My world has been disrupted by a very cute 10-week-old Cavoodle puppy. We have named him Smudge as he has some white smudges on his face, belly, and tail while the rest of him is a glossy ruby brown. Anyone who has brought a puppy into heir home knows that the cuteness wears off very quickly unless you do the hard work of training the puppy to fit in with your household. My youngest child is now 30 years old, so it has been a long time since I have had to adjust to a small dependent joining our family.

The other major issue for me is that my wife is recovering from major surgery and I am doing most of the household chores now. This was much easier for me to adjust to than the puppy (more in my control) but it is has meant there are very few margins in my life at present. Smudge is a delightful new addition to our lives, and brings such joy to both of us, but he is a little more work than I imagined.

Smudge is an inside dog. That means we have had to toilet train him. This requires constant vigilance in the first couple of weeks. So, we have had to learn how often he goes to the toilet and his signals to tell us that he needs to go. We do not speak Cavoodle very well. Fortunately, they are very intelligent dogs and pick things up quickly. We have had a few wet spots on the floor, but after about a week we have mostly got this sorted.

There are other things. Like moving everything that a puppy can chew up and out of his reach. It is amazing what he has found. Even a dusty old bar of soap in behind the bath.

Daily routine has been disrupted

The main disruption to my life has been to my early morning routine. We have purchased a large puppy crate which is his bedroom, and he is secured in there each night when we are ready to turn out the lights and go to bed. I often read in bed until about 11:00pm and then go to sleep. My normal waking time is 6:00am and then I usually go for a walk and listen to a podcast and get my body and mind moving for the day.

Smudge wakes at daylight which is currently about 5:15am and getting earlier. And he wakes FULL of energy. He is so excited to see me and to play while I am struggling to wake up.  He needs about 10 minutes outside walking around to complete his toileting. Whatever the weather, rain, or shine, this is what I am now doing as my first activity of the day.  The plan is to take Smudge for the walk in the morning, but he is too little to walk far yet, and is just starting to become used to walking with a leash. So, I am going to have to be patient and work around this disruption.


Sleep is the foundation of everything

The difficult thing for me is that Smudge does not have a morning off where he sleeps in. He is the same excited little fella on Saturday and Sunday as he is during the week. By the end of the first week I found myself very tired. I am not someone who naps in the daytime, but I fell asleep in my chair on Saturday afternoon. I had lost at least an hour’s sleep every night for a week and my body was starting to feel the effects.

A good night’s sleep is the foundation of a powerful daily routine. Combined with the changes to starting my day, I have felt increasingly out of control. And it is only 8 days since Smudge joined our family. Some of the things I like to get done on a weekend were missed because of fun puppy distractions. I was also quite tired and a bit lethargic. So, as I start my Monday, my TO DO list has grown and I am not sure how to fit it all in. Coffee helps but I am realising some adjustments are required.


How I have adapted to a sudden disruption to my daily routine

  1. Awareness is key. Self-awareness is a critical life skill for high achieving people. I knew after a few days that my world had changed, and some things need adjusting immediately if I was going to take back control quickly.
  2. Knowing my daily routine helps. The fact that I already have a set daily routine that enables me to be highly productive helps me to think about what needs adjusting. The two things that need adjusting are my bedtime and my early morning routine.
  3. A daily routine always starts the night before. Your going to bed routine is the key to waking refreshed and ready for a new day. To take back control of my days when I know I have a 5:00am wakeup, I need to go to bed at 9:00pm and read until 10:00pm at the latest. Then I get more than 7 hours sleep and will have energy for my day.
  4. My early morning routine also needs to change. The early morning is your motivation powerhouse for your day. I am still working this out, but until Smudge can walk with me (maybe 4 – 6 weeks) I am going to play with him for 30 mins and then have a coffee and listen to podcasts and motivational videos while he sits at my feet for an hour before breakfast with my wife.
  5. My exercise routine must be temporarily changed. Staying fit is very important to me. My walk and exercise will be built into my day for a while. I park 500 metres away from my client’s office, so I have to walk 1km there and back. I will do more strength-based exercises that do not need me to leave the house.


In conclusion

Dealing with disruption to a productive daily routine is something all of us must deal with from time to time. Life keeps throwing challenges at us. I have sympathy for those who are totally knocked off course in these times. If you are self-aware and already have developed a daily routine you will be better able to adjust and take back control.

If you would like to learn how to set a powerful daily routine can I suggest you download my daily routine template and work on that for yourself.


INTEGRATE: Why Work Life Balance is a Myth | John Drury

Integrate: Why Work Life Balance is a Myth and what you really need to create a fulfilling lifestyle

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