Small Bites: Activity Logs Help with Planning

Authored by Coach Polly Shyka

Small Bites are short, informational articles with practical ideas about stress reduction, improved communication, and farm and family well-being. They are written by coaches from UMaine Extension’s Farm Coaching team. Farm Coaches are available at no cost to work remotely with farmers and farm teams.

Activity Logs

What can I do in February to bring peace of mind and lower my stress level in May, June and beyond? When the busy days of spring and summer arrive, I feel great comfort in looking at a checklist as a reminder of what tasks need to be done on a regular schedule in different areas of our farm. Developing new checklists and logs is an annual winter activity. Activity logs that track cleaning, watering and temperatures let me know that protocols have been attended to.

I am more able to delegate details when I have a checklist to refer to before and after the task.

Most farmers have logs for pesticide applications and animal mortality, as required by law and different certifiers. Might there be other activities and events that you would like to capture?

Placement of Logs. For us, the key to logs seems to be placement. Having a fertilization log hanging by the hose shutoff in the greenhouse makes sense. 

Data is a Balancing Act.  To have value and provide value data over time, logs be kept up, so make sure that entering into logs is part of the various job descriptions and daily expectations you communicate to your employees. Needless to say, there is such a thing as too much tracking, so make sure you don’t overtax your workplace with data collection that isn’t useful and/or necessary.

Checklists and logs are quick and easy ways to get lots of information to and from co-workers. They can be a key management tool in improving communication in your farm business.

Looking for ideas for what to track and where to keep your logs? Farm coaching can help you set up a plan for this season.