In this blog post, I’m sharing the one farm girl hack that has transformed my life and helped me become super productive!
You see, planting season is officially underway and on top of all our daily chores that need to get done- milking cows, feeding calves, and ensuring all animals have clean, dry bedding– we are feeling the pressure of finding enough time to spend in the fields to get all the crops planted.
Preferably we’d like ten to twelves nice, sunny days with dry conditions to get everything in the ground (though it rarely works out that nicely!).
As a farm girl who knows the importance that a good planting season makes on a quality and bountiful harvest, I feel a bit guilty for even admitting this- but that rain the weatherman promised; the rain that would only halt our progress right about now… Well, I can’t help but feel a little disappointment that we didn’t actually get any of it.
The sky looked promising with plenty of dark clouds in site earlier this morning; however, the wind has since blown any chance of a storm out of the way and it’s back to my tractor as usual.
To be clear, it’s not that I dislike my job. It’s just that after a string of sixteen-hour work days, I’m dreaming of a little bit of time to myself to do those fun & exciting things like laundry, dishes, vacuuming, and what not that are currently being neglected at my household.
Essentially, I just want to get my life back in order!
But there is a silver lining, I do believe, as there is in all situations. Sometimes, like in this instance, you just have to look a little harder.
You see, this isn’t my first go around at planting crops. I’ve been a farmgirl for nearly two-thirds of my life. So, I’ve learned that the blessings of a “too-busy” planting season often come in the form of these unexplainable “productivity surges”- an intense focus and ability to get stuff done in record time!
I use to chalk it up to an adrenaline-like rush for my Type A personality; as if the thought of getting so much crossed off my to-do list was enough to override my body’s desire to just sit down and rest for a moment when I finally had the chance.
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What frustrated me, however, was the fact that I couldn’t replicate that same abundance of productive energy on-command. During my slower-paced days, the ones where the farm required less attention and I actually had adequate time to accomplish any number of tasks- those were the days I got the least done!
And then BAM! A friend introduced me, one day, to the idea of “time-blocking”. It’s not something I coined or created on my own (I wish I had), but it was essentially the process I had done by default for so many years. Finally understanding the whole thing is what ultimately helped me to become my most productive self yet!
How Time-Blocking Works (and why you should try it!):
The reason that my busy seasons tend to be more productive than the rest of my days is because my schedule naturally provided me with a plan. Granted it wasn’t the greatest plan, but it was a plan nonetheless.
After a 16-hour workday, I knew I had only a few precious hours to sleep, eat, respond to necessary emails/texts/etc. I also knew exactly what I did NOT have time for- Nextflix marathons, aimless scrolling on social media, and other time-wasters of a similar sort.
At first time-blocking looks intimidating. You wonder why time-block when you can just write your usual to-do lists and go from there. But let me tell you, it’s easy to make a to-do list in the morning and keep pushing those responsibilities aside, thinking you’ll have enough time later on to get them all done. Making a to-do list and hoping you have time to get around to everything is not productive- you must plan!
So how exactly do you time-block?
Simple- you first right out the tasks that you need to accomplish in a day (I encourage you to limit this to three essential items- remember consistency is much more effective at keeping you productive than intensity is!
I use the top section of my planner (yes, I’m an old-fashion pen + paper kind of gal) to write my entire day’s worth of tasks needing completion. SIDE NOTE: If you haven’t checked out the beautifully designed planners from Simplified* before, I highly encourage you to do so, friend! This planner has been life-changing for me (and that’s no exaggeration!).
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Some days I sort the list by categories such as “Farm”, “Blog/Business” and “Personal”. Other days I list everything by level of importance “Extremely Urgent”, “Would be nice, but can wait” … But it’s your list, so do whatever works best for you!
Then I simply plug in each task into an appropriate time-slot underneath. Don’t forget to schedule time for the essentials like meals, showering, drive-time to and from events, and of course, bedtime!
Initially, I feared the process of planning out my day hour-by-hour would be overwhelming; however, I’ve since found the practice to be rather freeing. I use to think that I was a world-class multi-tasker, shifting from one project to the next, for no specific rhyme or reason, and in the end accomplishing very little.
Time-blocking gives me the peace of mind to know that I can devote my undivided attention to the task at hand and still have sufficient time to carve out whatever else lurks on my to-do list for the day.
Plus, it gives me a quick glance into knowing whether I’ve bitten off far more than I can chew- if you find that you have more tasks than time slots, well then, something’s gotta give!
Now does the system work perfectly for me everyday? Absolutely not!
Life happens and unexpected things come up. Or sometimes, I misjudge the time which a project requires. But you know what? It all works out because I know how the rest of my day is to go- I can choose to keep at the project at hand and finish until it’s complete or I can add it tomorrow’s list and come back to it another time in case there are more demanding deadlines on my list.
So go ahead, give time-blocking a try for yourself! I’d love to hear how the process has worked for you- or ways you’ve made it better. Leave your comments in the section below!
As always, here to support YOU! XO- Britney (ms.fit.farmer)