No, not that one. Or that one, either. The word I have in mind is “Lists.”
Lists will first chain you, and hold you down. But then, eventually, the lists will set you free.
The homestead is in a curious state of flux, at the moment. I, as usual, have my “day job,” which pays the bills and puts food on the table. Being summer, the children are vacationing with my sainted (if occasionally somewhat misguided) parents, to return when extracurricular activities start before school. My wife, meanwhile, has a temporary job, sitting in for a friend who should, by the time this gets posted tomorrow, be meeting her first child for the first time.
All of which leaves a good six or so hours of daylight, every day, when no work is being done around the homestead because we’re all away. (I’m not worried about security at the house; the dogs are quite protective of it, and the four of them collectively mass about 450 pounds…)
So how is anything getting done? Organization, mainly. My wife and I sat down, late in the spring, and discussed what big projects we wished to complete over the summer. These were broken down into their component parts, and each of us made a list with our portions thereof. The various daily household chores were divided up, based on timeliness, ability, or personal preference. (I let the chickens out before I leave for work in the morning; being relatively mosquito-resistant, I also put them up in the evenings. That sort of thing.) Then, we each added the smaller, more personal things we wished to do.
Hey, presto! Lists. It can be difficult, at first, getting things accomplished. It is, after all, a very big list, and things keep getting added to it. Yak shaving is alive and well in this household–you start to do something, but to do it, you’ve got to do that thing over there, for which you have to accomplish x, y, and z… (I’d fix that bit of fenceline, but the roll of wire fencing is in that spot next to the barn that got overgrown, so I have to mow to be able to get to it. But the lawn mower needs a new fuel filter, new air filter, and new spark plug, so…)
Then there are the things that break, requiring sub-lists so that you can fix them or work around them. And there are things that daily get added to the list, as you think of them. (You do add things to the list as you go, right?)
But after a while, as you get things done and checked off the list, you start to revel in that little sense of accomplishment that comes with completing a task. (If you’re really good, you can revel in it several times a day!) And getting more things done becomes something of a game. How many can I get checked off today? Can I make the list shorter, even including the things that (inevitably) get added to the list?
All of this is good practice in planning and organizing–excellent skills to have, both before, during, and after any sort of an emergency.
My list today had several things added to it, but it got a little bit shorter. How did yours do?