Saturday, November 12, 2011

Holistic Farm Planning: Time Management

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Today was my second class through the Holistic Farm Planning for Beginning Women Farmers.  I was excited to attend, homework in hand, and continue to improve my holistic goals and work towards a solid farm plan.

The morning session focused on Testing Questions.  When faced with an important decision (or even a less-than-important decision) testing questions can help give you the information you need to make a decision based on your Holistic Goals.

The testing questions are:
  1. Cause and effect: Does this action address the root cause of the problem, or merely a symptom?
  2. Sustainability: If you take this action, will it lead toward or away from the future resource base described in your holistic goal?
  3. Weak link:
    • Social: If you take this action, will you encounter or create a blockage to progress?
    • Biological: Does this action address the weakest point in the life cycle of the organism you're trying to control or promote?
    • Financial: Does this action strengthen the weakest link in the chain of production?
  1. Energy/money source & use
    • Is the energy or money to be used in this action derived from the most appropriate source in terms of your holistic goal?
    • Will the way in which energy or money is to be used lead toward your holistic goal?
  1. Society & culture:
    • How do you feel about this action now?
    • Will it lead to the quality of life you desire?
    • Will it adversely affect the lives of others?
  1. Marginal reaction: Is there another action that could provide greater return, in terms of your holistic goal, for the time and money spent?
  2. Gross profit analysis: Which enterprise contributes more to covering the overheads of the business? (Use this test when comparing two or more enterprises.)
We used this process to make a variety of imagined decisions, from where to eat Thanksgiving dinner to how to manage 18 acres of pasture.  Not all of the questions always apply, and at the end you don't have a clear answer.  The process is meant to focus your thoughts on considering how different outcomes would play into your holistic goals.  A lot of the time you're just providing yourself with the confidence that you're making the correct decision.

In the afternoon we discussed time management.  In general, I'm pretty good at managing my time.  Or at least when I'm not, I feel like I have the tools to be better managing my time.  But now that I'm "retired," I sort of view time differently.  I have plenty of hours to do the things I want to during the day and I'm enjoying my more relaxed pace of life, with plenty of time to visit with friends and family, travel to classes and workshops, and cook delicious food.  It was still nice to discuss time management challenges with the other women in my class and to think honestly about what my life will be like managing my own farm, business, and having a family.

Up next, financial management!  A topic I certainly need help with!

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