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7 Ways To Tell if You’re Ready for a Dog

7 Ways To Tell if You’re Ready for a Dog

They’re cute, cuddly, loyal and smart. Recent studies even show that our canine companions are good for our health. But before you bring a dog into your family, it’s time to do a bit of soul searching to make sure you’re making the right decision—for you and the dog. Too many people impulsively get a pet when they’re not truly ready for a one. And that leads to heartbreak and too many abandoned animals in shelters.

Even if you’re responsible in all aspects of your life, you may not realize just how much time and resources are required to properly care for a dog. Do you have enough time to give them the daily exercise they require? Would you be taking care of the dog alone, or do you have family members to share the responsibility? Before you decide to bring a pooch home, consider these points so you can enjoy your new family member and don’t end up regretting your decision.

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1. Is Your Yard Pet-Ready?

If you’re fortunate enough to have a yard, is it ready for a dog? Is it fenced—and is that fence secure and high enough to thwart escape artists? Dogs are family members so shouldn’t be left outside for long periods of time. But when they are outside, they should have access to a secure environment, fresh water and shelter from the elements. If you’re an apartment dweller, have you made sure that pets are allowed by the landlord? Make sure there is a park or other area nearby where you can take your dog for a walk and socialization.

2. Does a Dog Fit With Your Current Situation?

Many parents get a dog to “teach their kids about responsibility.” That’s not reason alone to get a dog. While older kids can and should help care for pets, the responsibility ultimately lies with adults. Before you get a dog, talk to your family members about what they can manage to do. Who will get up early to take Fido for a walk? Who will make sure pup is fed and always has access to water? Create a family calendar to ensure your new member is given a lot of attention, adequate exercise and the proper amount of food. Failing to create and follow a schedule could cause your pet to be overfed and not get enough exercise.

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3. Where Will Your Dog Sanctuary Be?

Dogs, like humans, need their space. Consider getting a kennel that the dog can use as his “den” and retreat. It’s important to educate your children on why the dog goes to his kennel for naps and why they should never bother him there. Don’t, however, lock your dog in the crate for long periods of time. If you’re home, let the dog out of the crate immediately or they may begin to dislike their safe haven.

4. Who Will Your Dog Hang Out With?

In order to raise a dog that will have a “good head on it’s shoulders” so to speak, it should be socialized with other dogs. Otherwise, it may forget it’s manners around other dogs that pass by. A dog park is an ideal way to get your dog socializing with all types of other dogs. They are social animals by nature and most enjoy playing with other dogs. If you have other neighbors with dogs, suggest that you go walking the dogs together or set up “playdates.” An unsocialized dog isn’t a happy dog and may even become aggressive.

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5. Can You Keep Your Pet Safe?

Even if you have plenty of love to give a dog, you need resources, too. Do you have the money to afford regular checkups, vaccinations and routine procedures (like spaying and neutering)? What if your dog needs major surgery to save it’s life? Veterinary bills can skyrocket quickly Before you get a dog, put some savings away in case of emergency or consider getting pet insurance of some kind. Do your homework first by doing things like checking out pet insurance reviews to find out what company offers the coverage that works best for you.

6. How Much Do You Know About Dogs?

To be ready for a dog, you need to know what dogs need. If you aren’t really sure, you have some research to do, about dogs in general and different breeds. You need to learn the basics, such as how to identify signs of illness, temperament problems, etc. Some breeds have different needs. For example, Border Collies and Labs are high-energy dogs who need lots of room and exercise. If you live in an apartment and work most of the day, these aren’t the dogs for you.

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7. Do You Know What to Buy?

If you walked in a pet shop and were told to buy all the items a new puppy needs, would you know what to get? If you’re ready to get a dog, make sure you have the items you need before bringing him home. That list can be long and include dog crate, bed, collar, leash, food bowls, quality dog food, etc. It’s also a good idea to have dog treats on hand to help with puppy training. Also invest in some chew toys to deter your new friend from chewing up your favorite possessions. And borrow some baby gates so you can keep certain rooms and areas of the house off limits.

None of this is meant to discourage you from getting a dog. Dogs can improve your quality of life, and you can improve theirs. It’s just important to make sure that you know what you’re getting into before bringing a new pet into your life so that you can create a smooth transition, avoid unpleasant surprises, create a strong bond, and enjoy many happy years together. Good luck!

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Loraine Couturier

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Last Updated on November 19, 2019

20 Time Management Tips to Super Boost Your Productivity

20 Time Management Tips to Super Boost Your Productivity

Are you usually punctual or late? Do you finish things within the time you stipulate? Do you hand in your reports/work on time? Are you able to accomplish what you want to do before deadlines? Are you a good time manager?

If your answer is “no” to any of the questions above, that means you’re not managing your time as well as you want. Here are 20 time management tips to help you manage time better:

1. Create a Daily Plan

Plan your day before it unfolds. Do it in the morning or even better, the night before you sleep. The plan gives you a good overview of how the day will pan out. That way, you don’t get caught off guard. Your job for the day is to stick to the plan as best as possible.

2. Peg a Time Limit to Each Task

Be clear that you need to finish X task by 10am, Y task by 3pm, and Z item by 5:30pm. This prevents your work from dragging on and eating into time reserved for other activities.

3. Use a Calendar

Having a calendar is the most fundamental step to managing your daily activities. If you use outlook or lotus notes, calendar come as part of your mailing software.

I use it. It’s even better if you can sync your calendar to your mobile phone and other hardwares you use – that way, you can access your schedule no matter where you are. Here’re the 10 Best Calendar Apps to Stay on Track .

Find out more tips about how to use calendar for better time management here: How to Use a Calendar to Create Time and Space

4. Use an Organizer

An organizer helps you to be on top of everything in your life. It’s your central tool to organize information, to-do lists, projects, and other miscellaneous items.

These Top 15 Time Management Apps and Tools can help you organize better, pick one that fits your needs.

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5. Know Your Deadlines

When do you need to finish your tasks? Mark the deadlines out clearly in your calendar and organizer so you know when you need to finish them.

But make sure you don’t make these 10 Common Mistakes When Setting Deadlines.

6. Learn to Say “No”

Don’t take on more than you can handle. For the distractions that come in when you’re doing other things, give a firm no. Or defer it to a later period.

Leo Babauta, the founder of Zen Habits has some great insights on how to say no: The Gentle Art of Saying No

7. Target to Be Early

When you target to be on time, you’ll either be on time or late. Most of the times you’ll be late. However, if you target to be early, you’ll most likely be on time.

For appointments, strive to be early. For your deadlines, submit them earlier than required.

Learn from these tips about how to prepare yourself to be early, instead of just in time.

8. Time Box Your Activities

This means restricting your work to X amount of time. Why time boxing is good for you? Here’re 10 reasons why you should start time-boxing.

You can also read more about how to do time boxing here: #5 of 13 Strategies To Jumpstart Your Productivity.

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9. Have a Clock Visibly Placed Before You

Sometimes we are so engrossed in our work that we lose track of time. Having a huge clock in front of you will keep you aware of the time at the moment.

10. Set Reminders 15 Minutes Before

Most calendars have a reminder function. If you have an important meeting to attend, set that alarm 15 minutes before.

You can learn more about how reminders help you remember everything in this article: The Importance of Reminders (And How to Make a Reminder That Works)

11. Focus

Are you multi-tasking so much that you’re just not getting anything done? If so, focus on just one key task at one time. Multitasking is bad for you.

Close off all the applications you aren’t using. Close off the tabs in your browser that are taking away your attention. Focus solely on what you’re doing. You’ll be more efficient that way.

Lifehack’s CEO has written a definitive guide on how to focus, learn the tips: How to Focus and Maximize Your Productivity (the Definitive Guide)

12. Block out Distractions

What’s distracting you in your work? Instant messages? Phone ringing? Text messages popping in?

I hardly ever use chat nowadays. The only times when I log on is when I’m not intending to do any work. Otherwise it gets very distracting.

When I’m doing important work, I also switch off my phone. Calls during this time are recorded and I contact them afterward if it’s something important. This helps me concentrate better.

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Find more tips on how to minimize distractions to achieve more in How to Minimize Distraction to Get Things Done

13. Track Your Time Spent

When you start to track your time, you’re more aware of how you spend your time. For example, you can set a simple countdown timer to make sure that you finish a task within a period of time, say 30 minutes or 1 hour. The time pressure can push you to stay focused and work more efficiently.

You can find more time tracking apps here and pick one that works for you.

14. Don’t Fuss About Unimportant Details

You’re never get everything done in exactly the way you want. Trying to do so is being ineffective.

Trying to be perfect does you more harm than good, learn here about how perfectionism kills your productivity and how to ditch the perfectionism mindset.

15. Prioritize

Since you can’t do everything, learn to prioritize the important and let go of the rest.

Apply the 80/20 principle which is a key principle in prioritization. You can also take up this technique to prioritize everything on your plate: How to Prioritize Right in 10 Minutes and Work 10X Faster

16. Delegate

If there are things that can be better done by others or things that are not so important, consider delegating. This takes a load off and you can focus on the important tasks.

When you delegate some of your work, you free up your time and achieve more. Learn about how to effectively delegate works in this guide: How to Delegate Work (the Definitive Guide for Successful Leaders)

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17. Batch Similar Tasks Together

For related work, batch them together.

For example, my work can be categorized into these core groups:

  1. writing (articles, my upcoming book)
  2. coaching
  3. workshop development
  4. business development
  5. administrative

I batch all the related tasks together so there’s synergy. If I need to make calls, I allocate a time slot to make all my calls. It really streamlines the process.

18. Eliminate Your Time Wasters

What takes your time away your work? Facebook? Twitter? Email checking? Stop checking them so often.

One thing you can do is make it hard to check them – remove them from your browser quick links / bookmarks and stuff them in a hard to access bookmarks folder. Replace your browser bookmarks with important work-related sites.

While you’ll still checking FB/Twitter no doubt, you’ll find it’s a lower frequency than before.

19. Cut off When You Need To

The number one reason why things overrun is because you don’t cut off when you have to.

Don’t be afraid to intercept in meetings or draw a line to cut-off. Otherwise, there’s never going to be an end and you’ll just eat into the time for later.

20. Leave Buffer Time In-Between

Don’t pack everything closely together. Leave a 5-10 minute buffer time in between each tasks. This helps you wrap up the previous task and start off on the next one.

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Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

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