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Linda Samuels, CPO-CD®

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3 Useful Time Tips That Will Give You a Powerful Pause

It’s that point in the year when people are wondering, “Where has the time gone?”  I’m thinking the same thing. I don’t know about you, but to me, it feels like wearing my winter coat and setting New Year’s intentions were only moments ago. Yet here we are in the first week of June. It’s delightfully warm, the spring flowers are blooming, and the time has whooshed  by. The thick layers have been stored away. My first of the year intentions have born some delicious fruit. The changes happened in what feels like the blink of an eye.

One thing that’s useful to do, especially when you’re at a midpoint, is to take a pause. It’s like a taking a breath, only with time. Use your break to look backward, look forward, and then refocus on now. With the mindfulness meditations that I practice, there is an emphasis on being here now. The idea is that if we spend too much time in the past or the future, we miss the present. While I understand that concept and strive to be more present, there are times when I find it beneficial to reflect on the past and to think about the future. It’s possible to do this in the context of living now. Drawing on your history and making plans about the future enable you to live more fully in the present.

Time includes the past, present, and future. While we live in the now, we have arrived here because of choices we’ve made and the experiences we’ve had in the past. We live in the now, yet have aspirations and hopes for the future. Those wishes influence the actions and thoughts we focus on today.

We can take a reflection pause at any time- the middle of the day, month, or year. I encourage you to take a midyear pause now. Below I provided you with some questions to get your thoughts flowing. Other ones may surface. I’d love to hear what comes up for you.


3 Time Tips for a More Powerful Pause . . .


The Past

When you think about this year so far, what stands out? What have you noticed with the intentions or goals you set? Have you been surprised by the outcomes? Do you want to keep doing what you are doing? What strengths have emerged? What habits do you want to stop? What are you grateful for? Have you experienced any challenges that were fertile ground for learning? What have you learned? 


The Future

Is there anything you want to course correct? Are there any commitments you made that you want to release from your full plate? Do you have a goal or intention that you want to revise? What change do you want to make by the end of the year? Is there something you need more of? Is there something you want less of? Is there a new habit you’d like to incorporate?


The Present

How have past decisions influenced your current experience? Where do you want to focus your attention? How do your future goals affect your daily living? Are thoughts about the past or future negatively affecting your present? What will help you live more fully in the present? What is a present day “must” or “can’t live without?”

While time doesn’t stop, we can take a deep breath in and exhale slowing as lean in for a thoughtful pause. There are times when we keep going without doing a deep dive or analysis. However, it’s beneficial to stop every so often to examine, question, continue and refocus. We look back and ahead, yet we live in the now.

Do you take pauses? When do you like to make them? What questions do you ask? I’d love to hear your thoughts. Join our conversation!





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Reader Comments (12)

LInda, thank you - this is so powerful! I have to admit that I haven't looked at my "The Year Ahead" planner since I filled it out. My upcoming vacation should provide an excellent opportunity for reflection so I think I'll bring it along.

June 3, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterJanet Barclay

Wow, these are terrific questions to be asking! I think intentional reflection is something that is easy to avoid, but it is so important. One thought I was having as a read all of these great questions was that they would make good fodder for dinner conversation. In my family, we share our New Year's resolutions and predictions with each other, so why not spend a couple of evenings this summer answering these questions together? Might make it fun, and get my mind going.

June 3, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterSeana Turner

Thank you for the list of questions to get inspired to refocus. Since I work primarily with small business owners, I find that the summer is a slower time for me. So, it is usually the time to reflect on how the year is going for me. I am going to use your questions this summer to see what I can get rid of and what to refocus the rest of the year.

June 3, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterSabrina Quairoli

@Janet- Vacations are the perfect time for some reflection. I have my annual beach weekend planned for the end of this month. I love sitting in the sun by the shore, listening to the waves, and looking back and ahead to guide me for the present. Enjoy your time away!

@Seana- Ahhhh. I love that idea of bringing these questions to some dinner conversations! What a great idea! Instead of keeping all of the thoughts internally, it could be valuable to share them out loud. What a wonderful New Year's tradition you have! We used to do that when our daughters lived at home, but it's one of the things that has changed over the years. I loved it!

@Sabrina- The summer is a great stopping point for some deep reflection. I'm so glad that you find these questions useful and that you'll experiment with them. I wish you all the best as you ask, ponder, and reflect.

June 3, 2019 | Registered CommenterLinda Samuels

So......what you're making me realize is that I often re-evaluate my life in relation to the break from my routine and surroundings that travel provides. If I'm not as excited to return home as I was to leave, why is that? What needs to change? But I'm not traveling as much as I once did, so I'm going to have to create opportunities to "pause" and ask myself these questions. Thanks for a great list, Linda!

June 3, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterHazel Thornton

@Hazel- Travel is an excellent reflection time. One of the things I love most is my "airplane bubble." It's such a quiet, solo time for thinking and writing. But even out of the airplane, when I'm away, I'm able to see things in a different way that's often harder to do when I'm knee deep in everyday life. I love how you pay attention when you're returning home from a trip and based on what you notice; you use that as a way to ask more questions. I'm sure that even with less travel than before, you will create ways to pause and reflect. I'm glad you liked the list of questions. I wish you all the best with your discoveries.

June 3, 2019 | Registered CommenterLinda Samuels

These are marvelous questions, Linda. I, too, was thinking where did the time go? I read something recently that talked about looking back at what has been without regret and with the intention of learning what has worked and what has not. This article also talked about looking forward realistically - taking the lessons of the past, merging them with the dreams of the future, and creating a road map for now. I will keep your questions in mind as I persevere to create my roadmap for now.

June 3, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterDiane Quintana

@Diane- Thank you so much. I'm in good company if you're wondering the same thing about time. Seriously, the months have gone by so quickly. The article you recently read sounds terrific. And the ideas mirror what I was mulling over here. I love that statement about looking back "without regret and with the intention of learning." There is richness from our past, both challenges, and successes. In the best cases, we can use those to inform our present and future.

June 3, 2019 | Registered CommenterLinda Samuels

These are great tips about pausing and setting intentions! Time does seem to go by so fast, and the mid-year is a wonderful time to assess the past and look toward future goals. I have recently started focusing on mindfulness and being more present, and I will use your tips to help me with intentions for the second half of the year.

June 3, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterNancy Haworth

@Nancy- I'm so glad you like them. Thank you. Kudos to you for adopting a mindfulness focus. I've been heading down that path for many years now. Several years ago, I began doing mindfulness meditation; it has been wonderful. I'm happy to know that some of the ideas here will be useful to you as you review, reflect, and set your intentions for the next part of the year. I wish you all the best, always.

June 3, 2019 | Registered CommenterLinda Samuels

You are right. Mid-year is a good time to look back and look forward on you goals. I like goal setting at the beginning of the year but then I tend to get too far into the weeds as time goes on. A review of my yearly goals mid-year is a good idea.

June 4, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterJanet Schiesl

@Janet S.- You make such an excellent point that we can get "far into the weeds" and therefore we can forget to make time to pause and reflect. Mid-year is a great time to do it. And truthfully, the pause can be done at any point in the day, month, or year. Enjoy your mid-year goal review!

June 4, 2019 | Registered CommenterLinda Samuels

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