3 Reasons My New Puppy is Terrible at Time Management

This past week, we were adopted by a puppy named Molly, (who many of you saw on Facebook.) As with tiny humans, tiny dogs consume a good deal of your time and energy. In the past seven days, I have discovered that the new addition to our family is terrible at time management. I tried to explain to her that since her mommy is a time management speaker, this behavior would have to change immediately, but so far I’ve only received tail-wags and face-licks in response. I take this to mean she is deeply considering my suggestions. Allow me to explain what I’ve observed…

3 Reasons Molly is Terrible at Time Management

1) She is Easily Distracted

Molly was not potty trained, so I have taken on that endeavor this week. She goes outside with one mission: pee on the grass. When we leave the house, she is goal-oriented and focused. She prances proudly to the side yard, with purpose and determination. Then the neighbor’s dog barks…and she sees a leaf on the ground…and a bird flies by. Pretty soon, all sense of her original goal is gone and I’m left to stand outside for 20 minutes in the hot Arizona sun.  When we allow ourselves to be distracted, moving haphazardly from one task to the next, our work takes longer. We must approach our tasks with laser-like focus, tuning out distractions until we are finished. Short bursts of focused work are more effective than long stretches of unfocused work.

2) She Doesn’t Plan Ahead

Molly refuses to eat when I put her bowl down at dinnertime, but then whines during the night when she’s hungry. I tried to calmly explain to her that 6pm is dinnertime and 10pm is sleeping time, but sadly, they don’t seem to make calendars for puppies. We are all guilty of putting off tasks we don’t want to do. We become very skilled at rationalizing our procrastination, but that only worsens the problem. Don’t let yourself continually put off tasks, and then whine when you’re stressed right before the deadline.

3) She Panics in New Situations

The first night I put Molly in her crate, you’d think I had put her in mortal danger. She flailed about, barking and crying for hours. Her circumstance was clearly not changing any time soon, but she continued to expend her energy complaining about it. This blatant waste of energy upsets me. When we’re faced with new situations, or a sudden change of circumstance, we must keep calm and adapt quickly.  To do anything else is a waste of our time. We are the most productive when we can keep a cool head in stressful situations.

Molly will get better at all of these things because she has humans training her, however, we will only get better at time management if we train ourselves to form good habits.

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