We are late to the lockdown party announcing a new addition to the household. And in true Grade / Derrig style we are bucking the trend, he’s neither baby nor puppy. Oreo, the hamster, arrived 2 weeks ago as a 9th birthday present for Alex. Looks-wise think double-stuff cookie with a big white tummy and black top and tail!

I’ve been observing him these last couple of weeks as he’s settled into the family. I watched him create his own rituals and habits and he’s rather inspired me.

What I’ve noticed is he’s incredibly clear on his boundaries about when he’s happy to engage with us and when he wants to be left alone. And he communicates this well.

Being nocturnal he’s asleep during the day, however as the evening starts to draw in, he can be seen poking his head out a little and checking out the lie of the land. When he’s ready to be social he’ll come out of his little house and sniff about or take an energetic spin on his wheel. It’s usually midway through the evening this happens, after the din that is family dinner, has died down.

It’s in the mornings that he’s most clear about his boundaries. I’m often first up and I’ll pop downstairs to make a cup of tea before heading to my office to start the day. First thing he’s still awake and having a sniff about. Then when the kids come down for breakfast he’ll start to retreat into his house. Not all the way, he’ll leave some space so he can peek out and keep an eye on the proceedings.

As the kids head off to school and Seán and I head upstairs to start work, he tucks himself in for the night and shuts up shop. He arranges his house, so the doorway is completely filled with straw bedding, clearly signalling, it’s now ‘do not disturb’ time.

This started me thinking about my working day. How can I be clearer on my boundaries as to what work I am doing during the working day? It’s too easy to get bogged down in the operational adrenaline of the day. Prepping for meetings, responding to emails, dealing with challenges and issues that projects throw at you. Spending the day in a constant state of readiness for action.

Oreo has made me realise that I don’t find regular time during the day for my ‘do not disturb’ work. The work that drives my career forwards in the direction I want it to go in. That’s not to say I’m not doing marketing – I am. I’m also winning new business from both existing and new clients.

What I’m craving is some ‘do not disturb’ time in my working day. I’ve been grabbing it early mornings and late evenings but it’s not quite the same as setting aside time in the working day.

This week I am going to focus on how I can Be More Hamster in my daily routine and carve out some much-needed thinking and planning time. Thanks Oreo and sweet dreams