When we first moved to our property our biggest task was creating the infrastructure for our farm. While that time was busy, we certainly had a lot more flexibility. This was mostly because we didn't yet have any animals on the farm, except of course our dogs and cat. So making time for fun and relaxation was a bit easier. A little over a year later we had grown to 3 cows, 5 goats, 36 chickens, 4 dogs, and 2 cats. You can imagine how full our schedules became. So how do we juggle it all? Time management and Flexibility.
Between milking goats, feeding animals, refilling waters, collecting eggs, mucking stalls & coops, trimming hooves, and much much more our chore time grew significantly. So me, being a planner, started brainstorming ways to improve our time management and create good workflows for our chore times. Time management is about setting goals and defining priorities, then creating a guide to accomplishing them. This will change over time. This will change with the seasons. And yes, this can even change daily. Which brings me to flexibility. No matter how much planning you do, always be ready for an unexpected delay.
In a perfect world these plans would always work out as intended... but in our imperfect world something always comes up. Weather, sickness, injury, broken equipment, you name it. So in those moments we look back to our list of priorities and adjust. If something isn't working, you can't just force it. Just like this blog post... it may be a few days late but I needed more time. So instead of forcing out a post, I allowed my brain to rest until I was ready to write.
As I shared in our Farming as a Couple post, Jordan and I have implemented the brain dump method into our routine. This allows my analytical brain to take all that information and plan out the next few weeks. Our schedules are always a mix of routine and random. For example, chores are always around the same time but Jordan's work schedule is never the same week to week. This makes planning a bit of a puzzle, but not impossible. When scheduling anything it is important to factor in work schedules, weather, energy, time, and equipment needed. This will help you plan your days better.
I can't get through this post without talking about the most forgotten priorities... time for you, your spouse, your family, and your friends. Don't neglect these. Allow yourself time to rest, plan a few date nights, schedule a family dinner, make time to call your mom, and don't forget a game night with friends. We were not meant to go through this crazy life alone. We are built for community. Forgetting to leave room for yourself and others will absolutely lead to burnout. Start with once a month and work up your frequency from there. You will figure out what works best for you and your family.
Juggling farm chores and working full time jobs is definitely a challenge but we do our best to make the most of our time. Make time for you and your loved ones. Schedule a nap if needed. It may take you a few week, months, or (like me) years before you find a good rhythm to planning and that is totally okay. Be patient with yourself and be flexible with your time. Remember to enjoy the wonderful and beautiful things in your life.
How can I pray for you?