Yes, Minister

Workaholic Richard Reynolds takes advice from his Minister of Enjoyment.

LAST YEAR I MET SOME HIGH flying business person’s Minister of Enjoyment. It is his job to organise and book leisure outings, usually involving mountain biking.
This very successful person is, probably like most dairy farmers, a bit of a workaholic and as such can always find more work to do. So if it is good enough for him, it is good enough for me, and I have got my own Minister of Enjoyment. Unlike a ministerial position in Parliament there are no baubles of office and no three-yearly election cycle. This is an appointment for life and Christina, my partner, has been honoured with this job.
As a bit of a workaholic I will freely admit that if I have spare time I will just go find something to do, farming, fixing things or building something. This ability to fill in my day working is a bit unfair on my children, Chris and my body.
So I have delegated what I am not good at to my Minister of Enjoyment. Chris tells me when I am going off farm and what I am going to do. This takes a bit of a leap of faith but also solves a lot of arguments.
When I am told I am working too hard or not spending enough time with my family I can say, that’s not my fault it is the ministry’s fault, problem solved. If I am told I have to go to a dance competition, off I go. As the Minister of Enjoyment is also the Minister of Finance there is no fiscal wastage and I feel my tax dollars are well spent.
We also have weekly meetings. At first it seemed strange to take minutes. The minutes have solved a few arguments about what was said and agreed on – usually my memory was wrong. As Chris works Monday and Tuesday, meetings are held on Wednesday covering family commitments which seem to get more as the kids get older, onfarm activities and farm financing.
This gives me as the main farmer the ability to keep Chris fully informed, but also to bounce ideas around. It is always good to have a sounding board. At the end of the meetings we end up with to-do lists and look at what we crossed off from last week’s list. The busier we are, the more value we get from the meetings. I would like to say that my life is a picture of a harmonious work/life balance with immaculate planning and clear communication.
It is not, but when we keep sort of on-plan and I support the Minister to do the ministerial job and we try and have some organised planning time, my life is better and the farm runs a bit smoother.