Author of Be Ready for Anything and Bloom Where You’re Planted online course
We all try to seek balance in our lives, but there are times when things just get a little bit out of control. Maybe you have a new baby. Maybe there is something major going on at work. You could have a sick family member, a big home project going on, the kids are involved in something that requires lots of driving on your part, or maybe you’re injured. The point is, in all of our lives, sometimes a situation arises during which we’re too busy to prep in the way we usually do.
When this happens, it can add to an already elevated stress level. You know you should be doing more to be prepared but there simply aren’t enough hours in the day to do the things you want to do.
Sometimes it isn’t even that you’re too busy – sometimes, your motivation just takes a beating because there are so many negative and stressful things going on in the world. When this happens, you just don’t feel like actively focusing on preparedness all the time.
During times like these, the best thing you can do is focus on fitting in small tasks when you can. Try to do one small thing per day to keep your prepper mojo going. And most of all, try not to worry about the things that you aren’t doing. You’ll get there. I have faith in you.
What to do when you’re too busy to prep
- Carry a book with you at all times. A Kindle e-reader device might be handier in this situation than a physical copy, and if you are a member of Amazon Prime, you can often “borrow” books for free. Take those moments when you’re sitting in the car waiting to pick up the kids from an activity, when you are on a break at work, or when you’d normally be watching a show on TV and learn something – anything – that will make you more prepared.
- Take those little moments to work on skills. In those same short breaks as I mentioned above, work on a skill that would be handy post-disaster. Take your knitting with you or do some kind of small, portable task.
- Add a little to your stockpile each week. Hopefully, before life got crazy, you had a good handle on the weak points in your stockpile. So, if you know that you need fruits and vegetables, for example, pick up some shelf-stable items at the store during your regular shopping trip each week. If you need dry milk, quickly order high-quality dry milk online. If you need meat, buy some canned fish at the store or order some freeze-dried beef crumbles. Make one purchase each week and you’ll still be increasing your stockpile.
- Make your downtime count. Keep your prepper mindset sharp by using it often. If you are taking a couple of hours to sit down with the family and watch a movie, watch something that will let you think through a scenario. Here’s a list of survival-themed movies – grab some popcorn!
- Family time on the weekend can be used for prepping activities. Make family time something active. If you’re spending some time together on the weekend, go for a hike, spend some time brushing up on your nature skills, and work on your fitness.
- Teach your kids some skills. Obviously, no matter how busy we are, we still want to spend time with our kids. Spend a summer evening making homemade jam with your kids. It might take a little bit longer but they’ll be very proud of “their” jam and you’ll get some food preservation done at the same time. (You can get some recipes in The Prepper’s Canning Guide.) Try to make it fun instead of one of those things you “have” to do.
- Organize things into kits. If you have a little time, organize the things you already have into kits. I like to use plastic organizers of varying sizes. Not only will this help you to quickly be ready for an emergency, it will help you to see what you’re missing so that you can order it online. Some examples of kits might be: cold remedies, power outage, contagious illness, allergies, bug-out bags, important paperwork, evacuation kits – you get the idea.
- Shop online. When you’re super busy, you don’t always have time to trek to the store to shop for your preparedness gear and supplies. If you know what you need, shop online and have the stuff delivered right to your door. Amazon really does have almost anything you might need, from camping gear to books to emergency supplies.
- Buy food in buckets. If you’re short on time, you don’t want to have to transfer everything to Mylar bags and buckets on your own. Order some emergency buckets and all you have to do is put them away with the seal intact. Each bucket contains a 30 day supply of basics for one person. (Although we like to supplement with extra fruits and vegetables when using these goods.) This is a great way to vastly increase your emergency food supply without spending much time to do it.
- Practice using your emergency food. The thing about emergency food is that it should be fairly fast and easy to fix. What better opportunity to test out some of your stockpile ingredients than to use them for a speedy meal when you’re short on time? Make some meals combining freeze-dried food from your buckets with canned food from your pantry. See what kind of delicious combinations you can come up with. This will also give you a chance to see if you need to pick up some extra spices or other shelf-stable ingredients to make the meals more palatable or filling. (Time-saving bonus: This is a great way to skip the weekly trip to the store!)
Have you ever been too busy to prep?
Have you ever run into a period of time when you were just too busy to prep the way you wanted to? What were some quick things that you found the time for? How do you stay motivated when life gets crazy busy?
Share your stories and suggestions in the comments below.
While nursing my baby, I like to read or watch videos that increase my knowledge in some way. When folding laundry, I’ll listen to a podcast or watch a video. Walking outside in the yard with the children is a good time to identify plants; just get a good guide book and start “hunting”. =) We just got a woodstove, so the children were helping gather sticks and branches from the yard. They enjoy being a part of our “prepping”/ homesteading. When we involve our children, whatever we’re doing becomes theirs and not just Mom and Dad’s. I think it gives them peace of mind, just like it gives us, knowing that things are taken care of and that they are learning to take care of themselves.
Sorry for the “rabbit trail”… I needed to remind myself that the children need “prepping”, too! =)
Thanks for the ideas!
Re Black Widows and Recluses. Live in Texas.
Recluses are just that. They like to live in baseboards and LOVE CARDBOARD BOXES. I am replacing all CB boxes with plastic containers. Animals are sometime bitten when they lay up against the walls. Wear gloves Always when cleaning out storage areas in your home, especially closets and cupboards.
Black Widows ( and Brown as well as a few other poisonous spiders in TX) are not shy. And there are a lot. The females have the hour glass, the male may have red spotting. The big Bulb shaped body is noticeable on adults. The spiderlings look like regular spiders. I’ve seen one to many– last one was in a bowl of salad greens..honest.
Spiders are easy to to kill… Spray them with most any house hold cleaner. I keep an aerosol in that bathroom and kill every spider I see. I know there a good spiders. They can go live outside!!
That’s what you get for trying to eat healthy! LOL! Peppermint oil is good for repelling spiders and is safe for kids and pets. Even regular spiders bite and I seem to always wind up with multiple bites whenever I clean my closets, so I’m with you on keeping them out in the wild.
Reading up on preparedness or skills is always a good idea. Amazon has a ton of books for free download on the Kindle app, and if your device has enough storage a good way to use those odd moments is to check out what books are available and download them for later perusal. You can also download magazine articles and read them while you’re , going potty. Saves on magazine costs too.;)
Walking to the mailbox, the store, etc can be used for identifying edible plants and their location. You can also practice situational awareness, and should, during your errands.
While you’re fixing a meal you can prep an extra portion of raw materials and put them in the freezer to use later. It takes only a few extra moments and will save time later, and helps keep your fresh foods turned over so there is less waste.
Keep a log in your kitchen for tracking inventory and use it when you make out your grocery list. Once you get used to logging what you use and what you replace it with, it’s very helpful. Or you can keep a chalkboard or notebook to write down what you need as you use it up. Worn out clothing can be cut for sewing scraps or cleaning rags while you’re watching TV or helping the kids with homework. Save zippers, elastic and buttons for reuse if still in good condition. Late weekend afternoons is a good time to check out yard sales as you can often get stuff cheaper or free because the people want to get rid of it.
I’ve heard a lot of people rave about Instant Pots and if you know someone who has one you might be able to borrow it to see if you like it. They seem to be a real boon to time pressed families – you can cook a potroast in a half hour, or something crazy like that, and you can set the timer and not have to watch it to make sure the pressure stays where it’s supposed to. Well worth checking out.