Are you effective or just busy?
It’s very easy to fall into the busyness trap. You’re churning and getting stuff done. Feed and water the chickens, feed and water the sheep, feed and water the kids! There are times when things get jumbled in your mind.
“I need to trim the hops back”, “I need to clear the back deck”, I need to get the pots ready for starts”, I have plants coming in a week and I’m not ready”, aaaaahhhhhhh!!! “I’m so busy!” “I don’t have time to stop, I will get behind.”
In reality, you don’t have time not to stop. Most of us hit this phase now and again. You need to recognize it for what it is and then act upon that information in order to be effective. I think it’s time to ask yourself: are you effective or just busy?
Get off the execution spin cycle
Have you ever felt like you were too busy to sit down and plan? That is exactly the time to step off of the execution spin cycle, take a breath and asses whether or not you are effective or just busy. A great book that will challenge you is Deep Work: Rules for Focused Work in a Distracted World by Cal Newport. What is Deep Work? “Deep work is the ability to focus without distraction on a cognitively demanding task… and yet most people have lost the ability to go deep – spending their days instead in frantic blur.” If you are going to be a successful homesteader you have to put down the frantic blur. Lot’s of homesteaders wear their busyness as a kind of badge of honor. Planning, assessing and questioning your effectiveness takes deep work. Do the hard things and stop. Ask yourself, in what areas am I effective? In what areas am I not effective?
Monica and I just recently bumped into the execution spin cycle. We were starting to spin but we recognized it and decided to get away for one full day and focus on planning. This was definitely necessary!
But I’m getting stuff done!
“I did 30 things on my to-do list today.” Most likely, if you carefully analyzed the list (if there is a list) you would find 5-10 that could have been eliminated without any impact at all. You could have delegated 5-10 without much trouble, and the remaining 10-20 things you did do were great but what about the three things that you really need to do but didn’t? Often times doing lot’s of “stuff” covers up the really crucial things that need to be done. It’s not the doing the thing that is hard, it’s sitting down to do the thing that is hard.
Effectiveness depends on your goals and objectives
How do you gauge effectiveness? You base it off of your goals and objectives. Is what you are doing getting you there? Let’s say you have a hardcore self-sufficiency goal of meeting 50% of your own caloric needs from your property. What is going to be more effective, focusing on livestock for meat or growing vegetables? It doesn’t have to be either or but if that is our goal then it will, and should, color how you get there. Salads filled with vegetables are wonderful but from a sustenance standpoint meat, eggs, milk, nuts, and fruits provide more. Of course we would suggest all of that plus fungi and vegetables but it is the analysis, assessment and design that will lead to effectiveness in reaching goals.
Concepts like this led me to create a course on planning. I feel strongly about it because it seems to be a missing part of the homesteader, permaculturist and regenerative agriculturist community, for the most part. We need to develop planning as a skill just like we would develop the skill of bee keeping. Watch the free introductory video below and consider joining our community for only $7.99 a month. This course, and others, are included with membership.