The Power of Pause & Creative Thinking Strategies for Entrepreneurs

Given the time of year we’re entering, I thought it would be helpful to offer some sage advice for all business owners and entrepreneurs.  Between the holiday season, wrapping up end of year tasks and preparing for 2014, the next six weeks will be hectic and frenetic. Like many of the articles I write for this blog, I am writing this article, on creative thinking strategies for entrepreneurs, to myself – as a personal reminder to follow my own advice.

Thumb through your marketing library and I doubt you will find much written about the “power of pause.” In other words, the power of simply taking time to quiet one’s surroundings and mind with the intent of deep, creative thinking, reflection and in some cases, cooling off.

As busy entrepreneurs and business owners, we tend to be in constant “go-mode” and rarely give ourselves time to simply be quiet to clear our heads.  Hopefully most folks reading this take time out of their day to eat right and exercise, but do you also spend time quietly, clearing your mind of mental clutter and noise?

If not (or you don’t do it on a regular basis), I would like to challenge you to consider adding quiet time to your workweek and add the power of pause to your schedule.  If you can be intentional about this effort, I truly believe you will experience positive and possibly even extraordinary results.  Here are some creative thinking strategies for entrepreneurs to consider.

power of pause

Pause to Clear Your Head

Even the most top-performing entrepreneurs need down time.  And by down time, I don’t mean pursuing your outside-of-work hobby or passion – I mean quiet, solitude time with the intention of clearing your head and thinking creatively.  Your sole focus is intentional thought.  Nothing else.

One of the most effective ways to do this, is to simply schedule time where you can go to a special place that helps you clear your head – a place void of electronic interruptions, gadgets, employees and other noise.

For some, it could be a beautiful location outdoors.  For others, it could be as simple as a hidden away nook in a local bookstore.  Wherever it is for you, try to unplug from everything and just give yourself time to think.

Create a special process to get the junk out of your head and allow the creative juices to flow.  For you it might be a special book, music, or even something as simple as a cup of tea.  There is no right or wrong answer (other than trying to get away from noise).

I have my personal place and process and have used it for years.  There is no way I could continue to help so many other people, if I did not take time to pause.


Pause Before Launching a New Idea

Coming up with effective product and service ideas and the marketing that must surround them is not easy.  Give yourself plenty of time to think before acting and use this time to let big, outside-the-box ideas percolate in your creative brain.  During this pause period, jot down spontaneous ideas and thoughts in your own “idea book.”  Challenge yourself to think differently and in new and creative ways.

For example, the time between coming up with the idea for this article and actually writing it was several days.  I had the initial idea and jotted a few notes in my idea book. Then a few days later I was able to quickly write it.

This lends credence to what Dr. Maxwell Maltz described as the subconscious mind and its ability to work for you, without you even being aware it’s working.  My subconscious mind wrote the article for me way before I sat down in front of the computer. If you’ve never read Dr. Maltz’s bestseller, Psycho-Cybernetics, you might want to, in order to gain new insights on how our brains function.

Pause Before Finalizing Marketing Promotions

One of the best pieces of advice I can offer any business owner is to “slow down” your marketing and give yourself time to create the best marketing possible.  I know we’ve all heard the saying “good is good enough,” but I rarely believe that’s true.  Not in this day and age where our prospects and customers have WAY TOO MANY opportunities to spend their money elsewhere.

I’m not saying spend weeks crafting a simple marketing promotion, but I am saying add a 24 hour period where you walk away from the almost finished promotion (the pause) and then revisit it with fresh eyes.  Look at it from a different angle and better yet, put yourself in your target audience’s point of view.  Chances are you’ll be able to make a tweak or two that will make it more effective and appealing to your audience.

Pause Before Doing Something Stupid

Mike are you listening? (sorry, note to self).  In any given week, being a forward-moving business owner offers many opportunities to do something less than brilliant.  Maybe it’s responding a bit too quickly to a customer who is being rude.  Maybe it’s a knee-jerk response to prove you’re right and somebody else is wrong.  Maybe it’s even doing something stupid on social media or email.

Whatever the situation, try to always pause before reacting or doing something that may otherwise cause problems.  Trust me, I know this is not easy, but it’s a worthy goal.

Pause, Then Act

Finally, lest anybody thinks I’m advocating “paralysis by analysis”, I’m not.  I’m simply suggesting add the power of pause to your business efforts.  Whether it’s measured in seconds, minutes or hours, taking intentional time to think creatively, differently and objectively will help you and your business.

What Is Your Best Creative Thinking Strategy? 


I would love to hear your systems and strategies for pausing and taking time to think things through.  The three readers who leave a unique “creative thinking” idea I had not considered will receive a free Mike Capuzzi pocket ideas jotter notepad and pen set.

About Mike Capuzzi

I'm a speaker, author and high impact marketing strategist for business owners and sharp, aggressive entrepreneurs looking to get to the next level in their business. I'm also the the inventor of the world-famous CopyDoodles. CopyDoodles are the world's largest library of handwritten fonts, hand-drawn doodles, comics and more designed to grab attention and boost your marketing results!


  1. Steven Rowell on November 12, 2013 at 10:58 am

    Mike, my newest book, Jumpstart Your Creativity, released September 10, 2013. I am sending you a copy. It has a bunch of proven strategies for boosting creative thinking, ideation and fun solutions for entrepreneurs! Enjoy. If you want a few extra copies to send to your winners let me know.

    • Mike Capuzzi on November 12, 2013 at 11:15 am

      Steven – very good! By all means send a few extra and I will award them to future winners! Thanks.

  2. DAVID LOVE on November 12, 2013 at 10:58 am

    I do two weekly emails. One to my own list and one to a trade magazine in my field. I do my writing usually in the morning a couple of days before the articles are due. I write as thoughts come into my head. I don’t spend much time thinking about correct grammar and that sort of thing. This may sound silly, but once I’m finished with the article, I take a print out and I go out on my back porch, weather permitting, grab a cup of coffee or iced tea and sit and watch the birds and squirrels. I read over what I’ve written. Usually, some additional idea will pop into my head, or a different way to say something; that type of thing. When I think of something, I jot it down on the rough draft. No specified time for this, just until I feel I need to get up. Then I let the whole process rest overnight. I keep a note pad on the night stand and often, another idea will wake me up and I jot it down. I never send anything out the same day it’s written. I am also a big fan of Dr. Maltz.

    • Mike Capuzzi on November 12, 2013 at 11:14 am

      Dave – thanks for your insights. You and I have a similar strategy!

  3. Phil Brakefield on November 12, 2013 at 11:15 am

    At least once a week…but usually about every four days…I plop down on my war torn couch and invite Roxy, my 160 pound rescue Newfoundland, to join me. She happily obliges, puts her head in my lap for some overdue pats and ear rubs, and we both drift off into a magical state somewhere between coma and REM repose, and emerge about a half hour later with a new perspective on the world. Sometimes life just seems to weigh too much, and those breaks with Da Rox lighten the load.

  4. Linda Sherfey on November 12, 2013 at 11:18 am

    I give the issue or question to my subconscious mind. Then so something completely different that is relaxing for me such as jogging or first thing in the morning while thinking about getting out of bed. I’ve even had some of my best ideas while taking a shower! But you have to give your subconscious mind time to let it percolate.

    • Mike Capuzzi on November 12, 2013 at 12:22 pm

      I agree 100% Linda. Thanks for the reminder.

  5. Kelly Santaguida on November 12, 2013 at 11:21 am

    I do yoga and in the final relaxation, it allows you to disconnect your mind from your body if you are truly able to do so. After this, I am energized, grounded and able to see things very clearly that before the hustle and bustle of life would have barely allowed me to notice.
    I also prefer to have the down time you spoke of when working on something. Fresh eyes and a cleared mind allow for perspective and clarity that just can’t compare to whipping out a project at break neck speed. Thanks for the article! It came at a crucial time when I needed this reminder.

    • Mike Capuzzi on November 12, 2013 at 12:23 pm

      Kelly, excellent advice. Having only tried yoga a few times, I never got to the point of finding it relaxing. It’s been something I wanted to revisit, simply for the flexibility benefits.

  6. Here on November 12, 2013 at 12:25 pm

    I am a big fan of multi level brainstorming.

    Write a question at the top of a page. Write as many answers as you can, shoot for 100. Make sure you are getting silly, weird answers … if you aren’t, you have not dug deep enough yet. Then circle the ones you like the most, or combinations.

    Each of those creates a question for a new sheet: “HOW do I …?”

    Narrow it down again. If needed, do more levels, such as in how to get the resources needed, or conquering specific problems or competition for that idea.

    Then pretty much just work the plan you just created.

    There are many other creativity methods, I keep a list of some of them. The biggest problem with most of them is analysis paralysis. You don’t need creativity nearly as much as you do a reasonable plan.

  7. Alan on November 12, 2013 at 10:53 pm

    Hi Mike,

    You are right … allowing yourself the time to pause is a gift that keeps on giving!

    Well for me it’s a morning stint in the old comfy recliner, head phones on, listening to the Vitale/Nixon “Subliminal Alignment Audio” mp3 infused with ho’oponopono cleaning for 10 or 15 minutes. Often times I listen while writing as well. Seems to activate the creative juices.

  8. Damian Eather on November 13, 2013 at 6:31 am

    Because I Do A Lot Of Work From Home I Cannot Start The Day Productively Without A Walk In The Park With My Two Border Collies And Some Social Interaction With Other Dogs And Humans. All The While Strategising My Approach For The Day( Note, No Mobile Phone) Once Home Have An Espresso Coffee With Fresh Fruit Along With Poached Eggs, A Great Start To The Day.
    By The Way I Live In The State Of Queensland, Australia.

    • Mike Capuzzi on November 13, 2013 at 8:00 am

      Damian – nice to hear from you and thanks for your insights.

  9. Neil Sutton on November 13, 2013 at 6:43 am

    Thanks for this post Mike. Definitely needed it.

    Sitting in my basement office for a majority of the daylight hours, the window well behind me is my only connection to the outside world while I work. I imagine it’s similar for people working in an office as well.

    What I do to help rejuvenate and find focus (besides lots of coffee), is surround myself with Art. The key is to make sure it is meaningful to you, and complex enough that you can get lost in it.

    I have a few pieces: a small watercolor my wife made for me of a creek in the woods, where I can “escape to the outdoors” for awhile; a large drawing I did of Notre Dame in Paris, that allows me to really get lost in the details; an interesting close-up photo of leaves showing the many veins branching out; and Klimt’s “The Kiss” a classic with a lot of interesting color and detail.

    By sitting back and studying whatever pieces you have around you, you find something new, or your mind goes someplace new for just a little while. This practice helps with what’s called “sustained attention,” something we all struggle with in today’s fast paced world.

    I hope that’s helpful to somebody.

    • Mike Capuzzi on November 13, 2013 at 8:02 am

      Neil – having a well-designed place to quiet one’s self is important. Personally, I like to remove myself from my day-to-day environment and go to my “thinking place.” Thanks for the note!

  10. Jan Duke on November 16, 2013 at 12:13 pm

    Hi Mike, It’s been a long time since we chatted. As I read your article this morning, I realized that most of my serious contemplation takes place between 4-7 am, long before the roosters rise and the phone rings! No one bothers me and my thinking is clear, after the first cup of coffee, that is.

    I’m up to my neck in real estate, and I get to use my years of marketing ideas, unique and outrageous, when no other agents are willing to travel there. Their loss, my gain. I moved from ReMax Gold to Keller Williams this past March and have never looked back. Numbers are fabulous, close to 0 debt, a great position for me, in the spring of old age.

    You always have great ideas!

    Jan Duke, former IBA

    • Mike Capuzzi on November 16, 2013 at 12:30 pm

      Hi Jan! Long time, no talk indeed. Glad to hear you are well and thanks for the tip!

  11. Go from blah, blah to BIG AH-HA! - Mike Capuzzi on September 30, 2014 at 2:19 pm

    […] there is no shortcut here. It requires effort, thought and the ability to think creatively, but here are a few ways to get you […]

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