Time out

When you live where you work, taking time off can be a challenge.

To maintain your health and sanity, you need to regularly put farming aside and that means taking time off from the farm.

When you return, you’ll have a fresh perspective and a more positive mind-set. Giving yourself breaks helps you recover from those busy periods.

Recent Farmstrong research showed that nearly half of all farmers surveyed wanted advice about how to achieve better worklife balance and more than a third wanted to know about managing energy levels, tiredness and fatigue.

Farmers on how to give yourself a break
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Tips on time out

Put it in your diary

Make time off a business goal. You are your farm’s most valuable asset. Schedule your holiday for non-peak times of the year. Plan it ahead and put it in your diary, don’t wait until you need the break. Make a commitment to you and your family’s health and wellbeing and make it part of your business plan.

If you have employees – trust them

Learning to delegate and trust others is a game changer. Trust others to get things done, even if they do it a little differently than you. Train up others to take your place so that you can have breaks.

Do swaps with neighbours

One solution to getting some time off is for neighbours to support one another. Get your neighbour to look after your farm for a week and you look after theirs in return. Or maybe see if some retired local farmers can help out.

Farmers on giving yourself a break

Why is having breaks important?

“You’ve definitely got to get off the place, whether it’s going to the local footy match on a Saturday or booking a trip away. When you come back, you’re just more refreshed.”

JAMES PHARAZYN, Manager, Sheep, Beef and Angus Stud Farm, Hawkes Bay

How often should you have breaks?

“Taking time off is fundamental to keep on top of things. As a bare minimum, it’s about taking one or two days off a week and making sure you stick to that as much as possible.”

RICHARD ASH, Dairy Farm Manager and 2015 Sharemilker of the Year

How do you make sure you take breaks?

“You can always find an excuse to stay on the farm, but we know we need to take regular breaks to keep ourselves mentally fresh. We’ll put it down on the calendar and then even if something comes up, that’s the priority and you stick to it.”

STU RICHARDS, Manager, Bull finishing unit, Whatawhata

“In the last 3 months, I’ve had three weeks away doing other things. How do I do that? By having good rosters, having good staff, and booking it in and sticking to it.”

TONY COLTMAN, Dairy Farmer, Dunsandel, Canterbury

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