The secret’s out
I have a confession and I really don’t know how to tell you. Alongside my passion for working with dogs I have another more secret obsession that I’ve been hiding from you.
The sad truth of the matter is that I’m a complete productivity nerd. Yes, it’s true. I just love getting stuff done.
And then I got thinking maybe, just maybe there was a way of combining my passions. There is a fair amount of established wisdom about the kind of things that make you more productive. I should know. I read about it. A lot. And the thing is, I can see some of these things reflected in the ways dogs behave. But let’s face facts. Fido is never going to share these things with you. So it looks like it’s down to me.
Seven things your dog knows about productivity that they’re never going to tell you
1. Get up early
The early bird catches the worm, or so the adage goes, and if your dogs are anything like mine, they’re raring to go at 5:30 in the morning.
Starting the day early enables you to get on top of all those important tasks for the day, plan out your key actions and make progress on your important projects. But not everyone is a lark. If you’re an owl you are no doubt better in the evening. The secret is to plan your day so that you’re focused on your most important work when you’re most alert.
It feels great to have a good stretch when you wake up and your muscles, and your dog, agree.
When you sleep, your muscles lose tone and fluid tends to pool along your back. Stretching helps to massage fluid gently back into the normal position. Also, your muscles protect themselves from over-extension by inhibiting the nerve impulses as they approach their limit.
Have you noticed that your dog usually has a good stretch as soon as they get up? That’s the reason why. It’s odd that they’ve never mentioned it to you before but dogs are funny like that.
I’m not talking about a full stretching routine here. That wouldn’t be good. Just a complete body stretch to send you on your way. If you’re not sure what I’m talking about, ask your dog.
3. Drink lots of water
Not many of us drink enough water but our dogs usually do. Water plays a crucial role in supporting the function of the brain. It helps transport oxygen and nutrients critical to the brain for optimal function, whilst providing cushioning and lubrication to the brain tissue. I have to confess that I probably don’t drink enough water throughout the day but I always drink a pint on rising.
4. Keep fit and keep moving
Your dog needs no motivation to keep fit and get moving. Dogs are natural athletes and just love to run around. Some of us more inclined to be couch potatoes but all the evidence suggests that having a fit body has lots of positive spin offs for our brain power too. Fortunately you have the perfect training partner and coach at hand. Why not try walking a bit more briskly, Cani-Cross or one of my Canine Nordic Walking sessions. Your brain and your dog will thank you for it.
5. Be like a dog with a bone
Sometimes you need a degree of tenacity to get stuff done. Let’s face it, we’re all prone to procrastination but sometimes you just have to power through those routine mundane tasks or face your fears with some of those bigger tasks. I find it helpful to think why I might be procrastinating. Am I putting the task off because it’s boring or am I a bit frightened of putting myself out there. Once I have identified why I’m procrastinating and the consequences of not doing something I can usually find a way through, just like your dog with a bone.
6. Power nap
Your dog is constantly napping throughout the day and, whilst I don’t recommend that as a way of getting things done, occasionally I will indulge in a power nap to recharge my batteries. Experts recommend napping for no more than 20 minutes during the day. Any longer and you risk going into a deep sleep and waking up drowsy and unable to crack on with all those important tasks.
Your dog probably has three clear priorities for their day – going for a walk, eating and spending as much time with you as possible. Just like your dog, you’ll be more effective if you can prioritise your three most important tasks for the day. If you get those done you can always pick another task to do or you could congratulate yourself on being so productive and help your dog with their to-do list by taking them for a walk.
So there you are. The cat’s out the bag now and I’ve probably annoyed your dog by sharing these canine productivity secrets but look on the bright side, Fido. Your owner is going to have more time to spend with those most important in their life and, knowing them as I do, that’s bound to be you.