From time to time, even seasoned homesteaders get to feeling overwhelmed with all there is to do to make their dreams come to pass. Homesteading is hard work, and homestead management is necessary for the smooth running of the homestead itself, let alone any plans for a future business, if that’s something you are interested in.
On this blog, I talk a lot about homestead organization and planning, as well as setting goals and more. As a seasoned homesteader, I understand the need to be able to make our own rules and do our own thing, but when it comes to successfully building a homestead, planning is tantamount to doing the actual building.
Change Your Habits and Stop Feeling Overwhelmed
That’s all it takes? Yep.
Change isn’t as easy as it is to talk about, but you already know that.
A Personal Experience
As a woman living the homesteader’s life for 10ish years now, I have been very used to the multi-tasking mindset.
I am a woman, you know.
As a matter of fact, I am such a multi-tasker that, and while it seems like this skill would be helpful, it’s actually been a detriment to my modern homesteading journey.
Basically, I’ve been a jill-of-all-trades-master-of-nothing. Sure, I know a lot of stuff, but putting it all to work so that it actually benefits my family is part of the mastery, and that’s been hard to achieve.
What It Was Like and What Happened
In my first few years of my homesteader’s life, I started many gardens, got chickens and rabbits, preserving food, learning more about using herbs, and tons more.
I bought books, soil, manure, seeds, canning equipment, tools, herbs, and animal feed…but never really succeeded at the level I was pursuing. Not with any of those skills!
Oh sure, I have learned a lot, and I have a ton of knowledge, but for those first few years, I had been unable to master any of them because I was spreading myself WAY too thin to be able to come to mastery with any skill.
If I’m honest, I still struggle with that. While I’m learning to be more single-minded when performing tasks, my head still wants me to chase all those wonderful, beautiful shiny objects that beckon me so.
What is keeping me from feeling overwhelmed today.
In 2020, I began working on becoming more mindful every day. It’s a practice that I had never exercised before. With the arrival of the internet in the 90s (to my life, anyway) and our “instant gratification” societal outlook, I never really felt like I had to. I actually don’t think I ever really knew what mindfulness was.
This lack of awareness did some serious damage to the way I have conducted my homesteading for the past 10 years, unfortunately.
Want to learn more about this? Here’s a science-based article that might help you leave multi-tasking behind, allowing you to improve your homesteading skills.
So what does that have to do with you?
You’re human aren’t you? I thought so.
But seriously, our instant gratification society and lifestyle is diametrically opposed to the slow life of homesteading. They just can’t really co-exist as a rule when so much of what we need to homestead requires single-focus learning and practice.
So how do you do that?
Slow down, choose a skill that you want to master first, then learn ONLY that skill until you are able to practice it comfortably. Mastery will come after you put in your time — don’t worry about that.
All you need to do is learn what you need to know and practice it until it is habit, routine, second-nature — whatever you want to call it. It will be foolproof for keeping you from feeling overwhelmed with the skills you learn. You will know instinctively what to do and when to do it.
Let’s break that down.
Pick Your Modern Homesteading 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. In an effort to keep myself from feeling overwhelmed, I actually prolonged the process, which did the exact opposite.
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 dehydrate it! Nothing goes bad, and I’ve mastered a skill that has become a daily (or weekly) habit!
Learn and Practice Your Skill
Once you know which skill you and your family will benefit from most, 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. That will leave you feeling overwhelmed every time you come back to use that skill.
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 one 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!
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 feeling overwhelmed with your homestead. You’re welcome.)
So wait until you are good with your mastered skill, THEN pick the next one. And do it all over again.
Again. And again. And again.
Do this one skill at a time 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!