Issue #38: Puppy Constraints

Two weeks ago my wife and I got a corgi. Cici’s adorable, but she’s put some tight constraints on my time. 

During the first week, getting work done was challenging. I didn’t feel productive and found myself frustrated with my reduced working hours and constant breaks. But as we finish the second week together, I’ve begun to think that perhaps these constraints are positive, even beneficial. I now have half as many hours in the day to work and thus am forced to make them as productive as possible. 

Wasting time is out as are unnecessary calls or appointments. And work that could be better done by other folks (and that I’m not particularly good at) is being handed off to experts, saving me time and improving overall quality. As an example, I’m outsourcing more of my website and email work to David to handle to free up time for more value-add tasks.

Puppy time constraints also force me to raise my bar for new work I take on. I need to think about how much time a new project or meeting will cost and if it makes sense in the grand scheme of my work to add it to my calendar. When my time was more unlimited I could take on virtually any project or meeting without issue. But in needing a leaner calendar, the hurdle has risen. 

This all isn’t to say puppy constraints are all positive. So far I have interacted less on Twitter, been slightly less responsive over email, reached out to fewer interesting folks, struggled to schedule calls around nap times, and had a podcast recording interrupted for significant time. I believe these constraints will loosen over time as she gets older and more trained however and I’ll adjust completely to the new schedule and routine. I consider these struggles to be growing pains to be ironed out over time and I know the future is very positive, even if it is hard today. 

What constraints do you work within for your work and how do you manage them? Family, kids, pets, other work? Have they forced you to become more focused? Have you noticed benefits to having more restricted time windows to get work done?


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