The Pause That Refreshes

The Pause That Refreshes

Can you believe it? Half of 2017 is history! And that means it’s time for me – and you – to take the “Mid-Year Pause” – the Pause for Reflection that Refreshes Us Mentally.

I’m a believer in the value of Reflection for 3 primary reasons:

1. To Generate Better Results Moving Forward. Without taking the time to reflect on what we have or have not accomplished – the progress, as well as the mistakes we have made – we will not generate the constant and ongoing improvement needed to make the transition from good performance to great performance.

2. To Correct the Course (If Necessary). Once we decide what to do and how to do it, it is difficult when we realize it is not producing the results/outcome we anticipated and then do something about it other then being. Reflection forces us to take a step back from the relentless pressure of the workday, take a well earned breathe, evaluate what we are doing and how we are doing it and, if necessary, stop doing what isn’t working or determining how to do it differently.

3. To Celebrate. We don’t celebrate enough when we have reached a goal or achieved an outcome. There is a tendency to continue to focus on what’s going to happen next to the extent that we miss the opportunity for congratulations for a job well done. Reflection allows the recognition that we have done good work and should have cake to celebrate.

To do all of the above I have designated the July 4th holiday weekend as my midyear “Pause That Refreshes.” During this 3 day span, in between enjoying family and friends and celebrating America’s B-Day, I stop working on stuff and critically examine my Annual Action Plan.

Do I also take other Pauses throughout the year to reflect? Absolutely! I schedule a day for reflection at least once a quarter and as a normal part of the debriefs I conduct after the completion of every project.

However, this mid-year Pause forcefully reminds me that 50% of the year is over. That fact alone trips all sorts of emotional responses in the reptilian part of my brain – forcing me to focus in a more intense way on what I have accomplished and what remains to be accomplished in the remainder of the year.

To keep the Reflection process as intense and simple as possible, I only ask myself two questions:

1.    What 3 priority items in my Annual Action Plan should I have accomplished but have not? If it has been a really good year, there won’t be 3 priority items that haven’t been accomplished. But since life intrudes, I have never had a “really good year”, and there is always at least one priority item from the beginning of the year I need to continue to focus on. And this mid-year “Pause to Reflect” ensures I will give that item the time, energy and resources needed to get it done – or I’ll decide it is no longer a priority item and I’ll course correct and let it go.

2.    What items have become priority items and need to be included/accomplished in my rest of the year Action Plan? BTW: I never have more than 3 priority items at a time since research shows more then 3 priorities at a time dissipates the time and energy needed to achieve them.

Then I celebrate the crap out of what I have achieved for the first half of the year!

THE BOTTOM LINE: This approach works for me and, unless you have a better one, you should try it. You just might like it. But if you have a different method for reflection let me know about it since I’m always looking for a better way to get things done.

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