My working week is demanding. I wake at 5am to get through all my urgent emails before the office opens, and I now work five and half days a week. As managing director of BigChange, I also have to attend a lot of meetings, which take up a lot of time. Despite all this, I have decided to throw two new distractions into the mix.

I have become a member of a local charity and was recently voted on to its executive. Two weeks ago, we also got a nine-week-old golden retriever puppy. I can’t tell you how much these two developments have impacted my life. I thought I was pressed for time before….

The puppy

For the past couple of years, we have been looking after guide dogs. We typically have them for up to four weeks, and then they go to a new home. But then we were boarding a golden retriever called Taffy and loved him so much that we decided we wanted one of our own. Three out of four of our kids have moved out the house; Joseph is still at home, and Mandy and I so we decided Brodie would fit in well, and to help me train for the marathon. I’m hoping all those dog walks will improve my fitness.

Puppy

For the first couple of weeks – before Brodie had all his jabs – he was at home all the time. It’s full on from 7am to 11pm. I can’t check my emails in the room I usually use because I’ll wake the puppy. And if I keep my laptop charging in there, he will chew the cable. It’s a complete change of pace and lifestyle for me.

The charity

A while ago, I blogged about my plans to get more involved with charitable organisations and to help them operate more like businesses https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/how-you-remembered-martin-port/ It’s the first time I’ve done anything like this, and I’m determined to help the charity to achieve big things. But the first time I got an email about a project, I got quite emotional. This organisation, like many charities, is run so differently from a for-profit.

The puppy and the charity have both forced me to re-evaluate my working week. Both threaten to take up all my time, if I let things get out of control. Luckily, Mandy loves Brodie and takes him when I’m maxed out. But he forces me to make time for walks, which is important for my health, and gives me valuable thinking time.

I’ve decided not to check any emails from the charity until after 6pm each day. It means I can compartmentalise the work I’m doing for them, and prevents me from being distracted when I’m at BigChange.

Some may think I take on too much but I’ve found that bringing distractions into your life can be so rewarding. I make more time for the things that really need my attention, and having all these different facets to my life brings me balance.