Homestead planning is tough. Trying to keep track of everything that’s happening at once is hard work and can lead to becoming overwhelmed quickly. No one likes confusion and mayhem right?
Having a way to track what you need to accomplish for the days, weeks and even months can be beneficial and lead to a more rewarding homesteading journey. Knowing what’s expected and what events are coming up helps keep your days running smooth.
How do you stay organized and stress-free while homesteading? By keeping a planner, of course.
Homestead Planning with a Planner
Imagine one book that has everything you need to keep track of in it. Imagine opening tomorrow’s page and seeing exactly what needs to be done, or yesterday’s page that shows what you did, what you spent, or what was not completed. Sounds good right?
That’s what a planner can do for you. A planner can be like a to-do list, a journal, a project tracker and more!
The first step is to actually purchase a planner. If you are one of those creative people you could make your own, but I don’t recommend it for the beginner. Planners are available everywhere both online and in local stores.
If you don’t know what kind of planner to get read Homestead Planner: How to Choose the Right One. It explains the different types and styles so you can choose the best planner for your needs.
Here is my homestead planner.
Setting up Your Homestead Planner
Depending on the style and size you chose will depend on how much you put into it. I chose the Day Designer. It shows a two-page spread of each month followed by a page per day throughout the month. Weekends are combined into a one day spread, which I don’t care for, but the majority of the planner fits my needs.
The first thing I do is decorate the cover, which as you can see in the picture I really didn’t do much. Once the cover is decorated I fill any personal information pages like my address and phone number so if I ever should lose it I, hopefully, will have someone return it to me.
In the planner that I chose, there are goal setting sheets for the year. I fill those in with a general overview of what I plan to accomplish throughout the current year. Then it’s on to the months and weeks.
Homestead Planning for the Monthly Calendar
The first thing I do is look at the goals and action steps that I have planned for the month. If you don’t plan out your goals and would like to learn an easy way to do so, read Writing goals: Starting with Dreams or Making a Life Plan While Homesteading for more information.
I usually write the goals on a long notebook page and paperclip it to the side of my current calendar like a reference sheet. This gives me guidance as to what needs to be done and by when. Now I can start planning the month out.
I now will list any birthdays or events that I need to shop or plan for. Like this month is my granddaughter’s birthday so that’s listed first. I also plan on going to Pennsylvania for that birthday so I know to list those days off, and I need to plan for someone to watch the animals while I am away.
Since I have no other major mandatory events, I can start planning out the tasks related to the goals for the month. Here is the month before I started planning.
After looking at all the tasks I wish to accomplish for the month, I begin to write in the actual tasks that need to be completed on sticky notes. I try and guess how much time things will take and I always allow for bad weather or other events that may change what I have planned.
I also add a to-do list and a to-buy list to the side of the calendar. These items are tasks and purchases I need to make throughout the month. Here is what the monthly spread looks like after a basic plan is made.
Homestead Planning for the Daily Pages
As I said earlier I chose a daily planner, therefore, I don’t have a view of the entire week. To fix this problem I make a weekly list and attach it to my Sundays so I have all my weekly tasks on one page to reference as needed. Now I plan my daily tasks.
I start with the three most important tasks for the day and I plan them first. My planner actually has a “today’s top 3” box that I list these in. After that, I fill in any tasks that I feel I can accomplish throughout the day. If I don’t get to them then I draw an arrow showing that the task needs to be moved to the next day or another day. As I complete each task I simply check it off.
I do this same thing throughout the rest of the week. Here are my Tuesday and Wednesday of the current week.
As you can see, I obviously did not accomplish everything on Tuesday so the tasks that were not completed were moved to the following day. I use the right column to make notes for myself as the day goes on. I also use that column for reminders and purchases that I make throughout the day.
The timeline on the left serves as a time tracker for me. I keep track of when I work (my blog) and whatever else takes place throughout the day. You can use this section any way you want, but for me, I like tracking my time.
Homestead Planning for the Weekly Pages
Planning your week across a two-page weekly spread is similar to the daily, you just don’t have as much room to write and therefore, can’t be as detailed. I used a weekly planner for a few years but I always felt like it got too crowded to find information if I ever had to go back through it so I changed to a daily.
The same process of planning can be used daily for the most part though. Look through the month’s goals and spread the tasks over the weeks. List only the main tasks and just don’t be as detailed as you can in a daily planner.
Sticky notes and Washi tape can come in handy with the weekly planner as you can place a sticky note and still write under it if you need to. I have also paper-clipped notes to pages like to-dos and reminders.
Here are some examples of past weekly planner pages I have used…
As you can see, homestead planning can be easier and more productive if you use a planner. Pick your style, pick your size and start filling in those pages! It doesn’t matter what type of planner you choose as long as it fits your needs. Decorate it, have fun with it, but above all, use it!
Do you have a planner that you use for your homestead? Is it a daily or a weekly planner? Share with me what you currently use and how you find it useful.