Ok, I can see the eye rolls already, but allow me to explain!
It’s always been a dream of mine to have my own dog, and last August, the perfect opportunity came up for me to bring home a beautiful Cockapoo (a Cocker Spaniel crossed with a Miniature Poodle), and I wasn’t going to say no!
As anyone who’s ever brought a puppy home will tell you, it’s no easy task! I slept on the sofa for a few days next to her crate as she sobbed her little heart out, and spent the daytime hours following her around checking she wasn’t weeing on the lounge carpet, chewing the kitchen cupboards or ripping the fluff out of one of her toys. As you can expect, a few sleepless nights, and lots of puppy fun during the day didn’t exactly make me an ideal candidate for being a productive business owner. But as we both settled into our new environments, things started to change… for the better!
She brings structure to the day.
My days used to start by waking up and then diving straight into doing work. I didn’t really have a set time when I would wake up or start work. Compare that to now where Willow wakes me up at 6am without fail, we go out for a walk, enjoy the outdoors in all weathers. I contemplate and consolidate everything going on in my head, think through ideas, listen to music, listen to podcasts to learn more about business, life and wellbeing… it’s a great way to start the day and a great way to disconnect from the day-to-day realities of running a business. And, it’s making me more fit and active in the process too!
After our morning walk, Willow tends to sleep for most of the day at my feet whilst I work, and then comes alive and has a burst of energy in the evenings which forces me to stop working, and enjoy some “rest”. Having regular short breaks throughout the day to let her out in the garden energises me, provides the opportunity to reset, and means I return to my desk with a fresh perspective.
She’s a great companion.
Just because I work for myself, doesn’t mean I have to work by myself. It’s nice to have the feeling that there’s someone else around, and a little warming heartbeat on my feet whilst I work is lovely. She’s great to talk to and run ideas past too! Ok I’m joking, I don’t really have conversations with Willow (or do I? It’s usually very one sided anyway!).
She improves my process.
Having a dog has forced me to question my process. Do I really need to go on an hour round trip for a meeting? Which also means arranging for someone to look after Willow too? Or could it simply be a phone call, or perhaps a Skype meeting if face-to-face communication is needed?
My week used to be fairly fluid with regards to when I would complete certain tasks. Compare that to now where I have a bit more structure on when I do specific jobs e.g. arranging prospective client calls for Wednesday mornings, working on proposals for prospective clients on Wednesday afternoons, having any in-person meetings after my morning walk… leaving the afternoons for creativity, ideas and inspiration. This more structured way of working, helps me to think more clearly and reduces cognitive load by grouping similar tasks together.
She gives me a purpose.
Having someone to think about other than yourself, and having someone who relies on you… that’s quite daunting! But when I think “I don’t really fancy going for a walk today”… I have to, because my four-legged friend is relying on me. I have to be responsible with my choices and decisions e.g. “If I do this, how will that affect Willow?”. She makes me question and prioritise the things that are most important to me.
She makes me more productive.
With only so many hours in the day, and the need to fit in a walk amongst other things, I have to determine what’s most important to get done each day, and in the hours that I am working, I have to be more productive too.
She puts a smile on my face.
Working for yourself is hard work, and ignore anyone who tells you otherwise! So having someone/something to snuggle, play with, and pause with is a great way to destress.
She’s makes my income more consistent.
Yes, really! Since getting Willow in August, I’ve consistently turned over more than three times the months which came before her. I guess a culmination of all of the above, hard work, perseverance and more experience as a business owner has resulted in a thriving business, and I couldn’t be happier. Maybe having a bit of distraction every day isn’t so bad after all?
I wasn’t joking when I said she’d transformed my business! If you fancy following all of our adventures, follow us on Instagram.