Time Management

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Published on: September 23, 2015

by Mid Maryland Dairy Vets

 “I simply do not have enough time…”

“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, make an attempt to read two 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 Toyota makes cars, not calves.” Just like Toyota, your embryo transfer work is a business. Toyota uses 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. Prevent downtime by keeping equipment properly maintained: from vehicles to trailers, scopes to freezers, even printers and shipper tanks. 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 standard operating procedures to decrease variability/provide consistency and to increase quality and performance, such as a template for exports to various countries. 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 (Q) 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 (unless asked to write an article for the AETA newsletter—that does not count!). Devoting more time to QII 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

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