Managing home and life goals (like homesteading) are a balancing act that is worthy of perfecting. For some of us, life can feel completely in control even if our home is out of control. But for others of us, we need to complete certain daily tasks to feel like we can move on to working on our goals.
Because it is so important for many of us to have order on the daily, I’ll share with you a few ways you can plan out your weeks. This will help you move ball forward in your home so you can get on with the exciting work of fulfilling your goals!
For this exercise in learning how to get things done, I have a tool for you to download. It’s a few worksheets that will help you along, and you can grab them at the end of this post.
First, Determine Your Daily Tasks
What do you do every day? What do you want to get done every day? What absolutely has to be done every day?
Asking yourself these three questions is a great place to start. Here is an example of what my list looks like:
- wash up/get dressed
- work for 3 hours
- 7 am meeting
- 10 am meeting
- feed all animals
- take a nap
- make dinner
These are all of the items that I either want to do to fulfill my life goals, or that someone else in our household (or on our homestead) needs me to do every day. These change from time to time, but not by too much.
Think About How You’ll Fit Your Goals Into Your Daily Tasks
It’s not enough to have our goals written out somewhere. Goals are meant to be achieved, amiright? Goals that are not achieved are just dreams, and dreams don’t put food on the table. It’s the consistent, focused work that we do that achieves goals and makes our dreams come true.
Writing down our goals and a plan to accomplish them is paramount to actually accomplishing them! Novel, right? But it’s true. It’s easy to have a goal, but sometimes it isn’t easy to figure out how to get from point A to point B.
If you have your goals pretty much mapped out, lucky you! You can just simply add those things to the correct months
Need help setting goals for your homestead? Take my Homestead 101 goal setting course!
Think About How You Like to Plan
Planning can be problematic if we don’t have the right tools, so I suggest you get those together. But later.
First, let’s talk about you.
NOTE: If you already have the tools you like for planning, you can skip down to the heading called “How to Get It All Done in a Day”. Don’t worry, I won’t be offended. 🙂
How do you like to plan? If you’ve planned anything before, you will probably know if you like a certain type of media for planning. There are so many options out there for making our weekly plans, but here are a few to get you thinking about what you might prefer to use.
Pre-Made Planner Notebook
This is the most obvious choice for getting started with a weekly plan. Because most planners come with a monthly and weekly view, it is very easy to jot down and keep straight all that needs to be done in your home or on your homestead, inside and out.
These notebooks usually have all you need inside to keep track of your life for the 12 or 18 months ahead of you. This is probably the best choice if you want to be pretty detailed about what you are doing for the week, and for the year.
For 2018, I used the See It Bigger planner, which worked out nicely for me. Being a super busy person, I did have to make some tweaks to some of the layout. For the most part, it did what I needed it to.
Homemade Planner Notebook
There are a ton of printable planners out there on the internet to be had. Many are free, but there are some paid downloadable planners that have more bells and whistles than their free counterparts. These printable planners make it easy to add pages in where they are needed, and leave pages out that you don’t need.
This is a great option, because it’s free. Anyone can get a google calendar in 5 minutes, and be on their way to a more organized week. It’s not quite a planner, though, so there isn’t as much flexibility for notes and such. Unlike the planner notebook option, this is for the less detailed homesteader.
What can be used within Google Calendar is a method called “time blocking”.
Time blocking is when you block out certain stretches of time for specific tasks. For instance, every morning, I block out 3 hours for work, 2 hours for a nap, a couple hours for meetings I need to attend, and an hour for outdoor chores: feeding the chickens and goats, harvesting, cleaning up the garden area, raking pens, or whatever needs to be done.
There’s no set order things need to be done, they just need to be done in the time block assigned. When the next time block starts, I switch gears to whatever is in the next block. It’s super easy.
How do I know what’s in each time block? I add specific tasks into the notes section of each time block entry. What I do is to click on each time block to it shows the uneditable view of the block.
I scroll down and do each thing on my numbered list that I made in the notes section. There’s no satisfying checkboxes that I can check off, but it still works quite well for me.
Giant Wall Calendar
I love giant wall calendars! These come in monthly or weekly options, and both are handy for at-a-glance type of referencing. The weekly would be the more detailed of the two wall calendars, but monthly can work quite well if you don’t mind just having a short list of daily tasks.
This option is great if you need a quick visual of what you need to do each day. Hanging it on your wall will help you see your daily tasks. It will also allow you to see at a glance what’s coming up for the week. You can grab one of these wall calendars at any local big box store, or a local office supply store.
Putting It All Together
Ok so here’s the practical part of all of this. It’s going to take a little time to learn the planning process, but once you do, you will have a plan that can help you master your day. Mastering your days will help you feel less frazzled, and more on top of what’s happening on your homestead.
Pencil It All In
Whichever medium you choose to plan into, the method is just about the same. Before you start these steps you will need to download and print daily, weekly, and monthly planner pages. My instructions will work fine with any planner pages you may have.
- MONTHLY VIEW PAGE: I know we are talking about organizing our week, but to do that, we first need to see what our month has in store for us. If you have a calendar where you write important dates, refer to the present month.
If not, print one and add all the non-negotiable items to the appropriate days: birthdays, appointments, work, days off, baseball practices,etc., for the month. This monthly calendar is what you’ll use to plan each week, so don’t skip this part.
- WEEKLY VIEW PAGE: Next, look at the weekly view page in your planner for the week you are planning today. Look at the corresponding week on the monthly view calendar, and add anything to the page that you don’t want to forget. Fill out the rest of your weekly view with your priorities for the week.
If you have a priorities section for your week, bring everything off your calendar, like birthdays, meetings, etc. and add those to that section. This is because you will need to consider those while you’re planning things you want to get done inside the home.
DAILY VIEW PAGE: Once you are familiar with what your week is going to look like, you will want to now fill in each day’s page. Let’s start with Monday for now. Look at your calendar to see what’s on the agenda for the day. Add in any errands, meetings, holidays, or anything else you absolutely have to do.
If there is a time it needs to be done, write that down as well. In the same section, add in anything you need to get done around the house. These would be chores, phone calls, balancing the checkbook, etc. Next, add in your meal plans according to what’s happening that day. (Don’t know how to meal plan? Check out this post for help.)
For instance, if you know there is baseball practice today, maybe you might choose a crockpot meal you can throw in at a less busy time of the day. If you are taking a course at night and won’t be home on night in the week, you can make it a “FFY (fend for yourself)” night if you have older kids.
Pencil in the most convenient meal plans for whatever is happening each day. Of course, if it’s just a regular, not too busy day, you might opt for making lasagne or some other more complicated meal.
PUTTING IT ALL TOGETHER: Now that you have those three filled out, you may want to finish printing and filling out weekly view pages for the rest of the month, or simply just printing and filling out daily view pages for the rest of the week.
It is up to you how you want to do this, but if you prefer to fill these out week by week, just make sure you get a planning day on the calendar so you actually don’t forget to do your planning.
Add these pages to a notebook and keep it in a handy location so you won’t forget to look at it every day.
Do Your Thing
You’re all done! Now it’s time to buckle down and actually follow your newly laid out plans! You’ve gotten this far, and I know you can do all you need to do to keep your plans each day. Look at your new planner every day, and do the tasks that are on each day’s page.
You will now have control of your day! The peace you will feel because you know you are working toward not only keeping your home clean, your day running smoothly, but also working toward your homesteading goals will be unmatched! I promise!
Some days, you will probably feel like skipping some of the tasks you’ve planned. But wait–don’t do that to yourself! Make sure that you keep the planned commitments that you make, even if they are just to yourself. It matters if you want to learn how to get it all done in a day!
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