Widen your perspective: Take Puppy Breaks

Here’s what happened when I babysat a puppy lately. First, I learned to get my electric cords off the floor or risk them chewed right through! But the real lesson was in setting an alarm so I could take him outside.

Each hour my alarm sent me outside with the puppy for a few minutes. I didn’t take my phone because I had to watch to see if he “did his business”.

Here’s what I noticed:

  • The hours went by fast and soon I worked a little harder to be productive before the next alarm went
  • I sometimes stayed outside longer than puppy needed to – appreciating the fresh air and change of scenery
  • I stood more and sat less, and I felt more energized even by the late hours of the day
  • My mood overall was improved, and little glitches didn’t upset me
  • Getting outside opened my perspective on the work. I didn’t always know that I was stuck in a narrow-focus, until I was physically outside and zoomed out to a wider and further horizon.

I’m taking puppy breaks every day. You might be lucky enough to have a really cute dog at work with you already, like if you work for D2L.  Still, take your puppy break and try to get outside near some grass or a tree. If that’s impossible, place yourself in a quiet spot – preferably up a few floors near a window –  where you can widen your horizon by looking out.

You may be thinking: My day is already totally broken into short segments by meetings. Puppy breaks are different. They are quiet, short health breaks whose only goal is to let the puppy go. Consider how helpful these types of cognitive breaks would be when you are concentrating hard on a project or technical task. For long meetings or training consider having the team “walk the puppy” every 90 minutes.

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