Running a homestead can be a full-time job in itself, but it is possible to achieve this goal while working full time. Several strategies and disciplines for homesteading while holding down a full-time job will allow you to do both without burning yourself out.
Homesteading while working full time can be done but requires discipline in organization and planning. Time management, dividing responsibilities, using labor-saving strategies, building your homestead slowly, and using local help will contribute to keeping your homestead dream on track!
Working a full day for an employer and running a homestead at the same time can be a challenging way to get started homesteading, but it also has benefits. Learning to juggle your homestead life and your work life will be a key to making a success of both ventures without feeling like you have taken on too much!
How To Homestead With A Full-Time Job
Working full time while you get your homestead established is a good way to maintain financial stability while you get your homestead operations in place.
The financial stability of a day job can be a stress-reliever because you will be able to meet your monthly commitments easier, but there will be more demands on your time and energy.
Homesteading chores still need to be done, and many of them can’t be put off till a more convenient time. Seeds need planting, and plants need watering, livestock needs tending, besides the extra jobs of building and maintaining infrastructure on the homestead.
Effective time and resource management, as well as working smarter, not harder, will contribute to the success of homesteading while working a full-time job.
Time Management While Homesteading And Working Full Time
Working a full day at your day job and coming home in the evening to put in more work hours on the homestead can be a taxing and challenging prospect.
You will not be able to keep ahead of all the tasks required unless you hone your planning skills and become disciplined to keep calendars or spreadsheets and plan for everything that happens on your homestead.
In my experience, the planned tasks are not too difficult to keep on top of when everything goes according to plan. It is the unplanned ones that throw you a curveball now and then that are difficult to deal with and toss your plans out the window that will cause you stress.
Planning everything on the homestead will give you the insight to know what tasks you can push out when dealing with an unplanned event and which ones cannot be left unattended.
The homesteading tasks you can plan ahead for include the following.
- Seed planting. Seeds must be planted at certain times in the right season to ensure quality and abundant harvest.
- Plant watering. Forgetting to water your plants will negate all your hard work, and you will lose a crop.
- Feed stores for livestock. Plan ahead so you are not gathering food stores at the last minute to see you through the winter. The less you grow yourself, the more you need to buy in, and the longer you leave it in the season, the more expensive the feed becomes.
- Planned maintenance. Schedule maintenance on all your equipment and stick to it, so you are not delayed or caught out by equipment breakdowns. Plan any building projects to coincide with times when other tasks are less demanding. Winter is often a good time to build new infrastructure unless you are hindered by extreme weather.
Another huge benefit for someone working a normal job while homesteading is the ability to work from home.
If you work from home, you can oversee operations on the homestead while working your day job, and you don’t have the wasted time of a commute to and from work. This work-from-home arrangement can be a game-changer for homesteaders who simultaneously work a full-time job.
Develop A Homestead Routine
Developing a routine where you do certain tasks at certain times of the day will help you to stay organized and prevent forgetting to get important chores done.
Some tasks on a homestead are better done at certain times of the day, such as feeding animals or watering gardens and developing a routine to encompass these tasks and fit them around your work schedule and keep a mental track of your chores.
A routine becomes a habit, and you know when you have forgotten to do something, there is a nagging at the back of your mind that all is not right. This natural mechanism is a great way to keep yourself on track and get things done.
Divide Responsibilities On The Homestead
Most people who homestead are not individuals but families that decide to opt for a healthier, more independent lifestyle.
Divide and conquer is a useful homesteading strategy for knocking the daily tasks off the list and relieving the pressure off one person who may be working a day job.
Even if both spouses work, there are two of you to attend to the daily homestead chores after working hours. The value of a partnership like this can be immeasurable in the success of your homesteading adventure.
Get everyone in your household onboard with the homesteading lifestyle and give age-appropriate chores to everyone in the family. This strategy not only works to lighten the workload but teaches your children valuable life lessons as well.
Use Labor-Saving Homesteading Strategies
Many homesteaders prefer to do things old-school and go back to older, less complicated methods of getting a job done.
This tactic has merit if you are homesteading as a full-time occupation, but if you are working a day job, you should consider using technology to make your life easier and your tasks quicker to complete.
An example of using technology to your advantage is to install a watering system for your vegetable growing operation. Turning on a faucet or setting a timer to water growing beds automatically rather than watering by hand can be a big time saver.
Another time saver is to use raised beds to limit the number of weeds that can become established in your vegetable garden. Less time weeding means more time you can dedicate to other tasks.
Build Your Homestead Slowly
Taking on too much at once on the homestead is a recipe for the task to become overwhelming very quickly.
I recommend starting with one project, such as building raised beds and growing your own food, before taking on livestock.
Animals on the homestead is a big step, and you cannot put off taking care of your animals, even for a day. Livestock will always be a number-one priority demand on your time as a homesteader.
Get your food garden established and running like clockwork before taking on other time-demanding tasks such as raising livestock.
When you are ready to start keeping livestock, start with animals that are easy to manage, house, and feed, such as chickens. Chickens are not only one of the easiest animals to raise on a homestead, but they provide several options such as meat, eggs, and manure as a resource for the homestead and offer a relatively quick return on investment.
Big animals such as cattle require more space, larger infrastructure, and more food resources. It also takes much longer to see a return on the investment in this livestock than on chickens.
Hire Local Help For Big Homesteading Tasks
Some homestead tasks require a larger time and labor input than you can handle alone. Don’t be too dogmatic about your self-sufficiency that you try to accomplish everything yourself.
Many homesteaders subscribe to the self-sufficiency concept but think that this means they must do everything alone or they are not true homesteaders. Self-sufficiency means doing as much as you can by yourself and being part of a community that helps each other out.
Do not hesitate to request friends and neighbors help you with large projects that would be too time-consuming to tackle on your own.
Many homesteading people will be of a similar mindset and willing to help you with tasks if they know you will do the same for them when they need it.
In some cases, paying local people to get a job done may be worth your while rather than spending your valuable time doing the task yourself. This strategy is particularly important if the task requires a skill you have yet to master.
Hire a local person to do certain jobs or tasks, and you can learn while you monitor the process, and the task will be completed faster the stumbling through the process by yourself.
Homesteading should be an enjoyable adventure, but taking pleasure in your homestead is difficult if you feel that you are constantly behind the curve, under pressure, and never get ahead with the chores.
The best advice for homesteading while working a full-time job is to plan everything, take things slow and master one aspect of homesteading at a time, and involve everyone in your family. This way, you can enjoy the process and grow your homestead in a manageable way!