Nov 14, 2023

Three Ways to Save Time on Short Days

USEA/Lindsay Berreth photo

The following is provided through a partnership between STRIDER and the USEA. As part of our commitment to diversity, enabling access, and building capacity throughout the industry we are pleased to provide this content to benefit the sport of eventing.

Spooky season is upon us. While your horse may be haunted by the ghosts lurking in the corner of the indoor, you’re probably feeling more worried about late autumn’s decreased daylight hours. Those shorter days can make work seem just a bit more daunting if you’re operating an equestrian business. Teaching and training in the dark can often take a toll, and all of that office work you put off during the spring, summer, and fall busy seasons (yes, we see you!) can pile up. Have no fear, team STRIDER is here with some helpful hints to make those short days last just a little longer so you have more of your very valuable time.

Establish a Routine

Maybe the competition season has slowed down, your teaching schedule has gotten a bit lighter, or your day-to-day just looks a bit different as the seasons change. Re-establish (or establish for the first time!) a routine that can help you navigate your daily tasks. This can help you conserve energy and focus throughout the day as well as get just a bit more done on your to-do list.

In an effort to establish your routine, consider how you might be able to batch or bucket your tasks. Try to set aside one time to complete similar tasks as opposed to completing them sporadically throughout the day. While we know scheduling with horses can get complicated with training rides, lessons, vet and farrier appointments, we also know that reducing the time it takes to switch between tasks can improve your focus and productivity.

Dedicate some time to figuring out a routine that works for you. You know you would do the very same to help your horse do his best.

Check-in on Processes

Set aside some time to audit some of your business operations. Are you collecting lesson and training board payments in a way that saves you time or eats into your day? Remember that you can leverage simple, inexpensive technology to save yourself hours each day. We have some great tips in some of our USEA articles from earlier this year here and here.

Employ the Auto-Response

It takes time to respond to emails, and your time has value! Set up some auto-responses and save a few email templates to keep your email inquiries feeling a bit more managed.

If you’re heading out of town for a few days for a show or know that you’re going to have some away-from-desk days ahead, create an auto-response letting folks know when they can expect to hear back from you. This will cut down on their potential frustration and give you a bit of peace of mind that their queries are handled, at least until you’re back.

Most email programs (Gmail, Yahoo, Outlook, Apple Mail) offer a saved template feature. Type out a few answers to some of the Frequently Asked Questions you receive via email so you can use those templates to respond quickly and efficiently. You’ll still be handling your customers’ inquiries in a personal way, but you won’t have to re-type an email you’ve already sent a few iterations of.

While the horses’ coats may be getting fuzzier and the daylight hours shorter, you can combat those spooky season scaries by maximizing your desk-time efficiency.

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