Why You Need ‘Just Be’ for Short Bursts of Time

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Knowing how to pause can be the key to managing your stressful day making you 100% more productive.

Every day around the same time, Kathy Hollinger, a successful and remarkably productive executive, closes her office door for half an hour. Co-workers assumed she was trying to get work done until a friend looked through the sliver of glass in her door one day and saw that she appeared to be doing nothing more than staring off into space. It seemed curious enough that the friend began to pass by periodically when her door was closed to see what she was doing. Like clockwork, she closed her door once a day and appeared to engage in… nothing at all.

Eventually the friend asked Hollinger about the practice. She laughed and said one of the secrets to her incredible productivity was the time she took every day to just… be.

Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer describes doing something similar: “For 10 or 15 minutes twice a day, I sit peacefully. I relax and think about nothing or as little as possible. And this is what I’ve done for a couple of years.”

For both Breyer and Hollinger, the small chunk of time they carve out each day to “just be” helps them cope with the pressures of work. They both say the daily stillness leaves them more focused, productive and better equipped to deal with unexpected changes. Hollinger also says that, many times, the deliberate pause helps get her creative juices flowing.

The Danger of Distractions

Today’s technological advancements are both a blessing and a curse. You can order a pair of sandals with the click of a button, and they can be at your doorstep 48 hours later—amazing, right? But you can also become addicted to your devices and overwhelmed by the endless pings of emails, texts and social media notifications.

Sometimes we equate being active with being productive. But replying to annoying emails, answering old texts and checking our social media adds to the burden and pressures of the day.

Find Your Spot

Experts say we should all have a sacred space to “just be.” This may explain why practices such and meditation have found their place in the Western World. But a sacred space doesn’t have to be a hot, sticky yoga studio—it can be your car, a park bench or even the empty conference room at work.

Both Breyer and Hollinger resist referring to their pauses as spiritual even though they can be. It’s just stopping and taking time out to rest and focus on something beautiful. It’s the opportunity to pause and disconnect. It’s stillness. It’s the opportunity to just be.

Now it’s your turn to master the deliberate pause. Shut the door, put your devices away and just be.

Have a brilliant day and a brilliant life,

Jenny Gosling

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