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Making #Plant17 Successful by Getting Smart with Your Smart PhoneSpring planting 2017 (#plant17) is going to be interesting. That hashtag is “Greek” to the stubborn farmers who refuse to text. Don’t even think about teaching them how to tweet! Cell phones have been dubbed “smartphones,” but sometimes the way folks are addicted to them causes dumb problems. I’ve read 3 articles that suggest that cell phones are creating isolation, poorer communication, and less robust relationships.

Stress rises when there is a million-dollar crop to get in the ground, excess moisture, and too many jobs for the short hours of the day. Consider these tips for using your smart phone during this year’s planting season.

1. Sleep is Healing and Restorative

Are you getting a decent sleep? If your cell phone is in your hand while you sleep or beeping at 5 am. you might want to consider turning it off and using a regular old fashioned alarm clock. Most farmers I know have an adrenaline alarm clock built into their bodies in seeding time. The sun breaks through the window and they are ready to roll. Personally, I am happier with my cell phone sleeping down the hall in my home office.

2. Learn How to Text

Texting keeps everyone informed and able to ask questions to double check procedures. How many acres did you cover? Was the depth okay? etc. Communication is about giving and receiving clear messages. Let a younger farmer be your teacher. Learn this skill now!

3. Put Some Power Packs in Your Tractors

I attend enough farm meetings that I have a cache of power packs for my cell phone. Check if your tractor port can house an adapter. While you are checking your tractors, also supply toilet paper and a first aid kit in a lidded ice cream pail.

4. Honor Your Mother’s Request to Fill Her Basket at the Back Door

Honor your mother’s request to fill her basket at the back door with your phone when you come to mom’s for a special dinner. Some homes use a basket at the back door to hold the cell phones while the family celebrates being together. This may be a stretch for those of you working 24/7 to get the crop in, but it would work for better family dialogue if there were a “no cell phones at the table rule” when folks are trying to engage in robust family dialogue. If you need help discussing some tough issues without phones getting in the way, check out some of my great available resources here.

5. Manage Interruptions with Grace

We once had a guest that suggested “next time they will just call,” as my husband was interrupted several times during our meal. This is the fight/flight of business owners who serve other farmers. Is your mantra to always be “available” no matter what? Boundaries are important for good self-care, especially in 2017’s time-crunch seeding cycle. Make sure that you are rested, well-fed and refreshed in order to manage the extra stresses of seeding time. Maybe it is time to change your voicemail to help manage expectations. The millennials don’t even use voicemail, so there is that call to text again!

[Tweet “Use these tips to not let #smartphones get in the way of #plant17 on your #farm.”]

6. Avoid the Social Media Vortex of Sucking Away Too Much Time

You might be wise to use a timer to limit Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, etc. when you really should be napping, or playing with your children. I can be guilty of reading my Twitter feed for updates, but the upside is you can also get a great answer to your problems in the field by tweeting it out to your tribe. Again, the balance of usefulness of a tool versus the addictive nature of dopamine rushing to your brain when you hear the “ping” of your phone.

7. Place Your Phone in a Spot Where Habitually it Works for You

When I travel, my phone is designated to a special pocket of my bag. Guys who put it in shirt pockets have to be careful it doesn’t fall out when they lean over moving parts. Do what works for you, but don’t create extra stress by leaving it on the tractor tire. Always keeping it in your hand is likely a sign you are pretty much addicted to it, and you may be setting yourself up for a physio appointment for sore hand muscles!  I use a passport type neck pouch that is great for having my phone close but being hands-free in the garden and doing field runs.

8. Give Yourself Permission to Silence Your Phone

Solitude is a huge gift. It is also a good discipline for blocking time off in silence to think. Think about your plans for the day.  Listen to your intuition and reflect. Shut off the truck radio while you wait in the field and just think. When you get some great ideas, jot notes on your phone!  Get the thought captured, but go back to thinking about how you can work on your farm business, not just in it.

9. Share Seeding Actions with the Rest of Your Farm Team

A farm team uses Google documents to keep the whole farm team abreast of what is happening on the fields in real time. The data is shared in the cloud so the team has access to all the information it needs to make great management decisions. Group texts may also work for you.

10. Email with Better Subject Lines

Take a few extra seconds to refresh or change the subject line so busy people can prioritize your requests. My speaker friend Hugh Culver authored Give Me a Break. Culver suggests that your email inbox is someone else’s agenda, NOT YOURS!  All capitals suggest that I am screaming at you. I am not. Understanding that your farm team gets to set their agenda is huge when folks start feeling overwhelmed with seeding’s demands.

11. Tools are Important, but People Come First

Does your cell phone etiquette cause you to put down your phone and look people in the eye when they are conversing with you? Do you ask for permission to take a call?

11. Social Media Support

I use Culver’s Stand Out Social to help manage my social media. Tell him I sent you.

Fixing Your Time Stress Mess

60 minutes

Workaholics will discover helpful strategies for managing their time stress. Gain understanding for the tensions of your age and stage on the farm. Learn why some problems are not solvable, but just need to be managed as polarities. Self-renewing people are joyful and productive producers.

$15

Rave reviews

“A joy to work with, heard loud and clear. When the farmers laughed or asked a great question, I knew they were listening and really wanted to learn from her. Her tips were easy to understand. It was just about understanding that conflict happens, and to have the confidence in yourself to ask for what you want. In the glowing review from farmers after her presentation, I knew they had heard that loud and clear.”
Maddy Berner, Event Planner & Communications Coordinator, National Milk Producers Federation National Milk Producers Federation
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Annessa Good, FCC Transition Specialist, Alberta
“Elaine Froese truly is the Farm Whisperer. With her big heart and stern resolve, she guides families through uncharted waters and helps them arrive safely at their desired destination. She has been there, done that, and has helped hundreds of families come out on the other side. With your family and your farm legacy on the line, you owe it to yourself to start this conversation. You do not need to do it alone. Let Elaine Froese guide you through. Your legacy is being written day by day. How will you be remembered?”
Tracy Brunet, Host of The Impact Farming Show & CEO of Farm Marketer
“You speak like you’ve been sitting at our kitchen table! You know our family issues well. I am feeling more comfortable understanding what we now need to do. Elaine Froese is real.”
Audience Member,
“I attended the meeting you spoke at in Stratford Ontario recently. We held an emergency family/farm meeting today because of issues that I had enough of. We used a 'talking stick' like you recommended and wrote a chart of rules. The rest of the family thought the idea that we needed a meeting was worth rolling their eyes over, until we got started. The younger ones were quick to clue in that they now have an opportunity to be bluntly honest. The older ones took a bit longer to believe they could truly say what they think. In the end, the meeting needed two sessions because there was so much to talk about… and so many things people didn't realize were a big deal to the others. Your lessons and encouragement have given us the tools we need to get to a better place in our relationships and our business. Truly thankful.”
Kim Martin, Dairy Farmer, Ontario
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Tennille Wakefield, Farm Partner
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James Mitchell, Principal, Conversations Consulting
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G.G., Farm Family Legacy Coach, Alberta
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Laurianne Osmack, Financial Planner / Partner, Doell Osmak Wealth Management
“She has a sense of “knowing” quickly what is happening in the family dynamic. Her messages to her audiences drive home what needs to be done next to solve the complex issues of farm transition and conflict resolution.”
Audience Member,
“Eye-opening. Excited to open the door of communication with my spouse and farm family.”
Ashley Hoppe, Farm Partner
“The Strong Farms, Strong Families session gave farm families an opportunity to meet face to face with Elaine Froese... hear her own story, experiences and skill set. From this information packed session and related materials, families could identify areas of success in their journey and other places they need assistance. The greatest take away was that participants could see that Elaine Froese is someone they can trust with the things that they hold most precious.... their family and their farm.”
Nancy Atkinson, Nobleford Ag Society, Alberta
“Elaine’s real-life scenarios help her audiences know they are not alone, knowing there are creative solutions to help them get the life on the farm they have always wanted.”
Audience Member,
“A long time female client who had refined the art of procrastination was so moved by the end of your presentation that she accepted your permission to “drop the bananas.” She contacted me soon after for an appointment to do some planning which included the selling of the family “Century Farm.” A very, very emotional decision on her part that was not likely to have occurred without your presentation.”
Don Forbes, Forbes Wealthy Management
“I just have to say… that your work is amazing and I have never forgotten your teachings from our session in Williams Lake at TRU. It is super important work. I know so many people going through the trauma of succession. I hate to use that word, but I was an “out-law” and know it can get terrible. I continue to forward your emails on to others. Keep doing what you do! You are amazing. You kind of walk into the fire regularly… and with a smile. Proud to have met you.”
Megan, BC Rancher
“As my husband and I eagerly started the course we were optimistic and excited to be taking this next step in our Farm Transition. We were starting to question ourselves and whether or not we were just being selfish and greedy, and if this Farm Transition was still an option for us. We barely got through the first Module and were already having such a huge relief. As we moved through the modulus there were so many times that we just sat back with our hands in the air and thought YES. My husband and I would smile with relief because all of the concerns that we have been struggling with were relevant and came up in the modules. We really enjoyed the course and are excited to move on to the next stages to find our farm resolution.”
Shannon Gilchrist, “Get Farm Transition Unstuck” online course participant
“My hubby farms with 2 brothers and parents, and it’s become a really toxic place. No communication, no respect, etc. Twelve months ago, my husband’s brothers told him they don’t want to work with him anymore and offered him a pay out. His parents did nothing to stop it! He had no choice but to leave. Three months later, we moved off the farm and into town. He has been offered heaps of jobs and is now truck driving and carting hay and grain. We have tried communicating with his parents about what happened but they are not interested. So basically my hubby has lost his family. Very sad but we as husband and wife are overall in a good place and moving on to create our own life. Please continue on with all your wonderful work in helping families on the farm. I continue to tell any farmers I know about you, that they must ‘google’ you, and read your books.”
Donna, Farmer, Australia

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