During the work day, there’s not a lot of room for mental clutter. Stop stressing whether or not you’re going to burn the house down because you let the coffee pot on, stop sweating the small stuff and get clarity and confidence by simply working intentional pauses into your life. Here’s how:
Locking your doors
A friend the other day, halfway through a nice lunch outing, did a little gasp and asked with fret, “Did I lock my car door?!” She had left her work bag in it with her laptop and important notes and short of leaving the table and running back a few blocks to check on it, she was going to have to hope she did… or have faith in humanity if she didn’t. Taking a pause when you get out of vehicle – wherever you are – is a great routine to get into. Do a mental check that you have your keys, phone, purse, groceries in hand, etc. and then focus on nothing but locking the vehicle. Maybe even make up your own little “thing” where you hit the lock button on your fob two or three times and repeat a mantra in your head. (Maybe simply repeat “Locking. The. Door.”)
Coffee makers and curling irons… ugh! They are the appliances that haunt our morning routines. One way for easy peace of mind with these is to invest in ones that have automatic turn off features. Then you’ll never lose. Otherwise, pausing when you turn each of these off is helpful. Take a few breaths and watch yourself intently unplug the curling iron. Don’t just turn it off – totally unplug it. That gives it a feeling on finality. Same with the coffee maker – hit the off button with intent. Pause for a second. Repeat a little fun saying like “Coffee offee!” or whatever helps you remember that you took care of it.
How many times do you get in a panic because you literally can’t remember if you sent an important email? Email is tough – the quantity of it is unbearable sometimes and it works at lightening speed. Most times it doesn’t even make it on our to do lists as a task because it would take more time to write it down than it would to just do it. A good routine to get into is “pause before sendign”. Pausing to re-read the email is good not only to lock it into your memory better, but also to check it over for any spelling or grammar issues. Also take a second when you hit send to really hit it. Hold the mouse down for just a half a second longer to register in your brain that it is in FACT… sent. Before switching gears, make a mental note of your next step from the result of that email.
The last pause we want to mention is the one before meetings – any meeting, big or small. Pausing to get in the right mindset, to review some notes or to write down some questions or objectives can increase your impact and efficiency tremendously. It gives a great impression to bosses and coworkers when you walk into a room collected and prepared to work. Pause in your car. Pause at your desk. Pause in the waiting room. Just pause. Get the worries of the day out of the way, and then go into that meeting focused and ready to win.