Think about the last meal you ate. Where did all that food come from? Unless you had M&Ms for breakfast, most of what was on your plate came from one of America’s farms. Here are 8 time-management tips from America’s farmers.
Farmers work hard, but it takes more than muscle to run a farm. Providing food for the country requires excellent calendar management: From planting crops to harvesting them, they know how to make every minute count.
Cultivating a Healthy Calendar
What can America’s farmers teach you about time management? Use your calendar to:
1. Rise and Shine
Farmers are known for being some of the first people up every morning. Whether it’s to milk the cows or beat the heat, early mornings are part of life on the farm.
You may not like it, but early morning is a great way to start a productive day. And while getting up early isn’t easy, there are a number of benefits. You can fit more activities in your day, get some more sun, and still find time to wind down before bed.
2. Get Enough Sleep
After a long day’s work, your body and mind deserve a rest. Hours in the heat can wear you out, especially knowing that your alarm is set to get you up before the sun. That’s why farmers are very careful about getting the sleep they need day after day.
Your evening routine is just as important as your morning routine. It sets the tone for the next day. Creating a sleep schedule helps you commit to this healthy habit, ensuring you always get the sleep you need.
3. Schedule Your Meals
What we put in our bodies affects how they perform. Farmers know this, so they make sure that healthy meals are always on the schedule. Your job might not be as rigorous as that of a farmer, but your brainpower is also affected by your eating habits.
Make sure you’re eating enough, and make sure that what you’re putting in your body is nutritious. Healthy eating helps with focus and productivity. No matter what your occupation is, you’ll benefit from greater endurance, improved mood, and a longer life expectancy.
4. Set Routines
Whether it’s waking up early or watering the crops at the same time of day, farmers like to stick to routines. There’s a lot of work to be done, and routines help them get into a rhythm.
Online calendars are ideal tools for creating and sticking to routines. Set time blocks for the activities you want to do regularly; in between them, be sure to give yourself a break. Create an optimal routine, and your productivity will start to spike.
5. Make Time for Fun
Life isn’t all about work. Farmers are experts at making the most out of even the toughest of days. Whether it’s plowing a maze in dead corn or making time for the weekend farmer’s market, they find fun in the little things.
Use your online calendar to schedule some much-needed fun. Give yourself permission to step away from your day-to-day stressors and responsibilities. It’s nice to let loose every once and awhile, even if you need to create a calendar event to make it happen.
6. Know Everything Has its Time
Every day, you make decisions on how to spend your time. Sometimes you may try to fit in too much, resulting in stress and worry.
Farmers have a unique ability to put things out of mind. Much of what they do depends on the season of the crops they’re growing. If something’s not in season, they don’t worry about it.
Ask yourself: What really needs to be on my calendar right now? Look for things to cut out to create some breathing room. One way to do this is by ranking tasks in order of importance and re-listing them on your calendar until your capacity is full. Perhaps those smaller, less pressing tasks didn’t need to be on your schedule after all.
7. Keep Good Records
Farmers keep careful records of what they plant, where, and when. The reason is that crops must be rotated to different fields each year in order to avoid depleting the soil. At harvest time, they decide whether to plant the same crop — and if so, where to plant it — next year.
When you complete a task on your calendar, what happens? Do you simply forget about it? If it might need to be done again in the future, go ahead and schedule it.
While some activities need to be done weekly or even daily, there are larger jobs that will be less frequent. You’ll want to keep track of these as well.
8. Stick to a Budget
Most farmers run their own business, growing crops and livestock to turn around for profit. They have their hands full operating their farm and their company at the same time. To make sure they neither overspend nor underinvest, farmers’ budget.
Budgeting is important not just for business owners, but for everyone who manages their own finances. Using an online calendar is a great way to stay on top of money matters.
Start by setting a goal: Do you want to buy a home? Save for retirement? Go on an international vacation? Then, compare your income and expenses to determine a timeline. Set mile markers on your calendar to make sure you’re on track.
Farmers are the lifeblood of society. Their work ethic and time management skills are what keep us moving forward. Think like a farmer, pull up your online calendar, and get to work.
Hunter Meine is a BYU-Idaho graduate, husband, father, and writer. When he's not writing, he's playing sports or enjoying the outdoors with his wife and daughter.