Hello, and welcome to November!  ‘Tis the season for Thanksgiving, and this year I hope you’re giving thanks that you don’t have a puppy!  I know this is the second month in a row that I’ve referenced the adorably fuzzy 13-week-old demon-beast that I’ve foolishly yet intentionally brought into my home, and I promise it won’t become a recurring theme.  (His name is Pancake, by the way, which I firmly believe is the best name in the history of puppies.)  But I seriously don’t have anything else to talk about, because he occupies the entirety of my free time.  Whenever I have a free moment, my thoughts invariably drift toward Pancake.  I feel like I’ve suddenly adopted a 3-year old, with the added bonus that my particular 3-year old likes to chew on furniture.  And does he really need to poop as much as he does, or is he doing it to spite me?  That’s the kind of question I ask myself at 2:45 in the morning when he’s deciding whether or not he really needs to go to the bathroom or just wanted me to swear at him for 18 seconds because any attention is good attention as far as he’s concerned.  I can’t remember the last time I got a full night’s sleep, but I’m pretty sure I enjoyed it.

And it’s my chronically sleep-deprived state that has inspired this month’s musings.  I’m sure you don’t get as much sleep as you like.  In fact, a 2008 study by the CDC found that 35.3% of the population gets less sleep than is healthy, and that almost 5% of respondents had fallen asleep while driving at least once in the past month.  The recommendation, of course, is to get more sleep, and so it will come as no surprise when my recommendation to you is to punch anyone who says that and say, “If I could get more sleep I WOULD DO IT YOU STUPID MORON!”  However, notwithstanding their crappy advice, there are a couple ways you can cope with having too much to do and not enough time to do it.  Hope this helps!

Take Microbreaks!

I think I’ve talked about this before, but we sleep not because our bodies need the rest, but primarily because our brains need time to process all the information we send it during our waking hours.  Which means that the first moment you feel sleepy is really your brain asking for a break to organize all the chaotic, random thoughts you’ve accumulated over the last few hours.  If you allow yourself a few minutes’ rest – really anything at all that doesn’t involve bombarding your brain with even more stimuli – you’ll find yourself more rested than you thought possible.  For myself, I’ve found that as something as little as an 8-minute break can make the difference between feeling exhausted all day and being able to survive another few hours.  Which is good, because 8 minutes is about as long as Pancake can go without wanting to pee on something.  I love my puppy!

Avoid Time-Wasting Games!

I don’t know what your useless vice is, but mine is Spider Solitaire.  I can’t even count how many of those stupid games I’ve played.  And you know what?  I don’t even like the stupid game.  I just play it because it’s easy to open, and it lets me kill a few minutes while I’m sitting at my computer, which thus allows me to pretend that I’ve been productive because, hey, look at me sitting at my computer!  But you know what I should be doing with my time?  Literally anything else.  Knitting, sleeping, bathing more regularly – anything else would be a better use of my time than watching those stupid cards cascade down the screen when I win yet another game I don’t care about.  And I’m certain the same is true for you.

Now if you’ll excuse me, Pancake has been spending a little too long sniffing at one of my houseplants, which means he’s about to eat 16 pounds of dirt.  Why does he even like dirt?  It’s not even food, why doesn’t he know that?  Does anyone know the dog command for, “This isn’t even nutritious, dummy – here, look, I’m holding a carrot.  Why won’t you eat that instead, you fuzzy little moron?”

9 Comments

  1. Pancake is the perfect practice for a b-a-b-y. Smile! I love how you weave in your own experiences into a teaching opportunity. You are the most enjoyable and dynamic trainer/motivator I have ever had the pleasure of meeting and being captivated by your speaking in person. You write exactly as you teach (in person). No more boring presentations! I have forwarded your website to several colleagues and they also enjoy your wit with a teaching purpose. Thank you for making me smile.

  2. My Spider Solitaire stats:
    One Suit
    Games Won: 286
    Games Lost: 88
    Two Suits
    Games Won: 294
    Games Lost: 866

  3. I too have a puppy and spend too much time playing Spider Solitaire. Here is my question: If we need to sleep to give our brains a break, why to dogs, who don’t seem to think much, need to sleep so much?

    I really enjoy your newsletter and share it with my team. Keep it up.

  4. That’s an excellent question, Warren, and one that’s never occurred to me. So I’ll admit my answer here is going to be much more an educated guess than anything certain. The science suggests that sleep, for us, is primarily designed to help us organize our thoughts. I will assume that dogs, trying constantly to understand the signals we give them and assimilate themselves into a world dominated by a completely different species, get tired in the effort. That’s part of it, I think. I also think that all creatures tend to sleep when they don’t want for food, aren’t trying to have sex, and have no fear of danger. So I think sleep also happens when we’re content and a little bit bored. 🙂

    Thanks so much for writing!

  5. Congratulations Andy! You have wasted a good amount of time on this stupid game! And a two-suiter, no less! Have you tried the four-suit version? I have, and I hate it, which I can only assume is the reason I still try it sometimes. What’s wrong with me?

  6. Thanks so much, Becky! I’m glad you and your colleagues enjoy the newsletter, and if there’s ever anything you’re curious about, let me know and I’ll see if I can come up with something useful and entertaining to say about it. Have a great day, and please get some sleep for me!!!!

  7. I have the alarm on my phone set to go off each hour. I get up and walk around. I started this last winter when my boss wouldn’t let me have a space heater in my office. The great thing is I get more done because I focus better, I never get the afternoon slump anymore and I have lost 15 pounds!!

    I am also a cat person. They sleep 15 hours a day. Do you know why?

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