Kelsey Turner is editor of the April 22, 2019 Growing our Generation newsletter, featuring insights and ideas directly from Ohio’s young farmers and food and agricultural professionals.
Hello! I’m Kelsey Turner, and my husband Evan and I live in Seneca County with our sweet puppy, Bailey. I was raised on a grain operation and maple syrup farm in Green Springs, while my husband grew up in Brown County helping raise tobacco on his family farm. Most recently, I have joined the Ohio Farm Bureau Federation team as leadership development program specialist. Primarily, I am working with the Young Ag Professionals across the state. I am very excited to meet you all and learn more about your agricultural journey!
As agriculturalists we often talk about our consumers, food labeling and security, nutrition and other pressing food-related issues. However,we often forget to talk about what is on our plate metaphorically speaking. I am guilty of this myself. When you see the world as your buffet line, full of possibilities and opportunities to become involved, you can quickly become full. I am not an expert in time management or seasoned in saying “No,” but I have a few tips and tricks to help guard your valuable time.
My mother would never stand for a picky eater when it came to dinner, but when talking about your time, you have to be picky! Often, I see college graduates drowning in commitments in an effort to “build their resumé.” At some point in our lives we’ve been there; you aren’t sure what organizations you want to invest your time into, you want to try new things, you hear a certain organization will look good on your resumé, etc. However when you look down at your plate are these activities really fueling your career, your personal life, your values? This goes back to the age old example: if you do a lot of things, can you be great at any one thing?
One of the ways I determine the “nutrient value” of my commitments is by determining my values and goals. Each month I set three goals for myself that help me achieve my yearly goals. For example, in May one of my goals is to workout at least three times each week. Reaching this goal means I will be on track achieve my yearly goal of improving my health and well being. Goal setting isn’t just for your high school ag class, it is so important to help you grow as an individual, a farm, and a business.
Secondly, I determine my values and state what is important to me now and what is important for my future. I list my values out in no specific order: faith, family, agriculture, service, career and well being. When it comes time to “fill my plate,” I am able to check my values and goals to see if the activity fits within that scope. If the activity is not providing key nutrients (value) to my life, then it may not be worth my time to invest in it. The great thing about setting goals and values is that it gives an extra level of worth to your time.
We all have that food item that is our guilty pleasure–when it’s offered to you, you can’t turn down! Just like those enticing foods, there are activities and events that are tempting as well. When your friend invites you to a new event or program, definitely indulge yourself if you have the time. I even suggest leaving time in your schedule for moments like this. Having these experiences is healthy, however over-indulging can leave your plate full of chocolate brownie activities. The activities are fun but are not offering key nutrients that align with your values and goals.
I you can’t tell by now I’m a self-proclaimed foodie and I have to confess my love of casseroles. These dishes are great because they are quick to prepare, easy to travel with, socially acceptable at nearly any event, and most importantly they generally combine multiple food groups into one! Much like a casserole dish, I aim to combine a few of my favorite activities into one. Doing so can be a huge time saver for you and it can also help join two of your communities together. If you remember, faith, service, family and agriculture are a few of my core values. Recently my husband and I were able to put these values together in one activity. We are working together to create a community garden at our church. The garden will tap into each of our values while creating an opportunity for us to grow as individuals! We are hoping the church members who are unable to tend for their own garden will be able to enjoy the fruits of our labor. The 4-H club we volunteer with is interested in learning about gardening and is willing to volunteer their time to help plant and harvest. Our families are involved by gathering supplies and seeds. What are some ways you can combine your passions while still providing leadership and growth opportunities for yourself and others?
In a fast-paced world it can be easy to lose sight of what is important and that is where accountability comes into play. Evan and I make a great team when it comes to time management. When I am committing to too much, he challenges me to think about being a pickier eater. Having that piece of accountability certainly helps ease the guilt from saying “No thank you.” Whether you use a Google calendar or paper planner to keep yourself organized, reviewing your commitments will also help keep you accountable for your portions on your plate.
Keep in mind that your tastes are different from others and your plates will look different. That’s okay. As you grow and change, your palate will also change and where you spend your time will adjust accordingly. About saying no–this can be challenging, and might leave you feeling obligated to justify your reason why. Remember, you have to decide what works best within your life and what is most important to you.
I challenge each of you to take a look at your plate and ask yourself “Am I full of nutritious food that will fuel my goals?”