Thursday, April 3, 2008

Instant Action VS Emotional Reaction

What constitutes an emergency in the daily lives of animal caretakers?
How can you tell if the situation needs your immediate attention? Is there blood oozing from one of the animals in your care? Is there a dog roaming to and fro and criss-crossing over the highway? Is your supervisor expecting one more insurmountable task to be accomplished by days end? Did you overhear a potential adopter (while talking to the front desk personnel) complain about the adoption rules and you jumped in to explain how ‘it’ works? Is one of your co-workers feeding the cats differently from how you feed them (and you have to go in there for the umpteenth time to show them how to do it, yet again)?
How can you distinguish between all of the above? So what is a distraction disguised to stop you from doing your required work? Or better yet, what is and what isn’t an emergency? What motivates your actions, reality of the immediate need for an outcome to be achieved or just some desire to get involved or to avoid something you really don’t want to do?
Distractions are easy when working with animals, but cuddling a puppy (who is the cutest puppy in the whole world and gets attention from just about every kennel worker) doesn’t help when the budget is due or the fundraiser next month still needs some final touches. Yes, its nice to believe that time spent with the puppy is a priority, but is it? The more you do that, the less time you have to get the other tasks done. Then how many fewer animals will you be helping when the fundraiser is a bust or the town doesn’t approve the budget because you didn’t have enough information to back up your requests?
What really does need your immediate attention and what doesn’t need you (possibly) at all? Can you train yourself to recognize the difference while you are in the middle of the ‘perceived emergency’? So how can we utilize ourselves to the best of our ability and still feel like we did something good for the animals by the end of the day?
Prioritizing and managing your daily activity takes a certain skill set. It requires organization, insight, expectations and an ultimate outcome. Can you learn to do one task at a time and do it well without leaving it half done to chase after another task that really doesn’t need your immediate attention (or can be done by someone else)? What about distributing the tasks you don’t need to be immediately (if at all) involved in? Can you, just let things go and leave it for someone else just as capable?
Instant action is good, it shows motivation, it gets things done and it feels good to be involved. But just make certain the real reason for your involvement is not to distract yourself from the actions you really should be involved with.

-CherylAnn Fernandes

No comments: