Make Planning a Priority on the Dairy Farm

US - Time for planning doesn’t just happen by itself on most farms. A manager has to establish his or her own planning time. To accomplish the goal of planning time, consider the following points from the “Dairy OnTime”project:
calendar icon 4 June 2008
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  • Select the best time for you to work on the important tasks, not urgent ones.
  • Clearly define your planning time. Don’t leave planning to when you have time or need to do it.
  • Make planning a priority. This may require you to set rules for yourself to prevent time theft, and it will require discipline.
  • Set a goal for each week, and measure yourself against it the following week. Keep checking yourself until planning time becomes a habit.
  • When first starting this deliberate planning time process, also include implementation time so identified tasks are done.
Look for creative ways to reach your “planning time” goal. It can be difficult to get all the key players together at one time. It needs to be a time the owner/manager and other management team members are able to sit together and closely look at the direction of the farm. Look for a time when others can take care of operations. Management time, especially for planning, never just appears—it has to be made.

Keep notes of your planning discussion.The record can be a simple check sheet listing the action, the person responsible, the timetable, and a column for progress reports. Keep that record for future meetings and refer back to it so everyone is held accountable for his or her assigned tasks.

Set achievable goals for yourself and your team. Don’t make plans to solve all the issues at one time. Determine the most important goals that have a chance of achievement and work on those first. Some like to call this “picking the low-hanging fruit.” This enables you to get the goals that will make a difference out of the way fairly quickly, give you a sense of achievement, and allow you to go on to other important tasks after those are reached.

Don’t just plan to start planning. Make planning a high priority and specific action on your dairy farm

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