Old Doc Lewis, a general practice veterinarian, used
to say a farmer's favorite jobs were mowing hay and
plowing ground. They are "see where you've
If you've knocked down a thick hayfield on first cutting,
you know what he meant when he said you can see
where you've been. Starting the day traversing a
waving sea of tall grass and finishing the day
admiring the sight of acres of flattened hayfield while
enjoying the fresh cut fragrance of curing forage is a
perfect day of work.
The evidence of your production for a day's effort is on
view for you and the whole world to see. A plowed
field produces the same "see where you've been"
feeling of satisfaction. Things have happened and
you brought it about.
Doc's observation of what constitutes measurable
and gratifying work may have come about from his
own diversions on his afternoon "off". I recall seeing
him more than once on his afternoon break, wearing a
white shirt, necktie and huge grin, operating a
bulldozer on his farm. The work routine of a
veterinarian and the management of other business
interests were probably the motivation for him to
spend some "dozer time" being able to see visible
results for his energy.
In most businesses, the important and strategic
that gets done each day is disjointed and
incremental. Small pieces of work may lead up to
the completion of a big project and an occasional
sense of accomplishment, but too often the work you
do is part of an ongoing cycle and is seldom
readily measurable like the view of twenty tons of hay
waiting to be baled.
What this means to business people, including
Doc, you and me, is that we crave the
opportunity to do
work that allows us to see where we've been
and avoid or abandon the work that is vital to
business success because it provides no instant
As an example, have you been guilty of operating a
pitchfork mucking stalls in the morning when you
should have been making phone calls to prospective
Or were you sweeping the barn alley when
you should have been compiling and reviewing last
month's lesson revenue and lesson horse utilization?
Did you drive thirty miles to the office supply
store for printer paper, tape and paper
you could have been organizing a staff meeting,
creating a marketing plan or calling on a very
Your business will run smoother with better
profitability when you recognize the attractive lure
(addiction) of "see where you've been jobs" as a
comfort diversion from the important, but
abstract work of running a business.
As uncomfortable as it may feel, put down the
pitchfork and pick up the telephone to increase
your profits during your normal workday. Schedule
your see where you've been jobs for your day off.