June 28, 2022
I had a boss early in my career that almost made me lose my ever-loving mind.
Just when we needed to get down to business, he’d meander off on a tangent. I was smart enough to know it wasn’t appropriate to try to wrestle him back to the business at hand, but inexperienced enough to know how to manage his attention so work got done.
After a few years, I realized he was actually quite brilliant in his meanderings. He worked long hours and traveled a lot. He was highly extroverted and loved people. Both he and I were small-town Nebraska farm kids. Despite our 20-year age difference, we had quite a bit in common.
As I joined in his random acts of conversation, our work together took off creatively. I realized that our breaks to venture down memory lane or explore disconnected ideas actually gave us a much-needed refreshing pause in otherwise hectic and highly deadline-driven days.
Waste not want not
We have this perception that productivity is an all-in 24/7 bender. But if you never infuse your thinking with fresh fodder you’ll always stay with the same ‘ole stale results. New perspectives require new inputs. They also need time to really ruminate on them.
I came across a tool from SYPartners that helps give structure to downtime so you don’t feel like you’re throwing good time out the window. Designing meaningful moments of pause is a worksheet that helps you identify want you want out of your downtime – Connection, renewal, indulgence, discovery, giving back, or simply play.
Perhaps just an important, the tool has you write down when you’ll take your moment of pause, for how much time, why you want the experience, and why this time is important for you. It ends with a commitment statement that you sign so you make it real, add structure, and spell out what you what to achieve.
The busy trap
We get hung up on the idea that we have to be busy all the time. Everyone I know is busy. They’re also anxious and exhausted. If you want to feel better about your work, and actually do better work, it’s time you committed to exactly that.
And, ironically, the way to get better is by taking an intentional pause.
Download the SYPartners worksheet and share your experience in the comments below.