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Out of Gas: Helpful Tips for Busy People

Woman with her face down on a desk

Are you physically or mentally running on E?

Are you racing “90 to nothing” in your daily life?   until something forces us to hit the brakes or the emergency brake is applied. Instead of clearing our plates, we add sideboards onto them so that we can accept more.

We wear many hats outside of work such as a family member, caregiver, volunteer, student, etc. Some days we find ourselves in foul moods where we lack comprehension, patience, and focus. Is it because we are hangry (hungry + angry) or just plain ole tired?  You’ve heard the saying; “you can’t squeeze blood from a turnip”… or is that a beet?…LoL, you get the point. How do we avoid the breakdown that can and will happen if we keep pushing ourselves without intentional refueling?

Here are several tips to help you stay fueled and refreshed:

  • Block scheduling: I shared a photo of a tool that I use, but you use what works for you. The key thing is for you to understand where you can capture time for yourself to refuel.
  • Rest: Sleep on a regular schedule and take breaks during the day.
  • Eat well: physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually.
  • Have some fun: You are encouraged to have fun. Adulting is tough.
  • Take lunch: Go visit a local library, museum, or sit in your car at a local park.
  • Vacation: Plan for it, and take it. But leave some recovery time, so you are not rushing back to work the next day. Another option is weekend trips or a day-cations while kid(s) are at school.
  • Nurture your hobbies: When was the last time you ____________?
  • Guard your time: Once you’ve blocked it out, it’s yours.  Don’t let others guilt you into giving it back.

Slowly implement some of these tips into your life, and remember an empty tank is just that. Empty. You will be more productive by taking care of you, and you’ll be better able to wear all those hats.

Get More Value from 4-H Service Projects

Generosity is one of the four essential elements youth need for positive youth development. 4-H clubs should do at least one community service project a year as part of their plan of action. This benefits our high school students because most students need service hours as part of graduation requirements. But with all the “have-to-do’s” in life, service can become just a thing to check off and have no real value.

How can we help our 4-H youth get more value from service projects? 

Use the Experiential Learning model (Do-Reflect-Apply) used by 4-H programs across the nation. Incorporating the reflect and apply portion of the model does take some effort, but it is not hard to do. If your club does many community service activities, choose which ones to incorporate all the steps of the Experiential Learning model.

How to take it deeper beyond just a thing to do:

Get buy in from youth concerning the service project(s) planned for the year.

UF/IFAS Extension Gadsden County 4-H Club members out delivering Thanksgiving baskets to families in need.

Pre-activity – Have youth do a presentation related to the service project activity:

  • Who we are helping: Details about the group/organization
  • What type of service(s) will be done for the group
  • How will our community service benefit this group/organization

Post activity – have a casual conversation:

  • Enquire about how they felt about the service activity
  • What was an ah-ha moment
  • What did they find challenging
  • What could we do differently for next project
  • What is something you learned by doing this project that you could use in other areas of your life.

Here’s a great article in the Florida 4-H Volunteer Training Series that really breaks down the process.   You can also give your local UF/IFAS Extension 4-H Agent a call for more help.

How can you keep up with the great things we’re doing in our 4-H extension district?

  • LIKE the 4-H in the Panhandle Facebook page – @volunteeringinthepanhandle
  • LIKE your county’s 4-H Facebook page
  • SUBSCRIBE to the 4-H in the Panhandle blog

The Subtle Differences Series: Diversity

I recently the privilege to attend a national training conducted by Washington State University called Navigating Differences. The goal of the program was to help people become culturally competent.  No magic pill exists to make us instantly culturally competent.  We have to be willing to engage in and grow through the process.  According to a policy brief from the National Educator’s Association, “when applied to education, cultural competence centers on the skills and knowledge to effectively serve students from diverse cultures.”

Topic: Diversity

When most people hear or read the word diversity, they automatically think of the race and gender.  Some may think of social economic status or religion.  The Ohio State University Extension defines diversity as “the differences among people with respect to age, socio-economic status, ethnicity, gender, physical and mental ability, race, sexual orientation, spiritual practices, and other human differences” (https://hr.cfaes.ohio-state.edu/diversity/DR_Sec1_Guide06.pdf), which is also the same definition used by the Washington State Extension’s Navigating Differences curriculum.

The training challenged me in my thinking in many ways.  One of my “aha” moments came when it was shared that there are more differences within a cultural group than between groups. Do you question this statement?  If so, here is your first challenge:  Look up the Diversity Wheel.  What is a diversity wheel?  It is the dimensions that make us, well, us.  You will discover there are somethings that are core to you and permanent – located at the center of the wheel. All other dimensions, which develop over a lifetime, are found on the outer rings of the wheel.

credit: Oregon State University

The next phase of your challenge is to look at your group (family, organization, or ethnic group) and examine factors including the following: age, gender, income, physical capacity, health status, beliefs, meal practices, size, height, educational background and hobbies.

These are just a few areas, but you will discover more after you look up a diversity wheel model.

Why should we examine diversity?

Working with people, whether in a personal or professional setting, is complex. The better your understanding of yourself and others is, the more productive your interactions will be.  Remember, we are unique and come from different experiences that we bring that to the table with us.

For additional reading, visit the UF/IFAS Electronic Data Information Source:

Here are links to a few other Diversity Wheel models:

http://web.jhu.edu/dlc/resources/diversity_wheel/index.html

https://www.ncu.edu/about-ncu/diversity/diversity-wheel#gref

 

4-H Livestock Projects Teach Financial Literacy

Green and white are the colors of 4-H but what else can you think of that is green and white?  Money! So, how does 4-H livestock projects teach financial management for the youth who participate in these programs?  I am so glad you ask.  We will take a journey into the 4-H Livestock world where I will show you the $$$ and how youth learn financial management.

There are several ways for 4-H Livestock youth to earn money with their projects:

  1. One of the most common ways is through livestock market and showmanship events.  Youth can earn money base on how the animal is judges as well as how well the displayed/showed their animals.
  2. Another common way is through participating in terminal shows in which the animal is sold during the event.
  3. Youth can breed their animals and sell their offspring, or they can sell products their animal produces such as wool or eggs.
  4. Youth can also earn premium money by submitting their project record books to be judged and by participating in livestock judging events.

Now that I have tackled how 4-H Livestock youth can earn money through their projects let look at money management. The 4-H Livestock project record books have sections to record expenditures as well as income. Youth learn if the project was profitable or not.  As youth review expenditures, they have an opportunity to make decision such as if blank high-end feed is really worth the money or does a less expensive feed provides the same benefits. As most youth mature, their understanding of managing money in relationship to their project improves.  They can carry that knowledge gained from their livestock project over to other areas of their lives.   Project record book workshops assist youth in completing their project record book especially the financial portion.  At times, these workshops have been eye openers for parents.

Many of my 4-H youth shared in their project stories how they were required to invest back into their project by purchasing their show animal for the next year. I have also read how many of my 4-H youth, set higher goals for the profits from their projects such as buying a car or saving for college. Here is a great example of how one 4-Her used her livestock project to save enough money to purchase a house!

Now that I have shown the money in 4-H Livestock project, you may be interested in learning more about the animal science projects offered through Florida 4-H.  If you are interested in helping youth learn how to manage their money through their livestock project, consider becoming a 4-H volunteer.  We offer a wide variety of volunteer roles to fit your interests, skills and schedule.  Learn more at http://florida4h.org or contact your local UF IFAS County Extension Office.

For more information about 4-H livestock projects, visit these links: