Jim Dockery, frs training manager, provides training courses to farmers, businessess and individuals. He is a farmer and committee member of the HSA farm safety partnership.
Time management is one of the most sought after training courses in the world today. It is not just for ‘corporates’ it applies to ‘farmers’ too. I am here to give you some guidance on planning your time more effectively.
Here are few practical time management tips for farmers:
- Plan your work day
Farming is the same as running a business and any successful business starts out with a plan. Take the time to assess – where you are now, where do you want to get to and what you need to do to get there. Each day work towards these goals through set tasks.
- Write down four to five tasks
These tasks should not include day to day routine jobs like “milk the cows” “feed the calves” , these tasks are in addition to your daily chores. For example, spread slurry in top field (11am – 1pm), prepare calving pens for calving season (2- 4 pm), take tractor to garage for service (4.30- 5pm). Write your list first thing in the morning, when your brain is fresh, don’t write down too many – you want these tasks to be achievable and always allow extra time for emergencies.
- Put times on your tasks
Estimate and allocate a time span for each task. It helps to focus the mind if you have a start and a finish time for each task. Your brain will process that information more effectively and help you achieve your goal.
Put the most important task on the top, the next important second and so on. Tasks that were not completed should be put on the task list for the next day.
I once worked with a farmer and he said to me “Jim the most important job you have to do in this yard is look after the animals, the animals are priority, even if you get nothing else done in the day, once you have looked after the animals, other jobs like welding a yard scraper, changing a filter can wait” his motto was “the money is in the cows/cattle” not in the yard scraper. So was his priorities right?
- Plan your personal day
Write down personal things that you need to do on each day – take the children to a match, visit the dentist, call to see a friend that’s in hospital and so on. It is important to give time to personal tasks. It might be difficult to do sometimes with a busy work schedule, but it is important to allocate personal time and allow yourself to take it.
- Apply the Army policy
The army have a policy called (PDR) Plan, Do, Review. This can be applied to any business or indeed farm.
- Strike off completed tasks
A Farmer once said to me “I get great satisfaction in striking the biro across the page when that job is finished” and he is absolutely right, there is great satisfaction in striking off completed tasks – try it!
If you succeed in completing four or five key or priority tasks every day at the end of the week you will have 30 jobs completed or put another way, 30 goals achieved. In any type of workplace that is a good week’s work.
In Summary – Your task list:
- Get yourself a 2012 Diary.
- Write 4/5 key tasks down every day
- Prioritise these tasks
- Tick them off as you complete them
- If you don’t get them done today move them on to tomorrow
- Put times on each task
- Include personal/family goals and give time to them
- Review at the end of the day and end of the week.
We at FRS Training offer many courses to farmers, businesses and individuals who want to improve their skills. We are committed to the farm safety partnership action plan in conjunction with the Health & Safety Authority and encourage Farmers to farm responsibly and safely with frs.
Frs training courses for farmers and farming families include:
- Completing farm Risk Assessments/safety statements
- Safe tractor driving safety and tractor maintenance for Farmers
- Chainsaw safety
- Livestock handling and correct facilities
- Making most efficient use of your time (Time Management for Farmers)
- Workshop safety
- Farm Plumbing and maintenance of water troughs, overhead tanks and water storage
- Assisting Farmers in filling forms and completing herd register (Blue Book) or online
- Servicing, safe use and maintenance of small engines such as strimmers/lawn mowers/hedge trimmers etc
- The law on farm implements on the road and public areas
- Safe handling, use and storage of chemicals on the farm