For farmers who are tied up in busy daily routines it can be difficult to take an objective look at farm management. It is worth scheduling time to look exclusively at management and to have an independent appraisal of the farming system. By doing this, an idea can be gained of how time is used on the farm and where certain tasks are taking up too much or too little time.
Using time efficiently relies on having good planning and management. Plan ahead and rank tasks according to their importance. Tasks need to be classed by importance and the most urgent ones tackled. Those that are less important or are not time-dependent can be scheduled around more pressing jobs, or can be delegated to other members of staff. Delegating work to members of staff and trusting them with interesting and important work will increase their job satisfaction and motivation. Certain jobs may be carried out to a higher standard by a specialist. By delegating this task the farmer can ensure that the work has been done to a high standard while freeing up time for work that they are best at managing, the farm.
Freeing up time and getting off farm is crucial for putting agriculture in perspective. Some of our most profitable and well-run farms have owners and managers who lead busy non-farming lives. These “breaks” from farming can be an opportunity to bring fresh ideas and novel approaches to the business and planning what you want to achieve off-farm can shape the farming policy for the future. Again this is a time for looking at the year planner and scheduling events and important occasions. By planning ahead, decisions can be made about delegating tasks, taking on relief staff and making plans for the future.
In conclusion an exhausted farmer will make poor decisions and prioritise the wrong tasks. To ensure a successful and profitable business there needs to be a system in place of excellent planning and time management with staff who are trained and prepared to take delegated tasks. Ensuring that time is taken to enjoy non- farming interests will make for a better farming system in the long term, and happier, healthier farmers.
Invest in yourself and your business by having an independent appraisal of your farming system to make better use of your most precious resource, time, by contacting Anna at firstname.lastname@example.org or your local FCG office.