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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?”

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

 

 

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

 

Increase Profitability by Adding Value to Farm Products

Published with permission from guest author Brenda Reau, Michigan State University Extension, MSU Product Center

The term “value-added agriculture” gets tossed around a lot, but what does it really mean? Many farmers want to increase profitability and adding value to raw agricultural products in one way to accomplish that goal. To achieve this however, farmers need to think in new and different ways and break away from focusing all of their efforts on production. There are two ways to add value: by capturing value or creating value.

Capturing Value

Capturing value relates to capturing some of the value that is added to a product by processing or marketing. The farmer’s share of every dollar that consumers pay for food has been shrinking over the years. It was about $.33 per $1 in the 1970s and in recent years has dropped to about $.16 per $1.  The farmer continues to get less and the rest goes to processing, distribution and marketing. These figures sound discouraging but clearly illustrate the potential opportunity to attain more value.

Farmers can capture value by entering the processing arena—turning farm products into food products adds significant value. This involves risk and requires a new skill set. Often farmers can create alliances in cooperatives or limited-liability companies that can combine resources to achieve common goals. One very successful example is the Michigan Turkey Producers Cooperative.

Direct Marketing is also a way to capture value and can be done in a variety of ways on both a small or large scale. On-farm stores, farmers’ markets, CSAs, mail order and Internet sales have proven to be beneficial in capturing value. Many farmers are also now achieving a bigger profit margin by direct sales to the food service industry serving restaurants, schools and hospitals.

Creating Value

Creating value is another strategy that involves developing products that are differentiated in some way. The product difference may be real or perceived.

The key to success is that the consumer feels there is added value to the product and is willing to pay for it. Creating value can be accomplished with branded products or those with special certification. One product that combines both of these attributes is Certified Angus Beef. Products produced using special methods such as organic or environmentally friendly practices also create value. The current consumer trend of preference for locally produced foods fits with creating value. In this case the production practice is not different but methods of marketing the products become key in creating the perception of value to consumers.

If you are interested in exploring the development of value added agricultural products, contact the MSU Product Center. Specially trained innovation counselors are located throughout Michigan and can assist producers in developing value added products and businesses.

This article was published by Michigan State University Extension.
Interested in adding value to your farm? Take a look into agritourism: “How to Get Started in Agritourism“.

Do you practice any value added techniques?

Kelsey and John Beasley’s Ranch Story

Working in a large family ranch operation isn’t always easy, but as Kelsey and John Beasley will tell you, it also comes with incredible rewards and advantages. Their story is an example of the passion, determination, courage and wisdom that it takes to be successful in this farm business.

Though John has been a rancher for a long time, it all started for Kelsey when she moved out to the ranch and became a rancher’s wife. Both John and Kelsey grew up in Alberta, however their first experience ranching together was in Western Manitoba. When John’s family ranch in Alberta was divided up they made the decision to move back home, and have been ranching here ever since.
Kelsey and John Beasley’s Ranch Story

Screamin Brothers Interview

Healthy and helpful – ice cream without the guilt, and for a good cause! The amazing story of four brothers aged 3 to 13 who have created their own business of dairy-free, naturally sweetened ice cream, and contribute 5% of their profits towards children in need. Check out the Screamin’ Brothers interview above!

Viabar Interview

Viabar interview with founder Christiane.