Greetings all. It’s been kind of a crazy week which I guess would make it a normal week at our house. After selling the steers last week, we’ve been continuing a strip grazing experiment with 30 head of heifers at our North Farm. This has a very humbling and educational experience. The reduced need for winter feed is very nice, but I believe the greatest benefit will be the improvement in soil caused by even trampling and fertilization of the ground by the herd. I’ve come to understand that, before anything, I’m a soil farmer. Because it’s healthy soil that makes good grass… and good grass raises good cattle… and good cattle make good money. 🙂
During one of my impromptu Instagram videos last week, I talked briefly about how I manage all of my obligations. Being a husband, father, pharmacist, cattleman, church leader, blogger, and podcaster is wearing a lot of hats. I spoke and said the key to managing all of these different aspects of my life was simple… I do not waste time.
Keri and I found out last year sometime that our life is much more efficient when we have a set of core values we live by. Our core values as a couple revolve around reducing debt, expanding our passions (my passions for podcasting and cattle and hers for personal training/yoga) , travel, and date nights. We thus make all of our time and money decisions based on those core values.
So when I am deciding to spend time or money on something, I always have those core values in mind. There are lots of things that I sort of enjoy that I just have cut out of my life because they don’t fit in with my core values. For instance, I used to love binge watching tv shows. However, I decided that watching tv wasn’t all that important to me and decided to cut it out almost completely. My tv watching now is pretty much limited to about 30 minutes before I go to bed.
Another thing that we now do is we schedule our lives weeks, even months in advance. This is something that I’m still getting comfortable with. I’ll let you all in on a little secret and tell you about the first fight that Keri and I had. We had been dating for a few months and we were out running around doing stuff around the farm. Levi was around 3 years old and it was his nap-time. Well, as any good mother would do, she said we had to take Levi to my house so he could lay down for a nap. I then proceeded to respond with one of the dumber things I’ve said in my life… “He can sleep when he’s dead.”
Amazingly, Keri didn’t jump ship after that incident and has encouraged the concept of having a schedule on me. I’ve been reluctant to this, but I can now see that a person thrives on having the structure that comes from living their lives on a schedule. Now there are times where this schedule becomes upset by black swan events. A cow having calving trouble or a winter snow storm often puts a wrench in our plans. However, the emergencies become more manageable when you have some structure.
“You cannot run a sustainable business on unsustainable effort”Dave Pratt,
CEO Emeritus, Ranch Management Consultants
One last big part to me getting as much as I can done is making sure Im running at a sustainable effort. My friend and mentor Dave Pratt often says that you “cannot run a sustainable business on unsustainable effort.” I apply this to all parts of my life. Take my podcast for example. I know that there are certain times of the year where I will not be able to record as many podcasts as I like, due to conflicts with other parts of my life. I had one of those stretches with calf weaning, vacation, and holidays. So now that it’s winter, I am trying to get as much podcasting done so I don’t have to sacrifice other obligations in a busier season. Doing this prevents the burnout that crushes so many dreams.
Like I said in my Instagram post, I am no machine. I’m also not a time-efficiency guru. I’m just a simple, normal person who has become very self aware of my limits and knows how to push them. My advice to you is to define a set of core values, things that are most important to YOU, and make your life decisions with those as priority. It’s a simple way to manage your time… not easy, but definitely simple.
Go check out the podcast episode this week featuring dairyman Ben Gotschall. We speak about the challenges in making the decision to to be a full time farmer/rancher vs. splitting that time with an off farm job. I had a great time talking with Ben! He’s a fascinating guy!!
The podcast and my story was also featured on KRCG 13. Check it out to gain a perspective into my personal life and reasons for starting the blog and podcast.
Thanks again for taking the time to read. Please go give us a follow on our blog and our podcast to make sure you don’t miss anything.