This post is not my typical blog post but it's been such a crucial part of my productivity (and lack of productivity) that I finally decided to touch on it.
For those of you who don't know, I have a 3-year-old bulldog named Bella.
She also goes by:
And "BELLA NOOOO"
Let it be known that my husband and I do not have any children, just one 75lb potato who will keep you warmer than a heated blanket during all times of the year. She somehow finds a way to continually sleep so close to me that I often feel like we are one combined sleeping entity.
Like most obsessed pet parents, I'm obsessed with my dog, I love her fiercely, and spoil her in an attempt to somehow make up for all the other babies out there that don't get all the love :(
What "they" say is true. Once Bella turned 3, she kind of magically calmed down, started listening to commands more and isn't quite as rebellious. Although she has her moments.
One of the biggest struggles I've had as a bulldog Mom is that Bella is NEEDY, clingy, and always down for snuggles and naps - which has turned her into my best friend but also my worst enemy when it comes to getting my Pomodoro sprints in and making sure I can record podcasts at length.
Today I thought I'd share some of the (probably obvious) and also simple tricks and tips that have helped me set better boundaries with myself (and her) and allowed me to get more done without being coaxed into yet another mid-afternoon nap.
1) A tired dog = a happy dog + chunks of solid work time
One thing I haven't always been consistent with Bella (or myself) since starting my business is getting in a good chunk of movement first thing in the morning.
I always feel so good when I do and it always boosts my productivity but if you've ever worked from home (for yourself or someone else) you know just how tempting it can be to roll out of bed, grab some coffee, and pray that no one wants to see you on video for the rest of the day because you don't plan on showering (or pants-ing)
Getting up on time (and consistently), getting out the door for a big walk boosts my mood, gets the blood flowing and the brain working, and also gets Bella moving and grooving. An hour walk in the morning can FEEL like a lot of time in the morning first thing but it pays off for the rest of the day.
2) Setting personal boundaries is important, always
This is pretty obvious but it's also been a reality check since getting Bella. I learned a thing or two like the fact that I'm a helicopter pet mom. Bulldogs by nature are pretty needy, she wants to be next to me or on top of me at all times, but mama's also gotta get some work done!
Being firm with her, when she needs to go in her crate to calm down, and that she can't paw at me constantly when I'm at my desk was something I straight up wasn't consistent with the first year or two of her existence. Sounds silly, right? Something I needed to learn first hand I guess.
Suggested Podcast Episode: How to Establish Clear Personal Boundaries for Mindful Relationships & Time Management
3) Routines can make or break you
One thing I've learned about Bella is that she thrives on routine. The dog's got some amazing kind of internal clock. I know this because if it's even a minute past 8pm she's huffing and puffing and whining because she wants bedtime. Sticking to solid routines for her has also helped me stick to better routines for myself.
Getting up at the same time, going to bed at the same time (this is NOT always perfect), eating meals at regular times. It's been the glue that holds my life together at times.
4) It's important to slow down and take time to be still
I've heard many times before that dogs are the keepers of the present moment and it couldn't be truer. On walks Bella reminds me to stop and breathe in the fresh air, to go without my phone, and to take in the beauty of the outdoors. Doing this more often has helped me be worlds more productive by reducing my stress levels and creating a balance to my days.
Do you have a dog that needs your constant attention? Tell me about it in the comments below!