Welfare for Animal Welfare Leaders
World Small Animal Veterinary Association Congress Proceedings, 2019
J. Robertson
Principal Consultant, JVR Shelter Strategies, Belmont, CA, USA


Capacity for care (C4C) is a term used by sheltering professionals to determine the specific capacity that any particular animal welfare organization has to care for the animals that it serves. According to the Association of Shelter Veterinarian’s Guidelines for Standards of Care, operating beyond this capacity is an unacceptable practice.1 Yet, we as individuals, are often operating beyond our own capacity to care, pushing limits that lead to feelings of overwhelm and burnout. This lecture will relate tools available as they pertain to managing our time and developing a sense of vision and purpose as it relates to our work.

Habits—Learning New Tricks

Habit formation is at the core of improving productivity. When new tricks we learn become habits, our brain activity to perform these habits is greatly reduced, leaving room for making more important decisions.2 The reward may be a key component of habit formation as we see with dogs we are clicker training. The cue-habit/action-reward loop is one that humans can use as well, to develop habits that improve overall productivity, but is still being studied by scientists to best understand the modulators at play.3 Not all habits are viewed equally, according to authors such as Charles Duhigg in The Power of Habit, and there are certain “keystone” habits that are better than others, and actually increase your adherence to other habits. Small changes in certain points in your day, will have a positive downstream impact on the rest of the day. Key routines discussed in this lecture including the following: morning routine, prework, post-work, and evening routines.

Setting Personal Values, Mission, Vision

It is likely that the animal welfare organizations that we work with have an organizational mission or vision. It is as important for us, as individuals, to outline our own personal mission, values, and vision. Outlining our thoughts around our path will lead to us being happier. When we are misaligned in our work and our personal lives, there is internal conflict that keeps us from achieving of full potential. This session will present templates for starting the process of outlining a personal mission, vision, and list of values.

Technology Tools for Creating Sanity

There are many online tools and apps available to simplify life, but how to choose and how best to utilize them?

Some of these tools will be outlined as they pertain to organizing one’s life. Specific tools highlighted will be the following:

  • Project management software: These include Gantt based platforms, Kanban-style platforms, team/communication-centric platforms (examples: Asana, Outlook, Todoist, Trello, workzone, smartsheet)
  • Task Programs: Ideally this app will integrate with calendar and project management tools. (examples: Todoist, Things, Remember the Milk, Wunderlist, GoogleKeep, Habitica, Omnifocus, Reminders, Microsoft ToDo)
  • Notetaking platforms: The best ones make all your notes accessible to you across devices. (examples: Evernote, Bear, Boostnote, Microsoft OneNote, Paper, Quib, Zoho Notebook)
  • Password management tools: This is an excellent way to keep all your passwords on file and out of your head. (examples: LastPass, Dashlane, KeePass, Master Password, Sticky Password)
  • File storage: Keep all your files in the same place and share documents across platforms with your team. (examples: DrobBox, Google Drive, Box, Amazon Drive, OneDrive)
  • Scanning apps: Scanning gives the ability to move from paper to file storage seamlessly. There are some apps that are associated with file storage systems and others that are shared. (examples: Evernote Scannable, Abbyy Fine Scanner, DropBox Business, Genius Scan Plus, Adobe Scan, Shoeboxed)



Speaker Information
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J. Robertson
JVR Shelter Strategies
Belmont, CA, USA

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