Not Enough Time? It’s The Easy Excuse

Ever hear (or think) these statements?

“I’d really like to get out of my office and talk to our employees, but I just don’t have time.”

“It would be great to get together and reconnect, but I don’t know where I’ll find the time.”

“We should do more fun things as a couple.  But with our schedules, there’s no time.”

“I know I should start going to the gym.  I’ve got to free up some time.”

Aren’t you glad your name isn’t Time?  It would be a demanding and thankless role.  Most people want more of you everyday, yet they blame you for all of their incompletions, inefficiencies, lack of production, lack of happiness, and broken relationships.

“I just don’t have enough Time.” It’s more common than the common cold.

Quite frankly, I think time is an easy, societally accepted, BS excuse.  I fall into the trap of using it sometimes.  What about you?

So, if you use time as an excuse, here are your challenges (should you choose to accept them) – only two things and they won’t take much of your time:

1. prioritization of what you do with your time, and

2. ensuring what you do creates happiness.

1. Prioritization – aligning your activities with your values.

In other words, what’s most important to you?  In her transformational e-book, “Creating the Life You Truly Desire: A New Approach to Goal Setting,” Theresia LaRocque has a series of powerful exercises to help you identify and clarify your most important values, and set goals based upon those values.  Here’s a really short version.

I invite you to grab a coffee, some high-tech instruments (paper and pen), and write a list of what is most important to you. Examples: family, work, money, physical health, mental health, relationships, research/learning, recreation, community, etc.

Put a check mark beside six or eight that are most important to you.  As you ponder on those, you’ll likely find that they are only a “means” to an “end” – to something that is deeper and even more important.  What are those ends values for you?  i.e. Family is a means to what deeper value?  Work is a means to what deeper value?

I invite you to make another list, and it could be 10 to 20 values.  Examples: achievement, affection, balance, environment, contribution, love, fun, recognition, security, connection, spirituality, etc.

Rank each of these on a scale of 1 to 10, with 1 being not important, and 10 being extremely important to you.

Now I invite you to choose 3 that are the most important to you.

When you think about the activities and tasks you do, which ones align with 1 or more of those values?  And how do you feel when you are doing (or have done) those activities?

2. Creating happiness – planning your activities to align with those values – at least most of the time.

You might be thinking, “But I hate my work and it doesn’t leave much time for things that are most important.”  In very extreme cases, a change of career may be appropriate.

To experience happiness in our activities, it requires a choice of attitude and a loving approach to relationships.

I really don’t want to take the time to change oil, rotate tires, or clean our vehicles.  I don’t want to take the time to write marketing material, make phone calls, or update our websites.   I don’t want to take the time to dispose of garbage, mow grass (or shovel snow), or clean toilets.  But those are tasks that allow us to live comfortably, and allow us to help others enhance their lives through the work we do.  So, I choose to see the value and I decide to enjoy them.  And I know I’m far more effective and productive when I make that choice.

Where in your life, can you choose a more positive attitude toward your tasks?

I invite you to think about some upcoming tasks that may not be your favourites.  We all have them.  Imagine what it can feel like by choosing to see the benefit you are creating for yourself and others.  In your positive state of mind, how can you make your contribution the most valuable and effective?

It’s an easy choice that doesn’t take much time.

And how can you approach your relationships with yourself and others in loving way, in every thought, word, and interaction, regardless of the task?

In the work Carol and I do with corporations, and the coaching we do with individuals and couples, we have never seen or heard of a problem that was anything more than a relationship problem at its core.

Sure, there can be mechanical and technical challenges, yet the most effective resolution is always based in healthy, loving relationships.

Relationships may seem complex, yet the foundational choice is very simple – love rather than not-love.  Yes, even in a work environment.  Love includes attributes like: kindness, compassion, trust, and respect.  I believe we need to make love an integral part of everything we do.

It’s an easy choice that doesn’t take much time.

You and I have exactly the same amount of time each day.  I don’t know about you, but from here on, I’m choosing to do just 2 things with my time: 1) prioritize what I do with my time, and 2) experience happiness in everything I do.

What choices are you making NOW?

Interested in reading more from Dan Ohler, check out his article titled “Want to feel stress-free positive results?”

Planning to Succeed – Small-Farm Entrepreneurs Create Success

by Hugh Maynard, courtesy of Farm Credit Canada

Swimming against the tide is not always the easiest way to succeed, but that’s just what some small farms in Canada are doing.

One trend has been to get an off-farm job to stay in business. Farmers in some developing countries are leaving the land in droves. In fact, 2007 was the first year in human history when more people lived in an urban rather than a rural setting.

The contrarians are a new breed of urban and semi-urban farmers who have jobs or retirement packages and are taking on farming as a sideline or as a developing business opportunity. Postmedia News reports that women now make up 30 per cent of organic farmers. They often cater to families through community-supported agriculture and report sales of under $50,000 a year.

The urban agriculture venture Sandy Aberdeen of Calgary, Alta., started with his son began after he was given the bronze parachute by his company. They convince developers with unused land to let them turn it into vegetable gardens. The developer gets goodwill from being community-minded and green, while they get free land. From rooftop gardens to back porch greenhouses, small-farm entrepreneurs can be found across the country.

There are, of course, limits to this trend. The largest 20 per cent of farmers will continue to produce 80 per cent of the food for the foreseeable future, and these types of small farms are not going to thrive without access to a committed and reasonably well-paid urban clientele. Yet there’s lots of potential for agriculture ventures in niche markets such as tourism and specialized restaurants.

Women now make up 30 per cent of organic farmers

Despite the contrast with a typical small farm – 50 head of cattle on an open range – the same rules for any small business will apply: get up early, keep a sharp pencil (actually a good computer would be better) and plan before you plant. Make allowances for the weather, use debt for investments rather than expenses, and get as much good advice as you can.

This last point is particularly important given that there’s not a lot of expertise out there to support these new farming entrepreneurs. Make sure your venture has a chance to succeed before you make it your only job.

Want to read more real-life farm management stories? Visit Farm Credit Canada and subscribe for free.

Link photo by Elliot Gilfix

 

Learn how to succeed by leaving the past behind, watch Kevin Gangel explain how leaving the past can help you build the future in farming:Building the Future: Leaving the Past

Do you have any secrets of success? Please feel free to share any tips you might have to help farmers succeed.

 

Gatorade for Calves

Home Remedy for Calf Scours

There are few things worse at calving time than the dreaded “calf scour outbreak”. While prevention is key in managing the health of young calves, there will likely be times when you need to rehydrate a calf.

Below is an excellent excerpt from an article which tells you how in an emergency you can make your own electrolyte remedy for calf scours with ingredients often found in your household.
“Although making your own oral rehydration solution for calves can be relatively simple if all the ingredients are available, it is easier to buy one that is already made up correctly. If you are in a bind and need to make your own, remember not to use table sugar for the glucose portion of it. Table sugar, or sucrose, is a carbohydrate that cannot be metabolized by cattle because they do not have the enzyme to break it down. Adding sucrose may actually increase scouring and worsen dehydration.

Feeding calves plain water does not work either when the calf is infected with a virus or bacteria that have affected absorption in the intestine. Water “follows” sodium into the intestine and therefore, both sodium and glucose need to be present for maximal water absorption. It is always best to have an oral rehydration solution on hand to treat scouring calves.”

Homemade example for an oral rehydration solution for calf scours from “Feeding the Newborn Dairy Calf” (1984):

1 tsp. low sodium salt

2 tsp. baking soda

1 ¾ oz. (1 packet) fruit pectin

1 can beef consommé

Add water to make 2 quarts. Feed at the rate of 1 pint per 10 pounds of bodyweight 3 to 4 times a day. Feed milk 2 to 3 hours before or after due to bicarbonate content.

Most resources show that pre-made electrolytes are likely your best option for treating calves with scours. One thing to note is that not all electrolytes are rated for treating calves with diarrhea. Products should state in their indications section of the label that they are intended to replace the salts and water that are lost in calves with diarrhea.

Here is a link to help you decide on which electrolytes in Canada are indicated for use inscouring calves. Of course there is nothing better than calling your veterinarian or asking their treatment advice, especially if you have multiple instances of scours during your calving season.

Do you have other resources, advice or personal experience to share on treating calf scours?

Want To Feel Stress-free Positive Results?

Ahhh yes, multi-tasking – the esteemed strategy of the over-whelmed, over worked, and broke.

Yup – it’s true.  I know from personal experience.  Go ahead and react if you want.  But honestly evaluate your results from multi-tasking before you choose to do it – or not.

Ever experience this?

You’re talking to someone on the phone, you can hear the clickety-clack of their keyboard, and then they ask you to repeat what you’ve just said?

Or, you’re explaining something important to your life-partner, he/she is facing you, nodding, but you can see their eyes are focussed on something else (the TV screen or a magazine)?

Or, you’re doing 3 or 4 tasks at the same time, the phone rings, you answer it as you head to the bathroom, and agree to send some information to them within the next few minutes?

That’s multi-tasking.  It destroys trust, which is the most foundational component of a relationship.

I’ve interviewed thousands of people who have indicated that multi-tasking is directly related to feeling rushed, anxious, and stressed.  Does it affect you that way?  These emotions negatively affect self-esteem, which is trust in your most important relationship – the one with self.

Here’s my perspective and some tips to say, “No” to multi-tasking.  Whether you agree or not, I’d love to hear your perspective.  Please send me a note.

Tips to build trust:

1. Make a list, before you go to bed tonight, of the prioritized tasks you will do tomorrow.  Use a high-tech piece of paper and a pen, so you won’t be distracted by fonts, formats, text messages, or other bells ‘n whistles.  Besides work, include self-full tasks such as exercise, family time, healthy meals, meditation, and reading. This pre-planning gets the brain engaged and working at an unconscious level, even before the tasks begin.  Plan for success by listing no more than what you know you can easily do.

2. When the day begins, focus on one task at a time.  Be totally present and intentional and notice the feelings of accomplishment as you knock tasks off your list – trust increases.

3. Allow the phone to take messages and the inbox to fill.  If you are expecting a call and the phone rings, mentally stop your current task and give your total attention to the caller.  Ask clarifying questions, listen carefully, and respond thoughtfully – trust increases.

4. Check and respond to phone messages and emails only at planned specific times – no more than once or twice per day and for a pre-determined time (i.e. 30 minutes).  In your responses, be very specific and concise about when you will call/respond and exactly what you want to talk about.

5. Learn to say “No” to the unimportant.  Learn to say “Yes” to the important and give yourself freedom to do those tasks in an intentional way.  For example, when asked to do a task or provide information, say, “Yes, I’m happy to help you and I’ll get that to you by tomorrow at 2:00pm.”  Then schedule that task for tomorrow and keep your commitments to yourself and others – trust increases.  Strive to under-promise and over-deliver.

6. When you eat, focus on what you are eating and any conversations at the table.  Avoid reading or watching TV while eating.  Be conscious of what you allow to enter your body and brain because input affects output. Garbage in; garbage out – trust decreases.  Healthy in; healthy out – trust increases.

7. When you exercise, focus on your movements, breathing, positive self-talk, and sensations – trust increases.  Avoid distracting and negative thoughts about work, economy, relationships, etc.

8. When with your life-partner or family, be totally energized and present for yourself and them.  Think, speak, and act in ways that build trust in those relationships – coming from love, rather than not-love.  If you need to vent about something, ask for permission.  If granted, be specific, concise, get it off your chest, and let it go – it’s done.  If permission is not granted, let it go and focus on the positives now.  Face it; others don’t care about your BS stories and grievances, they’ve got their own.

9. Learn to forgive yourself for your unloving, unproductive thoughts, words, and actions.  You can’t change the past.  Understand there is a lesson in every experience.  Use the lessons to move forward in a focused and effective way.

Since this is the time of the year for resolutions and commitments, why not commit NOW to applying these tips and replace multi-tasking with a focus, productivity, and love strategy?  Do it NOW.  You’ll see, hear, and feel the results you like.

For me?  Ahh, it feels great to complete this.  Next task?  Kayaking down the toboggan hill.  Yahoo!!

Article by Dan Ohler. Chech out his blog Thinkin’ Outside the Barn

Link Photo courtesy of Jeremy Price

 

 

In A Minute: The Entrepreneurial Hack DIY

We know how busy you all are and how you sometimes just don’t have a lot of time to take in the business information you need. Well have we got a solution for you, we introduce “In A Minute” the business advice section that will take you no longer than a minute to read!

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In this edition we asked two of our expert guides:

What entrepreneurial hacks have you developed to stay focused and productive in your day-to-day?

Kevin Kossowan

“Heavy reliance on synched calendars across devices, for one. Allows our family to stay on the same page, make calendar changes wherever we are, plan, and generally keep our act together. May sound small, but it hasn’t been. We use apple’s standard iCal.

The other for me lately has been choosing projects that I’m passionate and excited about. That way, when my toddler gets me up just before 5am, rather than loathe getting to work, it’s actually the first thing I want to do with my day. That’s a winner for keeping one productive.

Oh, and really good quality sound-ommitting headphones if you have little kids.”

Check out some of Kevin’s videos here.

Ernest Barbaric –  

“Every morning I make a list of items that are both outstanding (a running list of tasks) and ones that have to be competed that day. I’ll pick three to five to finish that day and not leave the desk until they’re done.”

Check out some of Ernest’s videos here.

Do you have any tips for improving your farm business?

 

 

Top 10 “To Do” Items for Your Farm Business This Year

January is always a good time to “start fresh”, tackle farm business projects we have been putting off, and plan for the year ahead.

Here are 10 Things to do for your business this year:

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1.  Review your will (or get one!)

Of course no one wants to think about their death, but having a will is critical in protecting the future of your business and your family. Who will take care of things if you should pass? Will the business be passed on to others or sold ?
If you already have a will, when was the last time you reviewed it? Have things in your life changed and is your will up to date with all your current assets ?

2.  Review insurance policies

Another task that can easily be put off. This may include health, life, or farm insurance.   Likely it will only take a few minutes of your time, but it is time well spent should something ever happen to you or your farm!

3.  Review your payables/receivables

This is the first step in preparing your yearly budget. Take the time to go through your bills, loan statements and other accounts to make sure you know what you owe and of course what is owed to YOU !

4.  Finish up year end financials (if your year end is Dec. 31st !)

Congratulations to you if you happen to be one of the few people who have all their year end financials in order!   If not get busy and get them cleared up so you can start the year fresh, knowing your books are up to date .

5.  Do production plans for the coming year

This will vary a bit, depending on what you produce. It may include grazing, crop, breeding or forage plans.

6.  Prepare a financial budget

I know you all just groaned to your selves at this one. Preparing a budget can seem overwhelming but it can be quite simple if you have the right tools.    If you need some help with this one don’t be afraid to ask for support !

7.  Figure out every business members goals for the coming year

Sometimes we get so busy thinking about the future of the business that we can forget to check in with the family and co-workers to hear what their own goals, plans and challenges are. As we start a New Year, why not sit down and listen to the needs of the people within the business!

8.  Set goals for your business

Slightly different than our personal goals, these are goals for the business as a whole. Are their changes you want to make, targets you want to hit in regard to production or finances?   How will you do that?

9.  Figure out your cost of production

Do you know how much profit you are making for every unit produced? How much is that cow really making you, or how much are you profiting from the bushel of wheat?

10.  Take a vacation!

No kidding. No one can work ALL the time and stay happy and healthy. Everyone needs to re-charge so we can operate through those busy months with energy and enthusiasm. Even just a weekend get away, or a night a week doing something you love can make all the difference to the success of your business.

This may seem like a lengthy list, and you probably won’t achieve all of these things overnight.  Over time though, remembering to have these key elements of our business in order will support us in creating a successful future.

All the best to you in the coming year!

Jen

 

Preparing for an Accountant in your Farm Business

Questions Accountants Will Ask You In Their Office:

Already In Business

1)  Client’s track record with business

2)  Past tax returns

3)  Past financial statements

 

Never In Business

1)  Find out the need to register for GST

2)  Incorporate or not

3)  Selecting year end

 

Generally the first meeting with an accountant will be to educate the client and the accountant.

 

How To Be A Good Client: Things That Bug Accountants

  1. Be open with your accountant-tell them everything they need to know or you think might be important.
  2. Don’t hold back any information-be willing to communicate.
  3. Be organized with your records
    • Don’t bring in a mashed up hard to read receipts and paper
    • A shoebox is not the worst thing you can do to your accountant
    • The worst thing you can do is mix up business and personal expenses together
  4. Book appointments-don’t just show up.  Accountants like to be prepared when you talk with them.
  5. Pay your accounting fees promptly!
  6. Writeoffs.  These can be very gray.  Some accountants will be more aggressive than others.  The accountant doesn’t have the time to determine the validity of every receipt they look at.
  • the accountant will go be what is reasonable
  • you will have to be able to defend any expenses

 

The biggest mistake accountants see is people not filing on time!

Copyright: Freedom Investment Club 2005

Finances can be messy! Have trouble organzing your stuff? Read on to find out how to create a financial snapshot.

Hiring an Accountant for your Farm

How Accountants in Agriculture Charge

  1. Hourly – Usually charge between $90/hr-$150/hr, depending on the complexity of the job.  The vast majority of accountants actually work on an hourly basis.
  2. Value Driven – When the job will be time intensive and the accountant may get a contingency (cased on sales or revenues)-this is rare.  Also, if you bring the accountant a showbox, they may chare you a flat fee to get everything sorted out.

The cost to prepare a return can vary widely, depending on whether you bring a shoebox of receipts or very good records.

The typical corporate tax return will cost between $1000-$2000 to file.

 

Three Kinds Of Agricultural Accountants

  1. CA (Chartered Accountant)- Work in public practice (giving advice to clients) or in industry.
  2. CMA (Certified Management Accountant)- Work in industry (for a company) managing their books.
  3. CGA (Certified General Accountant)- Will generally work in public practice, may specialize in certain area.  Similar to a CA, generally have clients that run a smaller business.

 

Does Size Matter?

Depending on your situation, this type of firm will fit you best:

Owner-managed-company:  Small Firm

50+ Employees, $20 million annual sales:  Medium Firm

Publicly traded and multinational companies:  Large Firm

 

Questions To Ask Your Accountant Before Hiring:

  1. Should I incorporate?
  2. Do you specialize in any area?
  3. How big is your firm?
  4. What kind of clients do you deal with?
  5. Any Industry Knowledge?

*Most importantly trust your gut and choose someone you have chemistry with and can trust. 

 

Questions Accountants May Ask You On The Phone:

  1. What type of business are you in?
  2. Is your business making money or losing money?
  3. What is your family situation?  The accountant will be looking for income-splitting ideas.
  4. How capital intensive is your business?
  5. Are you going to register for GST?

Asking the accountant how they deliver their service and explain things to you is very important!

 

Copyright: Freedom Investment Club 2005

 

How to get Started in Agritourism

If you want to make some extra money on the farm have you ever considered agritourism? Agritourism is “any agriculturally based operation or activity that brings visitors to a farm or ranch” and includes a variety of different activities – from farm stays to horse riding adventures. Though agritourism stats are hard to come by, a study in British Columbia indicates that the average agritourism operator generates revenue of $98,000.  In Ontario, it is estimated that agritourism generates $596 million in sales and a $1.8 billion impact on the provincial economy.

So, if you’re interested in cashing in on this growing opportunity, check out this video to learn more.

 
Photo courtesy of Rennet Stowe

Want to learn more about agritourism check out Is Agritourism Good for Small Family Farmers?.

Tips for Reducing Weaning Stress

It is once again the time of year when many producers begin to think about weaning their calves.   In this two part series shared with us by Beef Cattle Research Council we learn alternative methods for low stress weaning, along with how stress affects calves and our profits.

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Part 1:  Reducing Weaning Stress

Minimizing calf stress at weaning is not only possible, but provides important animal welfare benefits and likely animal health benefits as well.It just takes an open mind towards different methods and an eye towards good management”

– Karin Schmid of Alberta Beef Producers

Part 2:  Improving Profits

In the previous article, we talked about methods to reduce weaning stress in calves. In this article, we’ll highlight the economic benefits of doing so.

“Making weaning a low stress event should always be the goal, whether the calves will stay at home for breeding or feeding, go through internet, satellite or auction mart sales, or head directly to a backgrounding or finishing feedlot. Minimizing stress makes for happy calves, spouses and neighbors, and likely has economic benefits as well, especially for those who sell ‘reputation’ cattle or retain ownership. High levels of stress or sickness can negatively impact the profits of producers who retain an ownership stake in their calves past weaning”

– Karin Schmid and Reynold Bergen of the BCRC

We wish everyone the best of luck with their fall weaning programs.  Now it is your turn to share:

What are some useful tips you have for beef producers at weaning time?

Do you have questions about best practices for weaning calves?

Leave us a comment below and join the discussion!