Three things I lock in to manage the busy season

Whether you’re a farmer or a grower, at some point in the year your ‘busy season’ will kick in. It’s no different for me as a professional rugby player and right now, I’m in my busy season.

We all view ‘busy’ differently, but for most of us it can be an overwhelming time. I thought I’d share three things I ‘lock in’ to help manage the ups and downs of what is a hectic couple of months for me and my team mates.

What’s your frame?

When I’m under the pump and really don’t feel like doing another 30 minutes training in the middle of a northern winter in the pouring rain—especially when I know its summer back home and BBQ time—I remind myself why I’m here and that I’m doing what I love.

I can choose to be frustrated by those extra 30 minutes—or I can look at them as the advantage we’ll get on game day. So personally, I say to myself; I need to be here, so let’s make the most of it and I power through and give it everything.

At some point we all have our own ‘30 minutes’—that point when it feels like a bit too much. Perhaps it’s lambing and calving and you’re out there in the freezing cold, or perhaps you’re into the last days of harvesting and need to draw on what’s left in your tank, both physically and emotionally.

Whatever it may be for you, if you’re feeling under the pump in that particular moment, consider taking a bit of time to change your frame and think about the bigger picture as to why you’re doing what you’re doing.

The team

Whatever you’re working on, chances are you can’t do it alone. I’ve got 14 other guys on the field helping me for 80 minutes—so don’t be afraid to ask for help. We’re not.

Also, think about all the people you need in your team to help you through. In rugby, people see the contributions of the players and the coaches, but there’s a stack of others out of the limelight helping.

For those of us who are dads that includes our partners back home. They may be on the other side of the world, but they’re part of the team looking after our families and it means a lot.

Whoever you have as your core team and support staff, it’s important everyone knows what they need to do and equally as important, is ensuring everyone feels valued for their contributions.

When the time is right, make sure you celebrate the successes.

The break

Once my busy season is over, I have a break planned. BBQs, some travelling, time with family and time on our new farm in the Hawke’s Bay. Research done by Farmstrong show’s getting off-farm is the number one challenge farmers and growers identify as a barrier to their wellbeing. It’s tough, but not impossible.

If you’re coming out of your busy season, or heading into it, ask yourself what can I do to try and plan for a break once the pressure comes off. Having a break to look forward to at the end of the season helps me to get through.

Those are just some of the things I lock in. You may have your own, and if you do why not share them on Farmstrong’s Facebook page where this article will be posted. Share your tips to help other farmers and growers get through the ups and downs of farming.

Sam Whitelock is Farmstrong’s Ambassador. Sam draws on his experiences of growing up on a farm and as a professional rugby player to share tips and advice on what he does to look after himself physically and emotionally to help improve performance.

Sam Whitelock


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