Homestead time management is a key component to “getting it all done.” (P.S. – you can’t do it all, all at once) You can do as much as you can in the limited time available to you if you work through these time management steps. This is the final part on how to complete the goals you have on your homestead while still maintaining your life. Be sure to check out part 1 for an overview and part 2 for working through the first few steps.
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Goal setting and prioritizing were discussed in part 2. You can get an overview of the way I manage my time in part 1. For part 3, we will cover the specifics down to a daily routine. Be sure to subscribe to get the Homestead Time Management Workbook!
Step 3: Make a Timeline
This part of your time management you will put the goals you have prioritize into the years in which you would like to have them either started (like start a goat herd), finished (such as build the chicken coop) and in progress items (for example, growing your own food will require at least some initial costs such as seeds).
For example, I want to grow my own food. To put that down into a five year span I broke it up into chunks with one year goals:
- Build up garden, plant annuals and research perrenials
- Continue garden expansion, plant perrenials/fruit trees
- Grow 10% produce
- Increase to 25% produce, all herbs
- Grow 50% produce, all squashes and herbs
Since I am working on several things during a given year, I will list them all out for year 1: build up garden, plant annuals, research perennials, start budget for king sized quilt, study permaculture design, can all jams/jellies, build quail tractor
Depending on where you are heading and what you can achieve, choose a few large beginning steps from your original prioritized list to get you started with making a timeline.
Step 4: Small manageable chunks
Step 3 is designed to get you started with this. However, it gives you specific measurable goals to work off of while getting to more and more details on your overall goals.
Start at the beginning
Depending on your project, you definitely want to start as early in the process as possible. This way you have small chunks to work on throughout your time and you accomplish small goals while heading in the right direction.
Grow your own food
Let’s continue with the “grow your own food” example. You’ll want to break this down to the stage you are at now. Just moved to a new house? You’ll definitely want to start with some sort of survey and observation. If you do not want anything permanent yet, start with potted plants with starts from a local nursery. That way you can move them about the property and see how they do. You will be able to see how the sun, wind, rain, natural disaster risks, etc. hit your property before you lay down all the work for a permanent garden.
If you are further along in your journey, but struggling with direction, this will definitely help you. Continuing with our example. You may already have an established garden, on your fifth year of growing more and more of your own produce. Great! But you want to add a permaculture system that includes an pond for fish you can eat but will also support edible aquaculture. Start at the beginning of that goal. First, you need to decide where on your property you want this pond and how it will get built.
Smaller and smaller pieces
Get more and more detail. If you want to build up a garden, begin with a budget for this. Definitely do not go into debt trying to be a producer, it isn’t sustainable. Decide on your budget and put into the chunks “save $10/month $60 for first 5 raised beds.” You’ll need to do a little research about prices of certain items, salvaging what you can, etc.
Step 5: Year, Month, Week, Day
Now you can work all of those goals, each on into a schedule you can attempt to follow. I do this in a bullet journal but you can also become a subscriber and get the worksheets to get this all down on paper today!
You did this step already, but this is just a reminder and is broken out by each goal. Start with year 1 (since this is your year 1) and then rewrite it.
Now you can look at step 4 for the small manageable chunks and decide which ones can you likely achieve in one month of your first year. For January of year 1, I would likely write “get budget for buying seeds/starts” or “order seeds” since I already have raised beds and a garden area.
Each month you can work on a different piece of this yearly goal. For example, I would like another mobile coop for quail. So in January, when I have a break from work, I will put “buy wood.”
I operate in the weekly zone most of the time. Since I am working outside of the home there is a definitive start to the week: Monday. So every week I write down my goals (what I want to get done this week), tasks (what needs to get done or is schedule such as appointments), notes (what else I would like to think about this week) and a look ahead for next week. You can print out 52 of these if you wish or just start afresh each month depending on what you did or did not get accomplished.
This is where I time block. I have it already set up based on the hours of 5:00 am to 10:30 pm, in 30 minute intervals. This way you can get things done in chunks of time if you need. Alternatively, if you just have 15 or 30 minutes, you can plug in something small or a prep for something bigger. For example, you want to grow your own food. Well take 30 minutes to look over seed catalogs and get a list started on which seeds you would like to purchase. Also you need to build raised beds (or prepare an area). In the interest of efficient time use, take the time to block out 3 hours on a weekend or late one evening and get it done. That way you aren’t wasting time pulling out materials over and over for 30 minute blocks. Make sense?
Step 6: You got this!
This is the best part, get started! Even if your plan and goals change, having a plan at all is a good first step and now you are ready to put your money where your mouth is. You got this! Just start that project, put the soil in the ground, buy the fruit trees to be swimming in loquats! You’re all set up.
Remember this is all able to be customized to you and your situation. Whatever you need or want to change, go ahead. There are definitely unforeseen events and you can certainly modify as you go along.
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