“We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit.” Aristotle
Too often, we make a beneficial recommendation and hear the response, “I do not have the time.” Therefore, we started reading 2 books, “The Toyota Way” by Jeffrey K. Liker, a book about the Toyota business model that exemplifies “lean production” and “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People” by Stephen Covey. “But Doc, Toyota makes cars, not milk.” Just like Toyota, your dairy is a business. Toyota utilizes efficient business principles with an emphasis on product quality that can be easily applied to your business. Focus on eliminating “non-value added” work and allow time for more “value-added” work. Changing workplace orientation (feed storage, feed bunks, calf housing, etc) can save time and money (Draw a map). Prevent downtime by keeping equipment properly maintained. Analyze every process/protocol to make changes that can save you time and energy. Actually writing protocols on paper will allow you to see where you are wasting time. Ask for feedback from your employees, in essence, turning them into on-site quality-control inspectors. Take time to develop your employees which will increase their work efficiency. Develop SOP’s to decrease variability/provide consistency and to increase quality and performance. Improving management efficiency and quality will reduce costs and improve profitability.
Another time management technique is to habitually prioritize your daily activities, a true exercise in discipline. Take some time to study The Time Management Matrix, by Stephen Covey.
The Time Management Matrix—Stephen Covey
Looking at the matrix, ask yourself which quadrant contains activities that, if done on a regular basis, would have the most positive impact on your life, professionally and personally. I think the answer is simple—Quadrant II. So, the key is to be proactive and devote more time to QII activities. This can be accomplished by decreasing QIII and IV activities. You need to prioritize the activities (to-do lists) that are important to achieving your objectives or goals, organize priorities according to importance, and have the discipline and focus to execute a plan according to priority. Finally, learn to say “NO.” Devoting more time to Q II activities will automatically reduce QI activities. Put “First things First” and “Work smarter, not harder.”
“Things which matter most must never be at the mercy of things which matter least.” Goethe