We all know the word pause means to take a short break.  What you might not know is how a well-intentioned short break, a professional pause as I like to call it, can exponentially increase your effectiveness at work and in your career overall.

How can a professional pause make a difference for you? Click image to watch a 5 minute video that might just change your life and your career success.

3 Reasons Why Professional Pauses Work

Ever wish you could hit the pause button and focus on what you really want?  Well you can. Here are 3 reasons why hitting your own professional pause button can help you be more successful and feel happier.

1. Be strategic and get away from the to-do list.

Our to-do list is never ending. It keeps us busy, mostly doing things that are important but not strategic or future planning oriented. Are you going in the direction that you want or are you busy being busy? Taking some well-planned time away from email and the list is important. It gets us away from the day to day to think about how things are going and more importantly, how we wish they were going.

Years ago on maternity leave, I didn’t realize how stressed and unhappy I had become at work. Having this time away from the office gave me the perspective I needed that ultimately led to my starting my own consulting business.

2. Get perspective and evaluate where you are.

Professional pauses give us space to think and examine where we are professionally. Ask yourself, “What do I want next?”

While attending a women’s conference a few months ago, I realized women attending were getting inspiration and motivation but no clear how-tos. Conferences are just not good at helping teach us how to actually navigate more effectively to make a difference in our career trajectory. I haven’t completely solved this problem yet. I have however created some women’s leadership meta-skill building programs to bring inside organizations and run once a year in a public format. Which is no small potatoes. In addition, I am taking one week every month to think about the problem, read the research, and talk to leaders in the field about how to accelerate women and their leadership. The time I spent away from the office at this conference, has given me a perspective that when I was at home heads down working, didn’t have any time to really give it any air.

3. Stay on your own track.

It’s so easy to get off track in terms of what we’re really good at and what we love. Everyone has a stake in our game and tries to navigate us…our boss, our families, even our friends. We are the only ones who should steer our own ship and stay in our own lane. Ask yourself, “If my light shined as brightly as I dared, what would I be doing or who would I be?” Professional pauses are critical to put ourselves back on track over and over again. It’s one of the keys to becoming our best selves.

Every year between Christmas and New Year’s I sit down and reflect. I think about how the year went in terms of what I wanted. I  put together a list, like a strategic planning document, to create my year ahead. This list is specifically geared to creating work that’s aligned with my deep desires and passions. On my list for this year is some type of collaboration on a large scale women’s leadership development project or program. I don’t know the how or the who yet, but I’m dedicated to staying on this track until I figure it out.

Becoming our best selves requires focus.

Mastery and being at the top of our game requires all of us to step back, re-evaluate, and then practice what we want to get better at doing.  It takes intention (caring enough to get away from meetings and emails for a short time) – Focus (specifically to raise our own bar and become a better version of ourselves)  – and Persistent Action (where we practice over and over again) to keep ourselves on track.

Professional pauses, and I don’t mean taking a vacation, whether you go to a conference, take a class, hire yourself a coach, or attend one of our Vision Quest Consulting women’s leadership programs could exponentially increase your impact, success, and personal happiness.

What are you waiting for?