The Power of Pause

The Power of Pause is always present in nature
image courtesy of

What did you say again? 

How did I get here?

Why did I do that?

What happened just now?

ADDers are people in perpetual motion – motion of body, motion of thought and motion of e-motion. We are always moving in one form or another.

The fact we’re seldom static makes it difficult to keep track our position in the world. Heck, half the time we don’t even know where we are in the middle of a conversation!

Being frequently distracted means not being here and not getting things done. Which actually means …

we are doing too much of something – and not enough of another.

The fact is, ADD is not so much a disorder of deficit but of management, as Russell Barkley tells us. It is attention mismanagement we struggle with the most.

But here’s a surprise: attention is not a finite commodity. We can have more of it, whenever we want. In fact, we can have as much as we’ll ever need! But first we must learn how to manage the attention span we already have.

Instead of reacting – we can act.

Instead of blurting – we can listen. Then choose our words and the right time to say them.

Instead of being led by whims – we can think things through and make deliberate moves.

But how?

The power of pause is the superpower that puts you in control. (Click to tweet)

Check in with yourself and decide – where is my attention? How is this serving me? Is my attention where I need it to be right now? Is it where I intend it to be? Do I need to shift it?

I know you think I’m crazy for telling you this. You think that having ADD means you don’t have the skills to pause or focus. You don’t believe that you can shift your attention as easily as flicking to another channel on the TV.

I am telling you: YOU MOST CERTAINLY CAN.

Of course, you have to practice. The power of pause can only be realized after much, much practice. But isn’t it something worth practising?

If the management of your attention is central to many of your challenges, how could you not resolve to reign it in and show it who’s the boss?

Yep, you are the boss of your attention. I know it’s a freakishly absurd concept, especially when your paradigm is one of deficit.

But think of it another way. Right now, you don’t speak Italian (as far as I know!). But if you spent an hour every day – reading, writing and conversing in Italian – eventually you would become fluent.

With concerted effort, you can become fluent in attention as well. Yes, there is more to ADD than paying attention. There are other factors to bring into consideration. But the mismanagement of attention is an undisputed underpinning of many of our challenges.

Always late… how’s your attention to time? What’s distracting you from getting out the door on time?

Losing things… where is your attention when you are putting objects down after using them?

Behind in your duties… where is your focus when you are busy but not engaged?

Attention can always be managed better – no matter how short of a span you seem to have. Managing it better will do nothing but help any other challenges you face.

The best part? You can practice anywhere, any time.

Pause – in conversations, when making choices, while going about your day or whenever you have been doing something for a long time. Pause before committing to a request or whenever you are experiencing an unpleasant emotional state.

Pause when you wake up in the morning and before you go to bed at night. Practice at key times in the day, set an alarm, put up notes for yourself. Do it whenever you notice emotional shifts.

Just do it. And do it some more. And a little bit more. And a lot more.

Sooner or later you won’t need to practice. You will be fluent in attention. Practice starts now.

With just a little pause.