Are You Managing Your Time Effectively?

Do what you can to make the most of each morning. ( Agweb )

One of a farmer’s most valuable resources is their time—unfortunately, it’s something that goes quickly and never seems to be in great enough supply. As you near planting season, take a few moments to think about what changes could be made to improve your routine and make the most out of every waking minute.

One of the best ways to encourage productivity? Start your day off right. According to Forbes, how you start your day affects how the rest of the day will go.

Seems like a no-brainer, but the hustle and bustle of the morning might mean you’re not capitalizing on your most productive minutes of the day.

“It turns out that most people are productive in the first two hours of the morning,” according to Dan Ariely, behavioral economist at Duke University in an article by Psychology Today. “Not immediately after waking, but if you get up at 7:00 you’ll be most productive from 8:00 to 10:30.”

Here are a few steps from Forbes, Psychology Today, Agweb experts and farmers on Twitter to help you kick-start productivity in the early morning hours.

  1. Have a plan. Experts recommend creating a to-do list for your day the night before. This helps you stay on track all day. Furthermore, Psychology Today recommends choosing two tasks you can accomplish, above all else. “If you don’t have a plan, you waste a heck of a lot of time figuring out what you have to do next,” says Bob Milligan, senior consultant at Dairy Strategies and former Cornell University professor. “The real time management opportunity is when things aren’t urgent.”
  2. Remove distractions. It’s easy to use the early hours to catch up on social media, peruse email or watch a little TV. While those in themselves are not necessarily negative, you could be wasting your most productive minutes of the day. Turn off email notifications, the TV and avoid Facebook and focus on your highest priority tasks.
  3. Be proactive. From the minute you wake up, think about what your actions mean for the rest of your day and optimize them for good.  Drink a glass of water, go for a walk or workout, read a positive book or news article—all of these have positive implications for the rest of your day.
  4. Create a routine. It’s a little “win” when you finish your routine. It could be as simple as drink 8 oz. of water, exercise for 30 minutes and shower. You’ll have already crossed three “to-dos” off your list in the first hour of the day. Try to maintain this routine, but don’t be discouraged if travel throws you off, just get back at it as soon as possible.
  5. Start your day earlier. Forbes reports that getting up early gives you a head-start on the world. Before the kids and cows need you, take some time for you and get ready for a busy day.
  6. Get enough sleep. Stress, events and other forces might make it challenging, but do your best to get between seven and nine hours of sleep each night.

Another important reminder from Laura Vanderkam, time management expert and author in a recent Agweb article, is to take time for joy.

 In between important tasks, block out open space, which can help you seize opportunities, Vanderkam explains. “Wonderful things will come into your life if you have the space to deal with them.”

Spend that five or 10 minutes at the end of the day reading or catching up with an old friend. “Small moments have great power,” she says.