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The Music-Preneur Mindset Podcast Suz Paulinski Push or Pause

#97 | Is it Time to Push or Pause?

Hold that thought.

Is it burnout or fear? Is it laziness or self-care? Find out how to identify when it’s time to push harder and when it’s time to hit pause and reassess your next steps.

Usually it’s a good idea to hit pause when the instinct is to push.

You’re listening to Episode 97 of the Music-Preneur Mindset Podcast.

Hello! You’re listening to Episode 97: Is It Time to Push or Pause?.

I’m your host, Suz, a mindset + productivity coach helping music professionals get clear on their goals, priorities, and next steps all while decreasing overwhelm and avoiding burnout.

This episode is brought to you by my new 90-minute live training on 3/24 @ 4pm EST – Tapping into Your Vision. During this training I’ll be guiding you on how to rewire those limiting beliefs through the art of EFT, also known as tapping. We’ll then identify your most top priorities AND create a specific and powerful vision board to attract the exact energy, things, and people needed to help you fulfill that vision.

You can RSVP by signing up on the show notes page – – or DM me on Instagram @rockstaradvo and let me know you’d like to come and we’ll get you signed up!

In the meantime, I want to talk about what happens when you don’t avoid the burnout. When you’re at the point of complete overwhelm and you’ve lost sight of not only where to put your focus, but even where to find your focus.

How do you know if it’s time to push harder or hit pause?

If you’ve listened to any of my previous episodes on this podcast, I think you know what I’m going to say – usually it’s a good idea to hit pause when the instinct is to push.

But how do you knooooowww?

You’ve got to make a choice and obviously the outcome will let you know if it was the right one.

But how can you tell the difference between being scattered and needing to buckle down and get organized vs. stepping away and taking time to recharge and gain perspective?

How do you avoid pushing harder only to trip up and realize you should have taken a break?

How do you side step the other times you avoid work feeling incredibly anxious because you know deep down you’re not burnt out, you’re simply dragging your feet for reasons ranging from boredom to fear and lack of clarity?

There’s not an exact science to it, sometimes our minds can play tricks on us and we’ll make the wrong call, however there are a few things you can do to increase your chances of making the right call.

First off, as I’ve said many times on this podcast, it all goes back to your why. Start there. Are you still connected to it? Does it still excite you? Do you still want to pursue what you’re pursuing? Are you overwhelmed or disconnected?

If you are feeling disconnected, walk away. Hit pause. Take a break and gain perspective, find inspiration, let your thoughts process and percolate and come back to either reconnect with your why or create a new one. This can take an hour or a day or a weekend to shake off any disinterest.

If you’re overwhelmed, take it a step further.

First, mind dump all the thoughts and tasks roaming around in your head. Yes, you have the time to do this. Look at it this way, not doing this will only cause you to waste more time spinning out, so let’s get to it.

Then, look it over – what are the immediate/time-sensitive things that jump out at you? What can you take action on NOW?

Mind mapping also helps in order to visually see all of the moving pieces of your career. Put your goal and/or why in the middle and start branching out based on categorizing the various tasks and ideas on your mind dumped list.

Using a free app like Simple Mind Lite can help you quickly and easily create a map that can start giving you the clarity and organization you’re likely craving. I’ve left a link to the the app in the show notes page at

Once you’re able to see what needs your focus and attention, sit with it. Breathe in deep and exhale. Do you feel more at peace or did it not make a dent? Are you starting to see what your next steps are or is this all or this making you want to run for cover? Maybe you weren’t even able to get through the mind dump. If that’s the case you are officially burnt out and you need to hit pause.

If you’ve been able to get through all of those steps and you’re feeling calmer, amazing! All you needed was to start taking back control and getting more organized in your approach. But don’t get it twisted, you don’t need to push harder to get back on track. You need to think smarter and work with more intention.

If this is you, this is exactly the reason I’m doing my free training on 3/24. We’ll be walking through mind mapping and vision boarding your priorities in order to decrease that overwhelm BEFORE you hit that burnout.

When you’ve determined you’ve already reached that point the question then becomes, “Ok, I’ll hit pause, but for how long?” And, “What does hitting pause look like for me?

Hitting pause can be tricky, especially if your music career isn’t your only job, and even if it is, there’s that whole global pandemic stuff happening and hitting pause may not feel doable right now. So what’s next?

First off, if you’ve got another job, take some time to figure out if you can take paid leave, sick days, or if pausing your music career right now will be enough of a break. There’s no one right answer for these decisions, as it’s an extremely personal decision when it comes to your livelihood and the responsibilities you may have to the dependents in your life.

That being said, burnout doesn’t just expire after a few days. If you don’t take it seriously, it can lead to additional health issues and your work will certainly never get better. Do what you can and reeealllly ask yourself what is possible when making time to unplug.

Next, set a deadline for your pause. Maybe it’s limited and you can only afford a day off. If that’s the case, make a commitment to say “No” more often for a longer period of time, keep an autoresponder on your emails for a few days, and pause all extra activities, even if that includes your music career. Again, the length of time you do this for is a personal choice. You can always set aside a week and go longer if needed upon further reflection, or cut it short if you begin to feel motivated and inspired.

You’re not locked into your time off, remember you’re in full control here, but not setting a deadline can cause you to fall down the rabbit hole of filling up your time with other “busy work” rather than taking a break with the intention of jumping back into your passion. Once you’ve determined your break, start preparing for it so you can actually let go. If you’re able to give yourself some time you can plan ahead and begin letting your audience know you’ll be taking a break or scheduling posts to go out while you’re gone.

You can set an autoresponder on your emails and determine what tasks you can delegate to others on your team. Or, you can draw a line in the sane when it comes to the immediate tasks you MUST get done before checking out (and really challenge yourself here when it comes to determining true urgency) and then organize a list of most immediate tasks that will require your attention when you’re back.

If you’re so burnt out to the point where you’re incapable of doing any of that prep work, first take an immediate day off – a literal mental health day, two if you can – and then look at your calendar and plan for a more extended break within the current month.

Once you’ve decided when and how you’ll take your extended break, determine what you’ll do during that break. Maybe it’s absolutely NOTHING. Maybe it’s more time with family. Maybe it’s reading for pleasure or creating music with zero expectations. Maybe it’s a romantic getaway. No matter what it is, set an intention and do your best to stick to the boundaries you’ve set when it comes to notifications or being on social media. Remember, you’re HITTING PAUSE.

You’re not “not doing work.” There IS a difference.

People who are lazy don’t do work. People who need to recharge take a break and hit pause.

Meaning, don’t fill the time you’re not working on tasks that are just as exhausting and stressful, like comparative paralysis on social media.

Believe me, I know what I’m talking about. I’ve spent enough time being burnt out to know exactly when it’s creeping up. In fact, as this episode is going live I’m on my weeklong vacation from work.

When lockdown hit I was hit with the grief of losing a close family member on the anniversary of my dad’s passing. I immediately took 2 weeks off without any prep time to be with family and begin to process my grief.

Obviously, the break was a little messy and I still kept in touch with my team. Luckily, my righthand gal Jenn did an amazing job of stepping up and handling what she could while I was checked out.

I then came back to a music community who was also grieving and I jumped in to show support and show up as much as I could for musicians and other industry professionals. Before you know it, it was December and I was preparing for Planchella at the end of the month, realizing I would not be taking a holiday break.

January came and I signed on more projects, and that excitement and motivation brought me into February. However, by then I could feel the familiar feelings of burnout. Great things were happening in my business and all I was feeling was overwhelm. I was unable to celebrate the amazing milestones I was having because I was too focused on doing the very next thing.

I spoke with my team, my clients, and consulted my Planner to determine a week I could take off without adding more stress. I knew the anniversary would be particularly difficult so I decided to take that week off and my intention around it was to heal and simply be. I also wanted to deep clean my home and clean up my workspace. I knew that certain projects and commitments would need my attention and could not be handed off to others so I decided
to choose ONE day during this week to address work related tasks. All other days would be strictly off emails and other work.

When it came to social media, I did my best to schedule certain posts, however I knew I wasn’t going to make it a week off of Instagram. SO I set boundaries – limiting when I’d have my phone on me, and agreeing to set an alarm for the time I’d be on socials.

These rules may not sound like a vacation, however these rules allow the break to actually be that – a break. It can be too easy to fall back into things when you don’t set clear intentions of how to use your time off.

Another thing I did was plan a day to day dream. Not work, not carry out any ideas, but simply gather my thoughts and tune back into my passions. I would then dive into these ideas and expand on them once I was back at work.

I’ll let you know on Instagram how the break went and what I learned from it once I’m back so be sure to come say hi when I’m back on March 22. You can find me @rockstaradvo.

Until then, consider your own situation right now. Are you motivated? Burnt out? Disconnected? What will you do about it? Do you need further guidance or do you simply need to hit pause?

Either way, know that you’re not alone and that your entitled to time off. Working towards your dreams doesn’t mean it’s not work and taking time off doesn’t mean you don’t want it badly enough. In fact, taking time off means you want it more and you realize you need to be around for the long game.

I hope you’l consider joining me next Wednesday, 3/24 for my 90-min free training on Tapping Into Your Vision at 4pm EST. I’ll be well-rested by then so you KNOW I’ll be bringing my A+ game. You can RSVP using the form in the show notes or clicking the link in my bio on Instagram. You’re not in this alone, but the decisions are yours to make.

Thank you so much for listening and if you haven’t already, be sure to subscribe on your platform of choice as I’ll be back every week with a brand new episode! And if you like what you’ve heard I’d love it if you’d rate, follow, leave a review, or share from your favorite platform.

Until next time, Rock/Star. Keep planning, keep learning, and I hope to see you back here next week so we can get grounded to get rising! Take care.

Key Highlights

  • Join me for a Tapping Into Your Vision webinar on March 24th at 4:00pm EST
  • Signs you’re approaching burnout
  • The difference between being burnt out and procrastinating
  • How to use your WHY, Mind Dumping, and Mind Mapping to solidify your next steps
  • Steps you can take to make your break as seamless as possible for your business
  • Setting boundaries and creating a plan for your time off
  • Do you feel like YOU need a break right now? What plan do you have in place to regroup and recharge?
    • Tell us in the comments!


  • Theme music brought to you by DC-based Indie/Pop band Sub-Radio
  • More podcast episodes can be found here
  • You can download a copy of the episode’s transcript here
  • Our Sponsor: Tapping Into Your Vision webinar on March 24th at 4:00pm EST below and get my From Flustered to Focused Checklist when you sign up!
  • Create your free mind map with Simple Mind Lite
  • Wanna work together?? Schedule your call here

Thanks for listening!

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