I’ve been quiet for a few days, as I have had an enforced pause. An international flight ran into problems, and I ended up with 8 hours of the night stranded in an empty airport, away from connectivity and most of my belongings.

Pauses are powerful things. Time to reflect. To think. Time to realise. To resolve. Much is being made of ‘going slow’ these days, with sites like slow leadership expounding the reasons for going slow (great site!).

My wife plays netball, and as we were talking about this, she told me about the ‘three second rule’ in that game. When you receive the ball, you have to pass it within three seconds. That sounds like a rush, a hurry. However, as players are coached, they are taught to use ALL of that three seconds before passing. New players almost always end up passing the ball too quickly, they don’t get the most of the pause. They still act, you have to move the ball on, but take the three seconds first. Stop and think, before passing.

Could we use the three second rule in life? A forced gap between action and reaction. An enforced time to think, before we act. A pause between the demand and the doing. For some little tasks, it is easy to end up spending more time thinking about it than doing it. That isn’t efficient. However, it is all to easy to get caught up doing the wrong things. A pause for thought to say “is this the right thing to do right now?” can be a valuable check. We do have to do – after those three seconds, the player has to act, – to move quickly. But getting things done quickly doesn’t come from doing them in a rush. One of the fun things about ThinkingRock is that it enforces that pause and creates some structured reflection, if it is used correctly. Very useful.

Whatever you are doing, happy pausing!