Written by Kristin Harrington

Do you know what feels comfy in the workplace? If you thought of typical items like a warm cup of coffee, a blasting space heater, or even a desk blanket, think again.

In today’s workplace, nothing feels cozier than a brisk pace. From the moment you arrive, you’re faced with a new daily challenge, and off you go, racing through the day, barely pausing to process your work but diligently checking off tasks from your to-do list. The pace and the motion it creates have become our place of comfort, our solace—or have they?

I support leaders in every type of industry, many of whom have fallen into the comfort of motion. The typical mindset is that if I’m moving, I’m accomplishing something. Heck, if I’m being honest, this is something I, too, struggle with. Come to work, get moving.

The challenge with pace is that it stops us from thinking critically about the work that matters. Getting caught up in the rush of daily tasks and deadlines is easy. Still, this constant motion can prevent us from stopping to evaluate the bigger picture and ensure we focus on the most important priorities. When we’re always moving, we may miss opportunities for innovation, strategic thinking, and meaningful reflection.

Here’s some real-world wisdom I’ve gathered about the comfort of pace and knowing when to slow down:

The Illusion of Comfort: The illusion of comfort in a fast-paced work environment can be deceiving. While constant motion may initially feel productive and reassuring, it can hide deeper issues such as burnout and a lack of meaningful engagement with our work. Many of us have spent the last four years since the pandemic in perpetual motion. As we renegotiate the workplace, it’s important to recognize that staying busy isn’t always the same as making meaningful progress. Without pausing and reflecting, we risk neglecting our well-being and losing sight of our larger goals.

The Importance of Reflection: Reflection is crucial in ensuring our efforts align with our goals. Pausing to reflect allows us to assess our progress, identify areas for improvement, and realign our focus as needed. In our constant state of motion, it’s rare to pause and ask ourselves, “What are we moving toward?” Without reflection, we risk moving in a direction we don’t want to move or even moving nowhere at all.

Finding Balance: Finding balance is key to maintaining a sustainable and fulfilling work life. While a brisk pace can help us stay productive and feel good sometimes, too much of a good thing isn’t always what’s best. By striking a balance between taking action and being reflective, we can engage in work that matters while moving the needle in the right direction.

Don’t let a perpetual state of motion lull you into taking actions that don’t deliver real results. Keep moving forward, but stop to consider the direction you’re headed occasionally.

Founded in 2004, Lead Star is the company behind New York Times best-sellers SPARKLeading from the Front, and Bet on You. Lead Star supports professionals to reach new levels of success through its innovative coaching programs.