So after my previous article where I shared my thoughts on finding my routine I wanted to share something else that helped me, taking Lucky to work with me. Lucky was my rescued Bichon Frise who was adopted from the shelter at Battersea before my small business was launched. Previously he had a routine to make sure he was walked and fed whilst we were at work. However, launching our small business that added a slightly unusual problem that needed an urgent and permanent solution.
I know that this article might seemingly not mean anything to some people reading this, you may not have a pet, you might not have the luxury to take yours to wherever you spend your day or you simply cannot do it for your own reason. However, I’m not certain if perhaps you also have an intriguing personal conundrum that needs some out of the box thinking to make sure it can be resolved or maintained.
As I have never experienced the joy of my own children, Lucky was the closest obvious option. For two years, evenings and weekends would be spent spoiling him at home and in the park. Starting the business obviously took its toll on him as his appointments to the groomers slowed and although he would never say anything, obviously, that he did not enjoy having less attention. I imagine that if you are a parent, particularly with smaller children, it must be difficult to juggle the time and make sure it’s balanced enough for work and family life. But by taking Lucky to work with me it helped to resolve whatever issues that arose during our time away from home and it also helped and offered respite to some of the stress that would come up from time to time.
There is some scientific evidence of the joy and happiness that having a pet can have. However it’s not just elevated happiness levels that you will enjoy, it’s also a longer life! So how did Lucky Lucky help me to successfully manage my business, time and stress levels? Well, part of his previous routine was a walk in the park at around 4 pm. I managed to continue with this so that he was enjoying an uninterrupted routine, but it also helped to break up my day. As I would generally start my day anytime before 9 am, I would spend at least 30 minutes in the park with him playing with the ball, which I would always have to fetch, and I did this without my phone. As with many businesses these days I could control so much from my phone, then there were the never-ending emails of course.
By doing this I would switch off, get some fresh air and a little exercise. I would suggest eating an apple too if I wanted to sound like a doctor! As well as this it would also allow time to think, just like I would in the shower in the morning. This time became invaluable some days, as after a stressful morning and afternoon, I would be able to decompress and try to find solutions to problems and issues that would have arisen during the day. Most importantly however was the fact that I would get back to my computer at around 4.30pm so that I could still find the best and most appropriate direction or solution and have them managed, emailed out or implemented before the end of the working day. As most of the businesses I worked with would operate with regular 9-5 business hours, this would be a fortunate or unfortunate period to make sure my life was easier and business grew.
How animals help you at work
So looking at how this has helped with stress relief, it immediately has. You don’t have any lingering issues and you have managed your time more effectively as you can now move forward with other tasks. With this, it also shows you as a sensible, fast forward thinker and level headed entrepreneur to your suppliers and businesses that you work and partner with. Imagine what that could mean looking longer-term to these guys?
Let’s not forget how you look towards your customers when you take your pet to work. My in-store customers and social media followers saw that I was a real person with real-life and some real-life problems. Lucky was never hidden in my store and everyone loved him, but who wouldn’t love a small white fluffy dog? He was also a regular feature on our 9 social media channels where people again saw that we were real people with real lives.
Both businesses that I worked with and my customers, physical and online, also saw that I was not a robot. To offer an example of how this worked well for me, there was one particular day I took calls from customers when I was in the waiting room of the vets surgery who I spoke too and assisted but when asking for a little time as I was at the vet with my dog, the honesty and transparency helped to show my dedication to real life as well my desire to keep people happy and grow my business. Overall, what I gained most of all were their trust and respect. Honesty and integrity will go a long way, but I’m sure that I don’t need to tell you that.
So what happens when you don’t have a dog as I do. or if you have your own reasons as to why you can’t take your dog to work. Can you take your children to work, your rabbit, can you somehow accommodate a singing yellow canary bird in your workspace or a goldfish bowl?
The fact that I managed to make accommodations, maintain Lucky’s regular routine and spend time with him, whilst alleviating stress did make me feel better about working all the time. To be incredibly cliche here for a minute, it was empowering and with the unexpected respect I gained from peers helped bolden me so some of the stress and anxiety just disappeared at times, as at the end of the day I would think what was I so afraid of? Very randomly I have the theme tune to Charlie’s Angels running through my mind, but whatever makes you tick I suppose!