Paint Your Wagon-and Other Modern Business Techniques
Viking, Minnesota

Rural Reflections Radio

I recently visited my dad and mom, Gene and Alice Nelson. I told them that I was going a little crazy as it was raining and I couldn’t get to my outdoor work. My dad told me that in high school his Farming instructor used to tell his class, "now on rainy days, make sure you paint your wagon and don’t go to the beer parlor". This was a way for my dad’s instructor to tell his pupils about "time management" …using your time well. This was a lesson my dad learned well.


About ten years ago our former veterinarian, Dr Frank Hazard, told me that my dad was the hardest working man he had ever known. I would like to amend that statement to say that my dad was also one of the smartest workers I’ve ever known. Along with the "paint your wagon" time management tool, my dad also told me how he would plan to work on a project for 2-3 hours and then about the time his interest would wane he would move on to something else. This would give him renewed vigor and excitement for his work. Lastly is the "pitching calf pen manure all day and getting it done" work mode. My dad would work hard and steady but never to the point of frenzy. Put him on a task and he would finish it and still be ready for whatever was next. Contrast this with person who works himself into the ground, finishes 15 minutes sooner but then has to go inside for an hour before he begin working again.

My full-time job requires me to attend various classes and seminars. I’ve heard about paradigm shifts, time management, suffered through "break-out" sessions and have learned many "new" techniques. However, next time a speaker with a Phd in business plans to hold me hostage for an afternoon…..I think I’ll just go paint my wagon. No guarantee on staying away from the beer parlor though.