The Power of a Strategic Pause: A CMO’s Perspective

Lia Golledge
3 min readAug 4, 2023
Indonesian woman executive taking a strategic pause, a minute to think, industrial coworking space, journaling with pen and paper, leather notebook — ar 16:9

Have you ever found yourself so caught up in the storm of tasks that you get overwhelmed but you keep on keeping on #beastmode because that seems to be productive? What if I told you that the secret to boosting your productivity, creativity, and mental well-being lies in doing the exact opposite?

In our fast-paced, always-on world, the idea of taking a pause can seem like a luxury we can’t afford. But in her book “A Minute to Think”, Juliet Funt introduces a concept that has been a game-changer for me: the Strategic Pause.

A Minute to Think by Juliet Funt

A Strategic Pause is not about being idle. It’s about intentionally creating a space for activities that stimulate creativity, foster innovation, and promote mental well-being. It’s about taking a step back to see the bigger picture, to understand the why behind the what.

During a Strategic Pause, we can think, allowing our minds to wander and generate new ideas. We can plan, organizing our tasks and setting clear goals. We can strategize, considering our long-term objectives and the steps to achieve them. We can create, innovating and bringing new concepts to life. We can feel, connecting with our emotions and understanding how they influence us. We can recover, taking time to rest and recharge our mental batteries. And we can reflect, looking back on our experiences to gain insights and learn.

In my role as a CMO of Remote Skills Academy, I’ve found these pauses to be invaluable. My morning is slow. I take plenty of time in the morning for my Strategic Pause. During the day, every couple of hours, I will take 30 minutes of Strategic Pause. They’ve provided me with the space to come up with some of our most successful marketing strategies, to plan our campaigns with a clear mind, and to reflect on our performance and learn from it. They’ve also given me the time to recharge, I usually go for a walk in nature or have a quick lay down if I’m tired, to maintain my mental well-being amidst the pressures of my role.

However, we need to be mindful of what Funt refers to as “Pause Fillers”. These are distractions that can sneak into our pause time, such as emergency tasks, irrelevant podcasts, just busy work, mind-numbing social media, over-responding to emails, overdoing tasks, etc. I made a ‘mistake’ of watching reality shows during my pause, and of course, I found out that it’s not a super strategic thing to do lol.

Strategic Pause & Pause Fillers

In my experience, these fillers can be all too easy to fall into. A quick check of TikTok can turn into an hour-long scroll. An emergency task can derail an entire day’s plan.

The key is to protect our Strategic Pause from these fillers. Instead of letting these distractions take over, we should focus on activities that contribute to our goals, productivity, and well-being.

I’ve found that setting boundaries can be incredibly helpful in this regard Set specific times for checking emails and social media, make it a point to take regular breaks throughout the day to rest and recharge, also make sure to set aside time for reflection, to look back on my experiences and learn from them.

Strategic Pause isn’t a luxury — it’s a necessity, and it’s surely productive. It’s a tool for improving our work lives, boosting our productivity, and enhancing our mental well-being. It’s about making room for what truly matters and not getting lost in the constant busyness of our modern lives.

How about you? Have you been taking strategic pauses?

--

--

Lia Golledge

Founder Coach. Fractional CMO Remote Skills Academy. Co-Managing Director Girls in Tech Indonesia. Author of 33 books.