So you know your “why” now–why you want to homestead–and you have some goals written out. You’re excited to get on with all this homestead management you’ve been reading about. So you’ve invested in your supplies. You’ve dabbled a little bit, but the more you dabble, the more intimidated you become. You’ve got “homestead overwhelm”.
This month we’ve been talking a lot about homestead organization, goal setting, and achieving all that you desire on your homestead. Those things are definitely important. I applaud you for getting for getting off your rear and getting yourself into action. It’s the only way your homestead is going to work FOR you, rather than you working with not a lot of return.
But there is something we haven’t yet talked about: homestead overwhelm. Why yes, I did just make up that term! But isn’t it self-explanatory? You are overwhelmed because there is SO much to learn and to do on your homestead. I get it! I’ve been there too. If I’m honest, I’m still there in some areas.
A Personal Experience
So let’s sloooow down for a moment, and think this through. I know we talk a lot about multi-tasking, and those of us who are homesteading women do it very well. It’s not the multi-tasking that counts, though, because doing too many things at the same time isn’t always as productive as we’d like to think.
For instance, when I write a blog post, I usually will do ALL that it takes to write a blog post (writing is only one of 58 things I do for every one of my posts). That’s a lot of different tasks that I go back and forth from, finding and losing my place almost non-stop for 2-4 hours with each blog post. It’s very overwhelming!
Today, I decided to take a stretch of time and just write. Full disclosure, I did have a few things I had to do before I knew how to start each post, but inside of 3 hours, I’ve gotten almost 3 post completely written from start to finish. The other 50+ items that it will take to complete these posts will take at most one hour to complete for each post. That means that I’ll have spent about 2 hours on each post, which is a savings of 2 hours for each post! If I write two post per week, that’s 4 hours per week, and times that by the 52 weeks of the year, that’s over 200 hours that I’ve just bought myself by doing a thing called “mono-tasking”.
Now, I know you may not be a blogger, but you can see the value in what happened when I decided to mono-task, right? I stopped futzing around with everything else and allowed myself to think about one thing at a time. This is the point I want you to get: it’s not admirable to be able to multi-task if the job is taking twice as long. Ain’t nobody got time for spending double the time on homesteading jobs!
Pick Your Skill
So here’s the deal. Let’s think about which homesteading skill is most important for your family. Do you need to start producing food right away? Time to get some chickens or start a garden. Maybe you’re a seasoned homesteader who has never had the time to learn how to preserve the food produced on your homestead? Then, honey, you need to learn to can, dehydrate, or freeze that fantastic food! The point here is to think about the ONE thing that will move the ball forward for your homestead, and work ONLY on that skill until you make it a normal part of what you do.
Here’s an example from my own experience: Over the summer, we were harvesting a lot of tomatoes. For some reason once I bring them into the house, I set them on the counter and forget them. It’s my bad habit of thinking that since I did a lot of work harvesting, that the work was over when I got into the house.
Because I was so lame at taking care of my produce, I took a dehydrating course in the fall. It took a few weeks and I dehydrated many foods. I learned that taking just 15 minutes per day can really help me to get control over my the small tomato harvests I bring in every day. This works with any type of harvest if you can deydrate it! Nothing goes bad, and I’ve mastered a skill that has become a daily (or weekly) habit!
Learn and Practice Your Skill
So now you know which skill you and your family will benefit from most. Now it’s time to make sure that you learn that skill. Do you know anyone that can teach you? One on one teaching is a really great way to learn, and my favorite way to teach someone homesteading skills. If you don’t have anyone you can ask to teach you, perhaps you can join a Facebook group like mine to learn your homesteading skill. I have taught myself most everything I know from books, YouTube, Facebook groups, and by just practicing.
When I say practice your skill, I don’t mean just do it every now and then. I mean practice, like a doctor practices–he puts the things he knows to work every day! We have to do that too. When I learned how to dehydrate food last fall, I did it pretty much every day that I had something to dehydrate. I mean–the husband and kids thought I might be looking at THEM as dehydrating prospects, I was doing it so much! (Totally kidding, I would probably can them rather than dehydrating them, he he.)
Master Your Skill
But seriously, you need to make sure that you fit your new skill into your lifestyle so that it sticks. Make time on your schedule to practice your new skill frequently. You don’t want to spend time learning something so that it falls by the wayside and never becomes a workable piece of your homesteading journey. No–you want this skill you are learning to become a fruitful skill that provides for you and your family for years to come.
Once you are working this skill regularly, it will become second nature to you. You will notice yourself finding ways to make it more simple with each time your perform it. Pretty soon, you will be a canning/dehyrating/knitting/gardening master, who knows not only how to do the skill, but how to make it fit into your life effortlessly. And let’s not forget, that this mastered skill is now working for your family by saving it money and providing its needs. I call that a win!
Do It All Over Again
Once you are completely comfortable with what you know and how you are using your mastered skill, it’s time to do the next one. Did you notice that I didn’t tell you at the beginning to pick more than one skill? That’s because I want you to avoid burnout with your homestead. Or they just decide that they’ll fly by the seat of their homesteading overalls. They let those overalls take them from task to task, never to master anything. That’s risky because homesteading is such an investment of time and money, and to lose any of it, none of us can really afford.
So wait until you are good with your mastered skill, THEN pick the next one. And do it all over again. Again. And again. Until your homestead is exactly what you envisioned way back at the beginning. It’s your life and your homestead–take control of it and make it what you want it to be!
Avoid Homestead Overwhelm with my ”Jump Start to Homestead Planning” Worksheet
Print out my Jump Start to Homesteading worksheet, get your thoughts in order, and get working on that first skill to master!