honor and treading on a never-ending professional hamster wheel. They haven’t learned that there’s a counterintuitive way to make career progress: slowing down. Research shows breaks are essential to improving our moods, overall well-being, and performance capacity. […]

Hustle, grind, repeat. Sound familiar?

Unfortunately, many eager professionals follow that formula, wearing their busyness like a badge of honor and treading on a never-ending professional hamster wheel.

They haven’t learned that there’s a counterintuitive way to make career progress: slowing down.

Research shows breaks are essential to improving our moods, overall well-being, and performance capacity. But when you’re busy being busy, it can be tough to break that habit.

Need further evidence that you should slow down to speed up your career? Here are five reasons why the “power of the pause” is your secret career weapon:

1. It prevents you from being overly reactive

When you’re working in the fast lane, your first instinct may be to immediately react to any issue or person that enters your orbit, especially when it’s something you don’t agree with or understand. But being overly reactive can cause you to say and do things in haste you’ll later regret.

Instead, press the pause button and take a beat to digest and consider the information. Then, before responding, ask yourself these three questions:

  1. Does this need to be said?
  2. Does this need to be said by me?
  3. Does this need to be said by me now?

Your pause will give you a few moments to reset. And chances are, you’ll discover that your commentary can wait until you have time to craft a thoughtful response or that you don’t need to respond at all.

2. It allows creativity to flow

It’s tough to be creative when you never slow down. In a world where external demands and a cacophony of noise bombard us, taking the time to turn inward and think deeply is a must for creativity. Research has found that we allow our minds to wander when idle. And that daydreaming makes us more creative, better at problem-solving and better at coming up with innovative ideas.

3. It preserves your well-being

Constantly grinding and churning leads to burnout, anxiety and stress-related illnesses. As a result, our immunity weakens, we age faster and we become more susceptible to colds. News flash: you can’t make progress if you’re running on fumes and stressed out.

Create intentional breaks filled with things designed to replenish your well-being. Resist mind-numbing activities like scrolling through your Insta feed and, instead, nourish your body through movement by walking around the block or getting in a quick yoga session. Connect with educational and uplifting podcasts, books, TED talks, articles and videos to enrich your mind. Recharge your spirit through meditation, prayer and reflection. Or, since research suggests that sleep deprivation leads to reduced performance and productivity, try using breaks to prioritize rest, even if that means taking a quick catnap.

4. It keeps you focused on what matters most

It’s easy to get overwhelmed by the sheer volume of to-dos and requests, believing that everything is urgent and important, which seldom is the case. But making progress isn’t about doing everything; it’s about doing the right things. And you can only do that when you slow down enough to see that not all tasks and asks are created equal.

By protecting and blocking out uninterrupted solo time in your calendar, you’ll avoid overbooking yourself with countless and unnecessary meetings and instead simplify, prioritize and focus your attention on what matters most.

5. It makes you more productive

Downtime isn’t unproductive; it’s essential for progress. When you’re used to operating at a frenetic pace, taking deliberate breaks can seem jarring. But being busy is not the same as being productive. Change your perspective to embrace the gift of giving yourself the time and space to think, feel and experience as complementary, not contradictory to your career progress.

Article written by:  Orville Lynch, Jr.
Mr. Lynch, a member of the legendary two-time Ohio Civil Rights Hall of Fame Award winning Lynch Family. Mr. Lynch is a nationally recognized urban media executive with over 20+ years of diversity recruitment and serial entrepreneur with numerous multi-million dollar exits.

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