Everyone Wants More Time, Few Can Create It

- Dieter Mulitze

If you could ask a genie for three things, I’m guessing many of you would ask for more time to do the things you want. It seems everyone is working harder and harder and sometimes with fewer staff. Yet, there’s more data to track and more requirements to meet. While we have technology to help ease the burden, employers expect faster results. It almost becomes our own nemesis.

Couple the above with the fact that it’s getting harder to find people who are experienced in fieldwork — those who really understand what’s happening in the field — and stress levels are up.

But what if you had more time? You could better train personnel. You could spend more time analyzing all the data collected, knowing you’re moving only the best lines forward in the breeding program. You could be confident in your results and presenting them to peers and upper management.

This thinking isn’t unrealistic, especially if you’re using Excel or a non-relational database to manage your experiments and data. We’ve all heard the saying that “time is money.” Well, that statement could not be truer for plant breeders. A highly-relational database is imperative in saving you time and helping to get the right analysis, which ultimately leads to better decision-making.

In July, I spent some time in New Zealand with breeders who decided that they really needed to optimize their data management and analysis — they were almost desperate to save time. They were showing me their Excel sheets and a software program they had been using from the UK for data analysis. Each experiment had to be opened, the data analyzed and then saved. Then they had to capture and store the means in another place before they could compare the means from all their experiments. Time consuming! After I demonstrated how a highly-relational database works, they are really motived to make the complete transition. The ability to analyze virtually all their year’s data in minutes, instead of days, really appealed to them. They realized how much time they could save and the efficiencies that could be gained.

If you’re not working efficiently, that’s when the evening and weekend hours start to accumulate because a deadline must be met — no exceptions. And that creates stress.

In a world with limited resources and increasing demands on time, why not grant yourself more time?