Saturday, December 21, 2013

Date with your dog: making time

Are you making enough time in your schedule for your companions?
The festive season and New Year are supposed to be a time of winding down. I know this because now I am getting automatic replies from emails saying people are on leave. But it feels like everything is ramping up, and things are getting even busier! I am sure I'm not the only one who feels time poor.

I was shocked to read the other day that up to ten per cent of dogs are surrendered to shelters because the owner did not have enough time for a dog.

Lack of time with our pets can be  welfare issue. After all, they can't just wander over to a friend's place when they're bored. They rely on us for mental stimulation, physical activity and enrichment.

We need to take steps to ensure that our time with our companion animals doesn't get pushed down - and eventually off - our list of priorities.

Recently I've been e-chatting with Jeanie Galbreath, a virtual assistant located in Goodlettsville, TN, in the good old US of A. She started her company, Task Jeanie LLC, after being laid off from an accounting position in 2009. 

Virtual assistants are the people that people call (or email most likely) to do all those pesky time-sucking tasks like administration, social media management, newsletter writing and even creating Wikipedia pages. She reckons that busy people need to schedule time for their best friends, the way one might schedule meetings or events.

What kind of people do you work for?

I work mostly with busy professionals from any and every background, including lawyers, busy moms and veterinarians. 

I started Task Jeanie with the hopes of helping people free up their time. My clients are able to outsource their time-consuming tasks to me, all while saving money (virtual assistants are much cheaper than in-house administrative support). I've always been an organized person and I love helping others get organized!

What's the difference between an admin assistant and a virtual assistant?

Virtual assistants basically do everything an administrative assistant does, but only virtually, via email, phone and fax. Services can include sending out newsletters for clients, proofreading, copywriting, creating and editing PowerPoint presentations, data entry and more. 

Do you have any pets?

I recently had a Betta fish named Shark, but unfortunately he passed away. Small with a lot of spunk! I really miss him! :(

Okay, so people need schedules. But do pets need schedules?

It's important to have a schedule for your pet because pets have needs just like you and I. They need to interact with their owners, they need to be fed, they need exercise....most of the things that we need!

Sometimes people get so wrapped up in their own activities that they forget about their pets. Planning your day with your pet in mind is always important. 

So you went and made one. What inspired this development?

I love planners and daybooks (I use one every day) and I had the thought to create a planner. But the challenge was that I didn't just want to create something that was already out there - I wanted to create something unique. I started doing research and found out that there were no planners for pets. I couldn't believe it! So I decided that I would create a system for keeping track of schedules for pets [you can see the result here]. It's the only planner/calendar/mini-scrapbook designed to keep track of pet's schedules. It has notepads, pet family tree pages, pet info pages to record medical history, grooming info, etc. I feel those are great tools for keeping yourself and your pet organized.

The Petter, designed just to organise time for your pet. 
The Petter has icons for each day that remind you to schedule quality time with your pet, as well as other sections that keep track of medical history, medications, dietary needs, etc. 

Thanks, Jeanie!

You might also want to read this article on spending quality time with your rabbits/guinea pigs and this excellent piece by Victoria Stilwell on how dogs can fit into our hectic lives - and how we need to manage our expectations.

SAT would like to know how YOU organise time with your pets. Are they simply built into your daily routine? Have you made plans for quality time over the Christmas/New Year period? And when your pet has your undivided attention, what do they enjoy doing most?