So you decided to start homesteading. Now there are a million things you probably want to do right? It is so easy to get overwhelmed when we start thinking about all the things we want to accomplish. That’s why you need to learn how to set priorities for your homestead. Setting priorities is often overlooked when we start planning out our goals for the year. We tend to get too wrapped up in all the activities we have going on.
Everything is so new and exciting when you are just getting started. It can be difficult to narrow down your list of goals and aspirations. You have to figure out how to peruse your resources like your time and money. In order to make your homestead a successful adventure you first need to define a clear plan that will guide you forward.
Setting priorities and figuring out what should be decided first can be difficult decisions. There are so many factors to take into consideration. You have to consider any challenges and problems that may surface along the way. And then you must be prepared for coming up with a solution to those challenges
There are a few factors you must take into consideration in order to decide which things are priorities and which are not.
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Know Your Passions
The absolute first thing you should be aware of is where your passion lies. Are you passionate about gardening? Maybe your passion lies in foraging and home remedies or natural living. Some people thrive on living a self-reliant lifestyle so they do not have to be dependent on others. Think about what you are truly passionate about.
Next, rule out the very things that simply don’t interest you. If you have no interest in livestock then I do not suggest buying a herd of cattle. Pursuing areas of homesteading you really have no passion for is only going to set you up for failure. And that is no way to be successful around the homestead.
List the things you are interested in and have a passion for in a notebook. Don’t worry about how many you list. Just get them out of your head and onto paper.
Know Your Limits Before You Set Priorities on Your Homestead
Sometimes the very things we are most passionate about are the very things that challenge us the most. A person who must be in a wheelchair, for example, may want to have a lot of gardens. Therefore, they must figure out a way to work in the garden from a wheelchair. This means using raised bed gardens or maybe a pool turned fish pond.
Maybe you will be taking on your homestead alone. Doing things alone can, of course, pose its limits too. Buying 50 lb. bags of feed may not be feasible for someone who is not strong enough to lift them.
People with chronic problems of pain may not be able to handle a large or time-consuming workload. Things like having to maneuver a tractor may not be the most rewarding task for someone with a bad back.
Know your limits and try to set priorities for activities that you can enjoy and physically do. Then you will know which skills you need to learn.
Know Your Resources and Opportunities
What resources are available to you on your homestead and in your area? Does your homestead have good soil that can easily be planted? Maybe you can start a food forest.
Are there natural resources on or around your property that may be useful for your homestead? How about the community or town you live in? Are there programs offered that you may receive help or information when you need it?
Look at your actual homestead. Do you have a barn or buildings already there? If not is there room to build? Will zoning be an issue? Also, consider the tools and materials you already have on hand. Think about what you may need to purchase in order to meet your goal when you set priorities for your homestead.
Lastly, yet importantly, look at your money on hand, your savings, and what income can be made in the future. If you live on a fixed income, you may be limited to doing certain things. You may need to set up a budget. All of these things should be considered before you set priorities for your homestead.
Deciding Your Priorities
So now you have an idea of what you are passionate about, what you are able to accomplish, and what’s available to you. Now you can set priorities for your homestead!
Start with your list. Think about the things that you want to do. Some ideas and tasks will have to happen before other ideas and tasks can happen.
You have to have a chicken coop before you go buying a dozen hens. Fencing or stalls, even some form of housing will have to be built and ready before livestock and other animals can be homed on your homestead.
Go through your list and start prioritizing the items you listed. Think about what is most important first. Work through your entire list this way. You may want to number each item from one through however many items you listed.
Things to consider when prioritizing:
- If the project is seasonal. ie: spring planting
- The cost of the project overall.
- What will the return on investment be?
- Consider whether the task is something that MUST be done now or can wait.
- Is there another task that must be done first for this to be completed?
- Is the task truly a need or just a want that can wait?
- Will it be beneficial to the homestead?
Making a Strategic Plan
Once you have weighed your options and set priorities, you need to form a plan. You can plan in many different ways. Maybe using a 12-month wall calendar or a paper planner would be sufficient here. Just find some way to write out what you want to do and when.
Although this may seem simple, a plan should be very thought through. Don’t just write in April, “Start a Vegetable Garden”. Why? Because that is the end result. You must first plan to prepare the soil, consider compost, and order seeds. Have you considered watering your garden? All of these things need to be part of the overall plan.
If you plan to raise pigs, have you thought about building their pens, providing a house of some sort, or their feed source? Have you found a local veterinarian that will treat livestock and other farm animals? All of these things need to be planned ahead of time.
Work backward when you are ready to set priorities and make a plan. Write the end result in your calendar then work backward until all of the tasks associated with that goal are listed. Remember plans can be adjusted as you go. Nothing is ever set in concrete when homesteading.
Have a Plan B!
Life happens! The weather does goofy things. Trees fall, animals get sick, and money isn’t always dependable. In any of these instances, you will need an alternate plan.
Think of the possible things that can go wrong before they happen. Then try to come up with changes you can make to be prepared when they do. No matter how careful you are when you set priorities, anything is possible and it’s always better to be prepared.
Knowing how to set priorities can allow you to have a prosperous and much smoother-running homestead. Take the time to set a concrete plan. Be realistic when considering your abilities and resources.
Have a backup plan and know the resources that are available. By following the above guidelines you are well on your way. Are you looking to start homesteading or are you getting ready to make a plan for your homestead?