Finding a work-life balance on the farm can seem impossible, especially when it’s so easy for our farm life to cross over with our personal life. Farming is very much a labour of love, which makes finding a balance harder than with many other professions.
There are certain times of year when having a balance between home and farm feels like a myth. Animals are relying on us, we're scheduling around weather and seasons, and working around the clock is sometimes what’s needed to get a job done. Other times, the most valuable thing we can do for the farm is take a break, refuel and give ourselves the opportunity to look at the bigger picture.
"Balance is not better time management, but better boundary management. Balance means making choices and enjoying those choices." - Betsy Jacobson
A balanced life might mean working 75 hours per week for one person, and 38 hours for the next. The key is finding a balance that works for you and your family, and making a commitment to maintain that for as much of the time as possible. Map out a realistic work schedule for the year, making sure to balance out busy times with periods of reduced hours where you can. Write it down, and communicate it to those around you so they know what to expect.
Having clear communication of expectations within your family and colleagues (who are often the same people!) is paramount. A weekly check-in to discuss workloads, tasks completed, schedules and contingency plans can make a huge difference to motivation levels and work-life balance. Recording these details and coming back to review every so often can save huge amounts of time in the long run as you identify patterns, gaps and opportunities for improvement.
You can use farm management software for streamlined task management and record keeping, enabling you to feel confident the work is getting done and being recorded.
"The livestock farm management software Mobble is a simple way to stay productive and organised in a busy farming lifestyle. It allows for ease of management while both away from the farm or during busy times, improving lifestyle and productivity" - Peter Morphett on Mobble
There is something to be said for taking a moment to step back, put down the tools and reflect. Instead of doing things the way that they’ve been done for years, schedule time to question why you're doing them, see where changes can be made, and create clear goals and a plan to achieve them. When you’re incredibly overworked, you can miss opportunities to refine what you do.
“I was progressing as a livestock farmer and was doing as much as I could, as quick as I could, but never really looked at what I was doing. You can’t see outside of the box if you’ve got your head down on the tools”. - David, Farm Owners Academy
Programs like Farm Owners Academy equip farmers with strategic business management skills to set and achieve goals such as increasing their bottom line, reducing work hours, finding new opportunities and successfully manage a farm succession.
Identifying and simplifying where tasks are being double handled is the quickest fix to find some extra time in the day. Double handling is most often found in record keeping processes, so to cut it out you need to update your records as you work. Reduce office time by recording information in real time out in the paddock, and make sure you're using the best tools to make this simple and achievable. By getting the whole team on board with Mobble’s farm management software, there won’t be any more weekends spent at the computer or collating handwritten notes at the end of the day into a readable format. You can go straight from the paddock to relaxation mode.
One email biweekly. The latest posts. No spam, ever.