By Holly Doering

1.) If You Give Someone a Second Chance, You Are Sure to Benefit Too.

The latest addition to our family, a Blue Heeler, got in trouble at her original home for chasing livestock. Through a friend of a friend, we learned the little dog’s story and rescued her. She has a forever home with us and she seems grateful. I never expected to fall in love with an animal weighing just 21 pounds—I’ve always been a “big dog” person. But she has brought so much joy and serendipity to our lives!

Why not give someone else a second chance today—a coworker perhaps. Most people are just doing the best they can, given what they know. Forgive them for a perceived wrong they may have done you and more forward with a joyful spirit.

2.)    Focus. Focus. Focus.

Anyone who shares their life with an Australian Cattle Dog already knows—they can’t be distracted from their pursuit of their passion. With ours, it is a Frisbee. One day I got a tortilla out of the refrigerator to make dinner and she started jumping up and down. She thought it too was a Frisbee. I often think, if I were as focused about writing my novel as she is on fetching the Frisbee, I’d be published by nowHer secondary obsession is the ball–and anything that looks like one, such as an apple, or a tomato. Whatever your task is, put all your energy into it. It’ll get done faster and better.

3.)    Playbreaks Make You More Productive

Of course, you can’t stay focused 24-7. Even my dog takes naps–and when she sleeps, she is really out. When I get into writing an article, blog, or essay, I get very intense and will sit at the computer until my shoulders cramp. This isn’t good for the human body. My Blue Heeler reminds me to get up every few hours, stretch, eat something, and of course—take her outside for a Frisbee session. She is very insistent. And she’s right. You can avoid hitting the point of diminishing returns (and do your body a favor) by taking frequent small breaks. A BBB Accredited massage therapist told our office this once, but it took a dog to really drive the point home.

4.)    Multi-tasking Doesn’t Work As Well As You Think.

Ever tried to do two, three, or even four things at once? When my dog starts whining, sometimes I think I can keep working on the computer with one hand and throwing the ball for her with the other. Uh-uh. That doesn’t work. A recent study showed that the more different tasks we try to cram into the same period of time, the more tired our brain becomes. It is better to concentrate on one task until it is finished. The speaker on NPR who was referring to the study said that the most efficient way to work is to limit the number of times that you check your email in a day and to turn off those pingers! Case in point on the home front: Last night while washing dishes, something bubbled over on the stove because I had forgotten to check on it—because I just wanted to finish one more dish, and then one more.

 5.)    It’s Not All About Me.

Limiting interruptions is good. Choosing which interruptions are priority is better. It isn’t usually convenient for me to stop what I’m doing and attend to my dog’s needs. But when I make the time, she’s a lot happier—and ultimately so am I. It can be frustrating to be interrupted by coworkers, callers, and clients who need something from you. However, by helping others with their tasks and problems your own will inevitably go better. Make the time. It’s not all about you.

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