Tag Archives: time management

Can finishing your basement be considered prepping?

When you think about prepping, do you think about stuff in the future?  Do images of piles of food and clothing and water come to mind?  How can finishing your basement be considered prepping?

My reasoning is this.

  • I am saving my marriage by finishing a project my wife would like to have done.
  • Having an unfinished basement is undesirable if I sell my home.  More finished square footage equals more money.
  • I am learning valuable skills like carpentry, electrical, plumbing, tile, plus others.
  • I am saving money by doing the work myself.
  • My kids can now go downstairs and mess up the downstairs instead of the upstairs.
  • I have made new friends in the neighborhood by having them help me and learn new skills.
  • Did I mention my wife is happier when the basement is finished.

The underlying issue with prepping is, will it make your life better even if nothing goes wrong.  I think if we evaluate things through this lens it will make it easier to determine if what you are doing is worthwhile.

I know finishing my basement will put more equity into my home.  It will provide knowledge of how to fix, build and repair my home if in the future these things need to be taken care of.  It shows my children things must be worked for.  Sometimes you do not have the money to do things so you must learn to do them for yourself.  I think you gain a better appreciation for the work other people do and what it really costs.

Building things allows your mind to create.  My kids have had a wonderful time laying out their rooms.  It also forces you to plan ahead.  This may be the most important skill set gained from this endeavour.  We have had to look ahead and determine things we had not originally thought about.  We have decided to run natural gas to our appliances for future use.  We have expanded the bathroom so three girls could use it.

This project has also taught me about preparing for the future.  We have children growing up and they will need some space for them and their friends.  What will their needs be?  What will it be like when they leave?  Will we still want the layout we have now.

Too many times we prepare for the disasters we think may come and forget to remember we have families and loved ones to prepare for also.  It is important to have a refuge from the outside world where we can bond with family and friends.

Next time you have a spouse resisting your preps, tell them you want to fix up the house a little.  Explain to them what it means to have a house which is comfortable and livable and up to date.  Maybe you might find someone a little more receptive to your next project.

Prepping 101

Making Life’s Road a Little Smoother

 

Finding the Time to Prep- part 1

Finding the Time to Prep- part 1

If you are new to the preparedness community you may already have the feeling of being overwhelmed.  It never stops.  I have been preparing for a few years and still feel overwhelmed.  I wanted to discuss dome things to help reduce the anxiety which comes form having to many things to prepare for.

I think we as preppers have seen the “light” and somewhat know what is coming our way or we have an inherent sense of these things.  So here are some things to help you relieve some stress.

  • Make a list of all the things you want to do and prioritize.  I know as you look at the list it may appear daunting the amount of things you need to do.  Realize the list you have made is a pie in the sky list.  You will probably not heave either enough time or money to complete everything on the list.  Realize first and foremost it is ok to not get something done.  Every day of your life you have chosen, I repeat CHOSEN, not to do something. If you did everything you would not have anything to do.  I think realizing this helped me the most of all the things I do to reduce anxiety.
  • The things you see as being most important are the ones which will get done.  This is why you have to continually re-prioritize your list.  Things in life come up, you have a baby, your kids move away, you lose your job.  These are all part of life and as things change you will be able to rearrange your list to accommodate these changes.
  • The food you have stored is better than money in the bank.  The food you bought today will be cheaper than the food you purchase in six months.  We are buying food at today’s prices to consume at a later date.  Since food goes up in price we are buying it at a discount.  This capital deferral actually saves us money in the long run.  We no longer HAVE to buy food when we need it, we buy it when it is on sale.  Knowing you do not HAVE to buy food today is a wonderful stress reliever.
  • Look at your preps in incremental steps, especially food storage.  Start with copy canning.  When you go to the store to buy corn, instead of buying one can you buy two.  Put one can on the shelf and the other in storage.  Do this until you have what you want for food storage.  This incremental approach will mitigate any anxiety you may have over acquiring extra food.  Do this with all of your projects.  Break them down into tiny steps you can accomplish.
  • Try to make 2 meals a month out of your food storage.  This will help you identify the areas you are weak.  You will then be able to fill in the holes.  Doing this once or twice a month allows you to slowly identify where you need help.  Thus reducing your anxiety.  This also takes minimal time.
  • Realize you can’t do it all overnight.  Even the tiny ant takes spring, winter, and fall to accumulate enough for winter.  You are just a bigger ant.  Slow methodical accumulation of preps is the best way.  Life continues to change and as you move slowly you will be able to modify your plan to accommodate your familial needs.
  • Preparedness is not just about stuff.  Realize there are things around your house which need to be done.  Are there projects you need to finish?  We have decided to put off some preps this year because we are remodeling our basement.  Having our basement finished will allow us to sell our house and move into one with a lower payment.  We won’t be able to sell our house if the basement is not done.  So remember to put some of those household projects in your list as part of your preps.  A home in need of repair does you no good in an emergency.

Tomorrow we will discuss,

  • Gardening
  • Exercising
  • Building your assets
  • Bug out bags
  • Planning
  • Education

Prepping 101
Making Life’s Road a Little Smoother

Staying safe and balanced in a Digital iWorld

Staying safe and balanced in a Digital iWorld

We live a  world where everything is digital.  We have computer tablets, gaming systems, phones, music players, and more.  Just like the internet these things can be used for good or bad.

We can communicate with loved ones or ignore our other family members.

We can use it to bring ourselves closer to each other or we can idle away our time looking at nothing in particular.

We can use it to save time or we can waste away time by posting our status update.

We can use it to increase our knowledge, education, enlighten us or use it to denigrate,  enslave, and addict us.

Yes there is much thanksgiving for our digital times.  We have so many resources at our fingertips to uplift our children, members of our community via social networks and text messaging.

How do we harness this wonderful technology to do good while not becoming entrapped  in its ill effects?

Set Limits

Just as you would not allow someone to drive a car until they were properly trained, so it is with the internet.  Children should be monitored by parents.  Parents should show kids what sites are appropriate.  As they get older the parent will be able to see what their children are watching.  By setting guidelines early, they will know what is expected of them.

  • Keep the computer in view of the parent.  We keep the computer in the kitchen.  It is easier for us to monitor what is being watched.  Parents will need to learn how to use the devices the kids are using and how to make sure improper content is not being downloaded.  You may have to delete certain application and put in a password so kids can’t download unwanted programs.
  • Show kids how to use the device properly.  Tell them what a proper post should and should not be, and how to handle improper texting and cyberbullying.
  • All devices are to remain unlocked (or parents are to have the code).  They can be checked at any time the parent feels like it.  Parents should insist on being ‘friends’ with their children.  I know this is easy to circumnavigate, but you want the child to know you love them and care about their well being.
  • Set time limits.  When they can be turned on in the morning and when they must be turned off at night.
  • Have days when there are no digital devices to be turned on.   This of course will apply to parents also.  This will encourage them to engage their mind in something constructive.

What are some of the warning signs of digital abuse?

    • Not engaging in activities in order to check email or social networking sites
    • Constantly looking at device for updates
    • Not being physically active.
    • Unable to focus.  Using the internet as downtime
    • ‘In the bedroom alone’ frequently
    • Using the internet as an excuse to not do something.
    • Family members spend little time together.  Each is in their own room in front of a screen.
    • Using the device to entertain a child, rather than engaging him/her.
    • Spending long stretches of time on the internet viewing questionable material.
    • Checking the device multiple times within a conversation.

How are you keeping safe in the digital iWorld?

Prepping 101

Making Life’s Road a Little Smoother

Producer vs. Consumer

Are you a producer or consumer?  Or both?  Which do you favor?

As a prepper you will need to be both of them.  How much of each is up to you?

A consumer is someone who uses.   You consume food, TV, gas, energy, etc.

A producer makes.  You produce food, a service, a good, a product.

CONSUMER

I want to start off with the good of consuming.  We need consumption.  We have to eat, drink, go to a job, etc.  These are things we consume to stay alive.  You reading this blog is consumption.  There is nothing wrong with consumption as long as it is not the only thing you do. We should be consuming content as part of our continued learning objective.  Without consumption we can’t learn to do something new.  So please consume all the content you want from this site:)

BUT

If all you are doing is consuming content, you are not doing any work.  By this I mean if you read preparedness blogs all day but do not do any preparedness then you are not becoming prepared.  We must moderate our consumption.  We need to learn something new, then we need to go do it.  Nobody likes an armchair quarterback telling what to do without having done it or tried it.

PRODUCER

Here you implement what you have learned.  Humans are meant to be producers.  In the preparedness community we must be producers.

Things we can produce

  • Food- Plant a garden
  • Energy- Get some alternative energy
  • Content- Do you teach others what you have learned?  Do you give something of value back?

There is a balance between the two.  I tend to be more of a producer.  I get online, find out how to do what I want  and then go do it.  I then try to share my knowledge here.

I ask you to start using your time wisely.  Make a list of the things you want to do and learn all you can about them and go do them.  Start a garden, store some food, save some money, replace your oil, change your brakes, learn to sew, cook a meal, give service.  Accomplish all you can because you can.

It is not the education which matters, only the application of it.

What are some of the ways you are becoming a producer?

 

Prepping 101

Making Life’s Road a Little Smoother

 

Are You Overwhelmed?

Today’s post is about me.

I am totally overwhelmed.  I have too many things to do and not enough time to do them.  I have a normal job which takes up way too much time.  I have this blog which I love to do and am committed to doing.  I also have a wife who works and three kids.  So how am I going to fix this problem?

  1. Make a list of all the things I need to do and when they should be finished.  I am using OmniFocus for Mac (it is also available for iPhone and iPad).  It has done wonders for getting things out of my head.
  2. Setting Limits-  I think part of being overwhelmed is I have made the due dates too soon for many of the items.  I will go in and change them this weekend.
  3. Prioritize-  Making sure you are working on the most important things is probably the hardest for me, since I want to do the things I like or I think are more important.  Sometimes this makes for an unharmonious marriage (something to be avoided at all costs).
  4. Eliminate-  Get rid of or delegate tasks.  Sometimes we take on too many things.  Delete those which are not important.
  5. Organize work day into bigger blocks of time- ideally 60-90 minutes.
  6. Breathe deep-  Think about breaking up projects into bite size morsels.  By doing this you will reduce the enormity of the project into doable portions.
  7. Say no- This one is hard for me, but I need to learn to say I don’t have time right now for that.
  8. Take a 5 minute break-  This helps me to let go of all the things which I need to do, so I can refocus.  Sometimes getting up from the desk and visiting a coworker is all I need.
  9. Take a mini vacation-  Go home and leave work at work.  This is hard to do when self employed, but it is something you have to do every once in a while.
  10. Remember all your blessings-  Every once in a while I sit back and think of all the great people, family, friends,  and heck , you followers of my writing.  It puts a smile on my face and allows me to continue.

Remember we are trying to smooth the road, not eliminate all the potholes.

What do you do to reduce stress?

Prepping 101

Making Life’s Road a Little Smoother

Finding Time

Finding Time
A frequently asked question about the amount of work I can get done is, “How do you find the time to do all of that?” I often will tell people to get up at 4:30 am and stay up until midnight. While joking aside, thought I do get up at 4:30, the key is to analyze your time throughout your day and decide what is important to you. Here is what I have discovered.
Needs vs. Wants-
I make a list everyday of the things I NEED to do. These are not optional. These things have to be done or else I loose my job. I also have to qualify these needs into those that are Urgent vs. Important. Those that are urgent need to be done sooner than those which are important. I will get into the difference in a future post but to qualify, email may be important but is never urgent. If it was urgent then they would call you. So when you define the difference in your daily life as what is important to you, you will make time for it.
Let’s also determine what you NEED to do vs. what you WANT to do. Are you engaging in new projects that distract you from what you need to be doing? Are you engaging in your passion? Are you constantly perusing the internet to find that great new recipe instead of just making it and seeing what you can do to improve it?
If you love prepping like me then you tend to find yourself looking on the internet for the next thing to be doing instead of just DOING. I can spend 20 hours a week determining the best gun for my arsenal or I can go to the range with my 9mm and shoot and become more proficient with what I already have. Are you building food storage or using food storage? There is a difference between the two. There has been more than enough said about book smarts vs. street smarts. Are you becoming street smart or book smart?
“You can always find a distraction if you’re looking for one.”
Tom Kite
Kill your Television-
If you want to get things done quit watching TV. I don’t say this to be mean or snobby. It’s not that I don’t watch TV, it just I watch a lot less of it than others. I also watch it online. Hulu and Netflix are great options. You can watch as much as you want, just don’t complain when someone gets more things done than you. If you consume content you CAN’T produce content. Same goes for a computer. Unless you are doing something “productive”, it is the same as TV. Start choosing to cut things from your life that do not give you a return of a better life.
Eliminate distractions-

Imagine your daily life, no really, just sit back and think about all the things you are distracted by. The kids in the back seat, the phone is ringing, I have to go to the store, don’t forget that presentation is due tomorrow, there are SO many distractions in your life just on a daily basis. All of these distraction create mental clutter. Mental clutter bogs you down with irrelevant things you think you need to do. Are you giving any credence to all of the distractions or are you focused on those things that mean something to you?
By prioritizing your day and listing what you need to do for the day you will clarify what is important and what is not. Are you putting too much detail into your phone calls or emails. Can you say in 5 minutes what used to take you 10? Can you email in 2 lines what used to be 2 paragraphs? Do we really need to know what our neighbors are doing?
If you do get a distraction mentally put it in a pile.
Pile 1- Important, I need to finish this task. It is on my list of TO DO things.
Pile 2- Trash. I do not need this in my life. Useless info. If it is really important they will get back to me.
Just remember if it really is not important let it go.
Time vs. Money-
If you do not have the time then you must pay someone to do it OR don’t do it at all. If you have the money then by all means pay someone if it is important then you will have more time to do those things which you feel have more value to you.
That’s it. It is either time or money. When you boil it down to those two it really refines your choices. Because if you do not have the time or the money then you must eliminate something in your life which has less value than the thing you want to do.
Let’s review
Life is short. Spend time doing things that make your life better. If you don’t like it change. If you can’t find the time to do something that you feel is your passion, eliminate those things that are not of value to you.
Determine needs vs. wants. Get rid of “hobbies” for passions
Television is a condiment, use it that way
Eliminate distractions
Review time vs. money- Spend money if you need more time
The broader goal is to trim the fat of life and get down to the meat. Determine which kind of meat you like and marinate it with your passions.