It has been an amazingly difficult challenge to determine what job to do first on the homestead. Prioritization of tasks can be mind bending and potentially disheartening. Don't give up. We are going to talk about what we think is the number 1 job to prioritize and how to keep everything organized and moving forward.
Each one of us has a different lifestyle, a different family dynamic, different accommodations, and different energy levels among many other things. It is difficult to say that our strategy will work for you but we believe that there are certain tasks and jobs that outweigh all others when you are living an off-grid homesteading lifestyle.
So what do you tackle first?
The Number 1 Job to Prioritize
That's right, we are going to reveal what we believe is the number 1 job from the start of our article. Why? Because it is too important to beat around the bush. In today's day in age, we believe growing food for your family should be the top priority!
We are coming at this point from many angles. We believe that in the event that our society falters just slightly, a tragic occurrence will take place. A run on the grocery stores. Modern stores only stock enough food for a 3 day period. That is at normal purchasing levels. Just think about how quickly stores run out of food even before a natural disaster like a hurricane hits. Hours, minutes. Also look at times of economic crisis such as what is happening in Venezuela.
Let's be honest, most of us are on the same page when it comes to the reasons for homesteading or a self-sufficient country lifestyle. We must realize that the number 1 priority should be to feed our families. Get that garden growing ASAP! Every amount of money and time should be allocated on this task and supporting tasks.
The Rest Of The Tasks
Now that we got the most important thing out of the way, we can tackle everything else. For each one of us, the "everything else" will be different but we want to help you prioritize with some basic rules of thumb.
So in our case we have an older country home. This home is in fairly good shape but needs some work. The reason it needs work is irritating. The previous owner was a self styled handyman who said they worked in construction at one point in life. It does not show. The projects and jobs that he completed (or partially completed) around the home are sloppy, incorrect, and in some cases dangerous.
Your home is your shelter and it will need to last you a long time. It needs to be kept in the best shape possible. The one issue that will destroy a house quicker than any other is water. If water is entering into your home, it will rot everything over time. It will also potentially cause harmful mold and mildews to grow. You need to keep the water away from and out of your house. Check out how we are working to repair our homes water problems here: How to install a metal drip edge along your roof.
If you live in climate where you need to heat your home extensively in the winter this task will take priority over weather proofing your home. If you heat your house with wood, this is an important homestead task that jumps to the front of the line at the end of summer. Clean up the underbrush for kindling. Cut down those trees ready for harvest and start chopping, bucking and splitting.
Not all of us are live in an environment that we can grow in year round. If that is the case, preserving the food you have grown is almost as important as growing it. If you are fortunate to be able to afford a greenhouse, this gives you a small out when it comes to the amount of food you need to preserve. It is important to take time to actually understand how much food your family eats per day. This will guide you on the amount to preserve.
If you have animals and they provide sustenance to your family, those animals need to be high on your priority list. The everyday care for many of them is very time consuming. The larger the animals, the more work is added to your pile. The more varieties of animals your own, the more work is added to the pile. Most days the care of the animals (cows, chickens, sheep, goats, etc.) falls to the morning hours. Cleaning of their bedding may not be a daily occurrence but it is a ton of work and must be calculated into your tight schedule.
This is an important topic. How does your family make money? Big question. Do you still work a 9 to 5? Do both parents work? Do you own and operate your own business? What type of business is it? Retail, professional services, or an online passive income business. All of them require dedication and time and must be prioritized appropriately. Do you feed the chickens before work in the morning or when you get home at night? Does someone stay home to feed the chickens? Every family will handle this differently.
Let's be honest. There are a million things to do on a well established homestead. For us, we have a three year old and one on the way. That time commitment to family seriously hinders (not in a bad way) the time allotment to completing your homesteading tasks. Prioritizing all tasks is of great importance.
Do the following to greatly help organize and prioritize your homestead tasks.
Make lists. Write down all your tasks on a white board or chalk board in a highly visible area of your home. We mean all the tasks and jobs around the home. Laundry, cooking, feeing the cows, cutting the grass, repairing a window, weeding the garden, etc. This will help you visually determine what needs priority that day or that week. Assign a number to each job in order of importance. Some tasks may just have the same number.
Duplicate those lists onto sticky notes or lined paper and place them in your most visited spot in the home. If that place in your home is the bathroom.....put them there. Having a visual connection to the jobs list will help you keep focused and remember what needs to be done first and what can wait until next week.
Plan out several weeks in advance. Stress will melt off your shoulders. When you see all that you have to do right there in front of you, it will help calm your mind. Personally, if a job pops up and I am not prepared, it freaks me out. But, if I have my list solidified, adding a new task into the mix is easier and much less stressful.
We hope this article helps you prioritize and plan and we hope it helps you reduce stress and move ahead on your homestead confidently.