Thursday, March 31, 2011

Time...Can I Have Some More, Please?

No matter how much time I have set aside in a day to do different chores, it seems there is never enough!
Time management is one thing anyone that wants to be self-sufficient has to learn.
Using time wisely is as important as having the skills to garden or deal with livestock!
If you get bogged down trying to reach *perfection* standards doing one chore, more than likely you won't have enough time to even begin the next!
If you are a homemaker (wife, mother) on top of homesteading or run a business out of your home on top of homesteading, it complicates matters even more!
Sometimes, things just *crop up* when you least expect them (or when you downright didn't expect them) and throws your entire day off kilter!

I TRY  to have a bit of a schedule to my day. It doesn't always work!
My day always starts with my getting up,getting the goats out of their pen and into the big side yard (the *outer pasture*), giving them a bit of grain and a flake of alfalfa hay.
Then I fix breakfast for the fella and get him off to work.
Then, I feed the chickens.
Then I get the kids up, fed and off to school.
After that, what I do is varied.
I have already cleaned the chicken coop and put down fresh straw for them while they scratch away in the goat pen. I intended to come in and vacuum, but got side tracked when I noticed that Someone (name with-held to protect the guilty!) had left tools out and about in the yard, so I stopped to pick them up, wipe the dust off of them and put them back where they belonged. While doing that, I noticed that the compost heap needed to be watered a bit, and while I was at it, watered the plum, fig and pecan trees as well.

I need to rake out the big goat pen later today, but that will wait. I intend to let the chickens scratch around in there for a bit while their roost and nest boxes dry thoroughly. I blast it clean with the hose about once every two weeks. Chickens can get mites and lice, so I keep the coop as clean as I can and dust the hens with DE and also let them out in the yard to take sand baths. A healthy hen is a happy hen and happy hens lay more eggs!

Back to time management....
With livestock, time management seems to be a laughable concept. That goat or cow may decide to give birth just as you are putting in new fencing. That sheep may get sick and require your undivided attention just when you have the time to weed the kitchen garden.
You cannot tell yourself to "have a schedule and stick to it!" It just doesn't work that way.
You have to be able to adapt to everything thrown at you while it's being thrown at you.
Kind of like juggling!
But still, you have to get certain things done at certain times.
The key is to schedule time sensitive chores and then work around them as best you can.
I tried milking the goats in the morning, but with the general daily chaos of feeding animals, the fella and the kids and getting everyone off to school and work, morning milking was an impossibility. The few times I accomplished it, I was exhausted by 8 am.!
We only milk once a day, so I milk in the afternoons now. The kids get off the bus, sling their school stuff in their rooms and then help. The goats get a much desired snack of sweet feed while they are being milked, the kids get good experience and I don't feel like I have been run over by a freight train!
I schedule certain chores for certain days of the week. I try to not pile too much up on any particular day. That way I can do a chore in *little bites* so I am not overwhelmed if something unexpected occurs.
If I get everything done for a day, then I can throw myself into a new project or the next days chores and get a bit ahead of the game.
My scheduling may not work for anyone else, but it does work for me!
(For the curious, I started this post at 8:53 am and am finishing it at 10:20 am. I had to start laundry, hang up laundry, break the dogs up from a fight they were having, start a load of dishes in the dishwasher, and clean the refrigerator.)
How do you manage YOUR time?


  1. What is this time management you speak of? ;)

    I get up at 530 am, post to my blog. Get the kids up, do morning chores as they eat and get dressed. Send them off to school, eat breakfast. Plant things (summer I weed until I get heat stroke). have lunch and play with the computer. do household chores. Kids come home, snack time and homework. (I work on my novel or articles and help them at the same time) boys check eggs, greet husband, dinner, movie with boys, showers, bedtime stories, milk cows, watch a movie with husband, have alone time and pass out around 12am, unless I want to read, then around 230am. and back at it at 530am.

    We get a bale every Monday. Major projects take place on Sundays and Mondays.

    routine works better than managing time, or schedule's. I just make things a habit and don't get too overwhelmed. But there are times when things get hectic, certain times of year, deaths. . . I just work around them best I can and try not to cry too much.

  2. Heard that...I have had a few days when all I wanted to do was curl up in a ball, cry my eyes out and hope the world would go away.
    Today ended up being sorta like that, lol!
    What *saved the day* for me was our goat, Gabby. She decided to be cooperative, sweet and obliging for her milking. She even did some *cutsey* things (totally out of character for her!). Maybe she could tell I was having a bad day.

  3. We all have those days. They seem to evoke the the curl-up-and-cry instinct in us girls and the cuss-scream-and-SMASH (or throw)-something in the guys. That's life.

    I try to organize my chores around whatever limitations are imposed. For instance we don't have garbage pickup here. We have a 'collection station' that consists of three or four large roll-off containers labeled in categories like 'metal' or 'household.' One of them is hooked up to a giant compactor contraption. The station is only open three days a week ...Mondays, Wednesdays and Saturdays. We make a 'trash run' once a week, so we schedule other things on those three days according to whether that's the day we need to make the trash run that week. I've always preferred solitude when I do housework, so I do it on Sunday afternoons now ...because Yeoldfurt works on Sundays. He's gone from 9am to about 7pm. I go to church in the morning, run any town errands after church and have all afternoon for the laundry and housework.

    I'm glad Gabby gave you a 'pick-me-up' today, Lamb. Sometimes when I'm sad or bothered, I go talk to my horse. She's a good listener.

    : )

  4. Animals are usually the best listeners!
    What Gabby did that tickled me was...when we first started milking her, Gabby had never been milked before, so she would kick and try to sit down, etc. I ended having the Girl hold up one leg so I could reach Gabby's teat (on each side)and so Gabby couldn't kick.
    Well, the Girl came home from school feeling sick, so I had to milk Gabby by myself. To my surprise, when I reached for her teat, she raised her leg up in the air as if it were being held, lol! She did the same thing when I moved to the other side. Gabby kept looking back at me as if to say "Am I doing this right?" Got the milking done in record time and gave Gabby an extra snack for her cooperation.


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