Tools for Success
Become a successful homesteader, farmer, and sustainable leader by managing time, money, and your business more efficiently by the following ways. Every second counts when you exclaim, “there isn’t enough time in the day!” Some of the biggest challenges that many people strive to improve on include time management, scheduling life around work, and budgeting finances effectively. How you plan to spend each day and how it unfolds otherwise, determines the fate of your livelihood. While there is no one way to be a successful overachiever, here are a few pointers that might lighten your load while helping you live more sustainably.
If you aren’t familiar with holistic planning and whole farm management then it’s time to utilize these tools so that you can have a more sustainable operation. ATTRA and Holistic Management International (HMI) provide a wealth of resources to help you balance your triple bottom line. For instance, Whole Farm fundamentals incorporate environmental, economical and social initiatives.
“Holistic management gives people a way to make decisions that mirror the way nature functions which ensures farming is sustainable over time” (Sullivan 2011, 3). In Nature’s Essentials to Sustainable Farming, animal impact, living organisms, labor, and observance of the farm managed as a whole unit affect the homestead landscape (Adams and Butterfield 2004). A holistic approach allows farmers to see the bigger picture from beginning to end and live a better quality of life (Sullivan 2011, 9).
If you don’t have a schedule yet set aside some time that works for you to plan your foreseeable future. Every farm has unique challenges so learning how to harness chores more efficiently will make you an extraordinary achiever with time to spare. Go ahead and sketch a draft of your schedule on paper, or create an excel spreadsheet before finalizing any details. Using a monthly planner, notebook, smartphone application, or wall calendar will strategically improve your work routine.
List all of the current tasks you have by day, week, month, and year. Also make a list of tangible goals you would like to accomplish within the next five years. Keep your niche in mind and try to be as realistic with your time as possible. Tactfully integrate who, what, when, where, and why on your schedule as applicable. Guesstimate the amount of time it takes to complete a task while prioritizing tasks in order of importance and time. Note when an activity takes more or less time than projected and restructure your schedule as needed.
Create and plot out your schedule based on the timed activities on your list each day. Be sure to allow extra time for projects, emergencies, and adventures. Analyze your priorities and brainstorm ways that you can maximize your time as you become more efficient with your tasks. Learn to delegate when possible. Completing this exercise somewhat frequently ensures mindful time management. Most of all, don’t forget to pencil in free time each week. This will encourage you to stay focused and have time to plan something fun.
As a result you will find that checklists are more useful to others when written on a board in the main milieu. List tasks that can easily be accomplished to boost morale. Make sure that you have a great start to your day doing something that you love! Furthermore, an excellent application offered online that will allow you to track your business, time, planning, and marketing, can be found at airtable.com.
Never underestimate the value in penny pinching.If you don’t have a budget yet, start anew for this is by far one of the highest hurdles for humans to tackle. Become more frugal with your money so you can invest your money where it counts. Master prioritizing your financial needs, set and strive to attain your financial goals. Saving as much as you can while paying off all of your current debt is crucial.
Definitely seek guidance and advisory support from others as needed. A financial advisor can help you get your finances in order and help you invest your money appropriately. An accountant can help you balance ledgers, and help you understand taxes, while a lawyer can help you protect your assets and more, but in the end you will still need a budget to be economically sustainable. Who will save you the most money, put in the extra hours, and get you the largest returns? You will if you invest your energy wisely. Take time to create a plan and recruit support before you get yourself into trouble. Additionally, Whole Farm management and holistic planning integrate financial management as a part of their infrastructure to help you meet objectives.
The Farmer’s Office written by Julia Shanks, is an excellent how-to guide useful for managing your money more efficiently. This book is tailored for farmers as the title suggests, but it is especially applicable for any small business owner. The author discusses the value of Quickbooks, and managing your money with a Quickbooks app on your smartphone or software on your computer. While you can track revenue and expenses throughout the year you can allocate funds for taxes owed at year end. Your financial data is transferable to applicable tax software programs so you can file directly with less hassle and more confidence (Shanks 2016).
Love Your Transformation
Sustainably restructuring the way you manage your life will ensure your legacy lives on. Take advantage of all of the free resources around you to help you attain your goals. While the internet is a great place to gain more insight, don’t forget about visiting your local library to learn more. Your next adventure awaits that could inspire innovative ideas, newfound love, and a peace of mind. Learn to embrace your burdens mindfully so that you can thrive exponentially and fulfill the dreams that you deeply desire.
Butterfield, Ann Adams and Jody. “The Essence of Holistic Management.” The Savory Center (The Savory Center), 2004: 64-68.
Janke, Rhonda R. “Whole-Farm Planning for Economic and Environmental Sustainability.” Kansas State University: Department of Horticulture, 2000: 2.
Kemp, L. Successful Whole Farm Planning: Essential Elements Recommended by the Great Lakes Basin Farm Planning network. St. Paul: The Minnesota Project, 1996.
Shanks, Julia. The Farmer’s Office: Tools, Tips, and Templates to Successfully Manage a Growing Farm Business. Gabriola Island, British Columbia: New Society Publishers, 2016.
Sullivan, Preston. “Holistic Management A Whole-Farm Decision Making Framework:Fundamentals of Sustainable Agriculture.” ATTRA: Appropriate technology Transfer for Rural Areas, 2011: 1-9.