This is post 8 in a 12 post blogging challenge I’m doing through The Blogging Badass.
Whew! Puppies are tiring. I’d forgotten that having a puppy in the house is like having a human baby in the house. They are demanding. They need constant supervision. They poo and pee on the carpet — puppies, not babies (hopefully).
Because I work from home and because we have a new puppy, Murray, in the house with me I have had to be creative when it comes to caring for him, making certain he doesn’t chew through electrical cords and getting my client work done.
Here are my five tips for getting stuff done with a puppy in the house:
- Be patient. Remember that the puppy doesn’t know you’re on deadline. He only knows that he is hungry, has to poo or just wants love. The minute that you take away from the keyboard to pet him or toss a toy or the five minutes that you spend walking him so that he will learn to poo and pee out of doors will not make or break your deadlines. HINT: If your time is so tightly regimented that a five minute break every hour or two will break your deadlines you need to rethink your schedule. Remember to build a buffer into your daily to-dos. It could be a literal life saver. I didn’t have a time cushion prior to my breast cancer diagnosis so when I was facing surgeries, treatments and recovery I had to quickly rethink my schedule. I made it work and and found a way to work fewer hours but bring in more money!
- Sequester. I prop Murray’s crate in the doorway of the office. He can go in there and sleep when he’s tired and it also keeps him sequestered into one part of the house. This alleviates my wondering what he is up to because it’s so quiet. His bucket of toys is in the room. Henrietta, the Diva Poodle, is in here with us and she has a bed on the futon so she can get away from her annoying brother. HINT: Sequester your daily to-dos into blocks of time that make sense or by priority.
- Eliminate distractions. Let’s face it, puppies are easily distracted. Squirrel! I’ve had to puppy proof the office and other areas of the house. It keeps him safe and it keeps me from wondering if he’s chewing my shoes or eating a book or licking an electrical outlet. Murray has a bucket of toys and other appropriate puppy items to keep him amused. HINT: When you’re working on a project, eliminate distractions such as email pop up notifications and social media update pings. Don’t multitask. You will not be more productive.
- Tire him out. An active puppy is a tired puppy. I take Murray and Henrietta for walks every hour and a half to two hours. He romps around the yard. Bounces on Henrietta. Rolls in the grass. Barks at flowers and trees. A ten minute walk is enough to tire him out and he will happily come back to the office, plop himself down, chew on a bone or toy and fall happily asleep. HINT: Take time to enjoy your down time. Take a nap if that works for you. When you’re away from your desk, enjoy the distractions as a way to refresh your mind. A refreshed mind is a productive, creative mind.
- Set a time limit. I now know that when Murray is tuckered out he will sleep for close to two hours. Because I know that I know I can delve into a tough project and devote at least an hour and a half to it before I have to attend to his needs — I keep that half hour buffer just in case he decides to wake up earlier. I plan on being interrupted earlier than the two hours I’ve set aside and plan around it so I don’t stress over it. HINT: Have a task you’re dreading? Set a timer for X amount of time (I suggest at least 30 minutes) and dive into it. Anyone can face anything for 30-minutes, right?) If you find yourself procrastinating a task, add it to your to-do list, set a timer and have at it.
An additional tip for getting work done with a puppy in the house? Enjoy the puppy times. They will be fleeting.