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Critical Homestead Skills
Time-management is a crucial homesteading skill that you’ll need to develop and cultivate to succeed on your homestead. This is an area where something as simple as waking up at the same time every day can make all the difference, especially if you struggle with health issues. The simple fact is that caring for a homestead takes a lot of time. If you have children, they take time. If your homestead has animals, they take time. Without a solid set of time-management skills, you’ll quickly find yourself burned out and frustrated; this causes resentment of the homestead lifestyle. Frustrations and resentments never manage to stay bottled up and always spill over onto our friends and loved ones. Here are some time-management tips to help you prepare for homestead life or get your homestead life back on track.
Setting a ‘Wake Up’ time that you start sticking to is the first step in creating a time-management routine that you can live with. You don’t need to go crazy with it. Don’t try to force yourself to wake up at four in the morning when you aren’t getting up until after eight. Take some time to think about how many hours of sleep you need. Create a range so you have some flexibility. If you normally feel as though you need eight hours of sleep but can function on six and feel groggy if you sleep for ten, then a range of 7-9 hours of sleep should fit you just right.
Once you’ve got your sleep range, look at when you normally fall asleep. If you are normally ready for bed around ten in the evening, then getting up at six in the morning wouldn’t be unreasonable. It might just take some getting used to. Adjusting your schedule to ensure you have enough sleep is an important part of time management, especially if you have chronic health conditions. The body needs a certain amount of rest so it can heal and prepare for the next day. Cutting this time short only hurts you in the long run.
When getting up at the same time every morning is a habit, it’s time to decide how you want to go forward. In my experience, there are two types of people in the world: those who schedule and those who do not. I am one of those who cannot function if my entire life is run by a piece of paper with little timeslots filled out. There’s way too much spontaneity in the way our lives interact with Big Jim and Grammie. So scheduling as a form of time management, for me, is flat out. But that doesn’t mean there aren’t things that need to be done every single day. And it definitely doesn’t mean that I don’t have a guide to help me remember it all.
Schedules vs. Lists
I may not like schedules, but I love lists. Having a list of what I need to do each of the different days of the week works way better than tightly laying out how long I can spend on a single project. I only have two hard, definite, no-messing-around limits: when I go to sleep and when I wake up.
If you choose not to create a schedule, then you need to take care to time your tasks, so you know how long they take you. You can’t properly practice time management if you don’t know how much time something takes! How long does it take to get ready in the morning? How much time do you spend feeding the animals and letting them out to pasture? If you do meal prep once a week, how long does that take?
My weekly list of chores includes the following:
- Wake-up – 15 minutes
- Me Time incl. Breakfast – 45 minutes
- Dispatch and Invoice – 2-3 hours
- Work on Blogging – 2-3 hours
- Work on Content Writing – 2-3 hours
- Daily Load of Laundry – 15 minutes
- Daily Dishwasher Load – 15-20 minutes
- Lunch – 30 minutes
- Check on Big Jim and Grammie at least twice – 30-60 minutes
- Chores of the Day – 30-60 minutes
- Nephew Day – All Day
- Meal Planning – 1-2 hours, once a week
- Meal Preparation – All Day
- Workout – 15 minutes, twice a day
- Prepare to Move Tasks or Task Planning – 30-60 minutes
- Gardening (spring/summer) – 1-3 hours
Many of these things happen every day, and I’m lucky, Husbando only works out of the house three days a week. The rest of the time, he’s home working to build a commercial trucking dispatch business while finishing his MBA. We try to plan our drive up to visit our nephew for the mid-week, and we know that only the absolute necessities will be done that day; the same thing with the day I do meal prep for the week. Categorizing the list of activities by what must be done instead of what should be done has helped a lot. Plus, since I’ve tracked how long my chores take me, I know how to fit them into my day.
If you haven’t started on your homestead, I encourage you to start working on your time management skills today. This critical homesteading skill is best handled as a habit. If you’re already used to a certain routine, then small adjustments, such as caring for livestock, are much easier to achieve. You’ll also appreciate the sense of accomplishment at the end of each day as you look back and realize you don’t feel stressed out, and yet you finished up everything you had on your to-do list.