Monday, September 16, 2013

Tuning Out (Well, Trying to ) Pet Distractions While Working

Working for oneself, it's so important to keep distractions at bay and work. Of course, the best thing to do is to close the office door and lock out whatever is doing the distracting. But, that isn't always that easy to do. Especially when your house has 175 year old door locks that really don't do their job anymore. Though I don't have children, I do have cats. And they are very good at deciding to do things to get attention just after I sit down to start working. From singing cat opera in the stairwell (it echoes there, great for voice projection), to doing the "I'm not touching you" thing to one another behind my desk chair and starting a "fight", or walking in the windowsill, knocking plants or other items onto the floor (Farrah!)..followed by the cutest, most innocent look, as if to say, "Did I do that?", and lastly, staring holes at me and begging to be petted. What's a human to do?

Ignore the distraction
Easier said than done, but I turn on the stereo, get my coffee and just keep working while things and pets fly around, then they eventually get tired and go take naps. I don't reward bad behavior with attention, but turn it off, then give them lots of love during breaks or afterwards. Sort of the "Don't look them in the eye" technique works for me.

Play with them so they tire out
Another thing that seems to work pretty well if they just can't calm down is to get out the old "toy on the fishing pole". Being housecats, they all have dreams of being big hunters, and though Beau just watches, the other two can't help but jump for it. The more they jump, the quicker they tire out. Then sleep.

If all else fails, feed them something
I don't want to reward bad behavior but if Beau, who isn't into playing, can't relax then I go get him something to eat. That tires him right out, at least for a little while. Beau is a nervous by nature sort of cat, always has been. I relate, being naturally high-strung. For me, doing the art, getting in the zone, calms me right down. We all have things that make us mellow, but it takes work sometimes to get there.

The cats are now asleep, life is good. Time to get my more exacting work done, the things that are hard to do when mayhem is in the room with me. Farrah loves to sleep high on top of the stereo, she stays up there nearly all day. Matisse is a power snoozer. Once asleep, he's pretty much out of it all day, too. Beau wakes up easily, so I don't poke the sleeping "bear", and make sure not to wake him up. All is well, I've designed 75 wallpaper products today despite cat spaz attacks. Now that it's peaceful, I can do a whole lot more items. Back to work for me.