10 Things You Can Do When You’re Just Too Busy To Prep

(Psst: The FTC wants me to remind you that this website contains affiliate links. That means if you make a purchase from a link you click on, I might receive a small commission. This does not increase the price you'll pay for that item nor does it decrease the awesomeness of the item. ~ Daisy)

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

  1. 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’s Kindle Unlimited Program, you can often “borrow” all the books you want for about $12 a month.  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. Also, if you don’t have an e-reader, don’t despair. You can add a Kindle app to your phone or a tablet and use that to read your ebooks.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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!
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. 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 be ready for an emergency quickly, 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. Here’s an article I wrote with some advice on kits.
  8. 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.
  9. Buy food in buckets.  When you prep, you’re either going to have to spend time or spend money. 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. The buckets linked to above contain “entree.” (Although we like to supplement with extra freeze-dried fruits and vegetables when using these goods.) This is a great way to vastly increase your emergency food supply without spending much time doing it.
  10. 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 by 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.

About Daisy

Daisy Luther is a coffee-swigging, adventure-seeking, globe-trotting blogger. She is the founder and publisher of three websites.  1) The Organic Prepper, which is about current events, preparedness, self-reliance, and the pursuit of liberty; 2)  The Frugalite, a website with thrifty tips and solutions to help people get a handle on their personal finances without feeling deprived; and 3) PreppersDailyNews.com, an aggregate site where you can find links to all the most important news for those who wish to be prepared. Her work is widely republished across alternative media and she has appeared in many interviews.

Daisy is the best-selling author of 5 traditionally published books, 12 self-published books, and runs a small digital publishing company with PDF guides, printables, and courses at SelfRelianceand Survival.com You can find her on FacebookPinterestGabMeWeParlerInstagram, and Twitter.

Daisy Luther

Daisy Luther

Daisy Luther is a coffee-swigging, globe-trotting blogger. She is the founder and publisher of three websites.  1) The Organic Prepper, which is about current events, preparedness, self-reliance, and the pursuit of liberty on her website, 2)  The Frugalite, a website with thrifty tips and solutions to help people get a handle on their personal finances without feeling deprived, and 3) PreppersDailyNews.com, an aggregate site where you can find links to all the most important news for those who wish to be prepared. She is widely republished across alternative media and  Daisy is the best-selling author of 5 traditionally published books and runs a small digital publishing company with PDF guides, printables, and courses. You can find her on FacebookPinterest, Gab, MeWe, Parler, Instagram, and Twitter.

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  • I have enjoyed canning for decades but have recently stepped out of the “safe zone” of the USDA requirements. I am making meals in those lovely jars…beef stew, various soups, chili, burritos, etc. On super busy days, I love being able to grab some quality meal out of my pantry and have dinner on the table in under 10 minutes. Time spent when available….meals eaten when time is at a premium. Great article Daisy!

  • I just wanted to tell you I ordered a couple of your word search books, one for myself and one for a gift. It is great, not only works your brain a bit but in a relaxing way, it also gives ideas in case you forgot something in your preps!

    • Thank you! I’m so so glad you like them! I’m in the process of adding more that are history based and related to the wonderful things about our country! You can find America the Beautiful here: https://amzn.to/3SsEzI3

      PS: A five star review on Amazon really, really helps!

  • In my life, almost all the people that claimed they are too busy to do things are either just lazy, don’t want to do it whatever it is or don’t feel an actual need.
    Pretty basic.
    The things they want to do.. funny those get done but everything else is excuses, personal lies to family and ones self.

    Too busy to give your family an edge on living?
    Put down the phone, the junkfood, turn the tv or computer off.. suddenly you have time to prep.
    It is a choice.

    • Million dollar t-shirt idea alert!

      “It is a choice”

      Take it a little further to:
      “My pantry. My choice”

      Put it on a t-shirt.

  • There is a body of knowledge in the Once-A-Month-Cooking books that have the potential to free up much of your kitchen time. It’s easy to run a search for such books on Amazon or elsewhere. Most of them have been around much longer than the “six months past the original publishing date” which makes them fair game to request a totally free interlibrary loan on such books to see at no cost whether you want to buy selected titles.

    If you dig through the knowledge of the people at https://www.dehydrate2store.com/ you’ll learn that foods that you can dehydrate (which is most of them, but excepting a few) will preserve some 90% or so of the food’s original nutrition. That’s in comparison to the canning process which only preserves 50% or so. Once you acquire a dehydrator, a vacuum sealer, some oxygen absorbers, some bag-making plastics or even some Zip-Lok bags and the knowledge of how to use all that … you should be able to save on both your time needed as well as saving on nutrition.

    If you acquire a kitchen counter-top grain mill such as the Country Living model (there are several others on the market) with its optional “bean auger” you can store one kind (or many kinds) of grain for more decades than you’d imagine … and only grind as much as you need immediately into short-lived flour as needed. With that bean auger you can even turn many kinds of nuts into nut butter if you wish … and even grind clean dried beans into flour that when boiled in water for as little as only three minutes (and hopefully spiced per your preferences) become edible in amazingly that little time. Compare that with the hours of cooking time that cleaned dried but unground beans require.

    Another way to save on your personal cooking time is to learn thermal cooking … where you quickly heat up one pot with your food to be slow-cooked in it … while using hot water to bring either a well insulated thermos jug or a well insulated thermal cooking pot up to temperature. That’s a quick process for both containers. When both are up to temperature … transfer your food over to the well-insulated thermal cooking container so that it can act as a slow cooker for the several hours that are needed. That frees up your time and attention in either your kitchen, on a camp ground, or even while you are traveling.


  • Two things I’d like to add.
    1. When ordering from Amazon, schedule reorders every few months. This way you can stock up on things without thinking about it or dole cash out all at once.
    2. Make time for an exercise routine to get into physical shape. I found an app online that helps me get at least some exercise every day even when I don’t have time to go to the gym! It’s not perfect, but it’s a step in the right direction.

  • Some might benefit from a change I made to my daily habits 3 days ago. I am an internet addict and I am sure I have plenty of company here. Too much sitting makes achy backs and unfitness and I found it murderously hard to get off my duff and get anything done. Even just keeping up with the dishes was overwhelming, and yes, 71 years old is weaker than I used to be, but I still have more energy than THAT!
    Dr. Mercola talks about the body damage from too much sitting and it is not the same as too little exercise. Nor can it be made up for by exercise. You should stand UP after 20 minutes.

    So. I open a window on my web browser and websearch “timer.” I set the timer for 20 minutes. When it rings, I stop what I am doing and get up for a brief time, and do some little chore or just part of one. Lots of little half-chores has made a rather shocking difference so far, for just 3 days.

    It helps stop burning things in meal preps, too. I use 5 minutes for that.

    • Thanks, Esther. I needed that because I sit to do a lot of work in the kitchen and get very stiff after an hour or so. Instituting your advice immediately.

  • My husband and I are retired. Finding something light and quick for lunch is always a challenge. Recently I found a list of soup recipes made from freeze dried/dehydrated ingredients. Just add boiling water. I made one of each to try.
    We have used these for lunches and now I know which ones we like. I will make them up to keep on hand.
    This is something that didn’t take a lot of time, used items I already had in my prepper pantry and turned out to be useful also.

    Side note: Daisy, why isn’t “prepper” a real word? Every time I type it, it gets the dreaded red line.

    • I don’t know! I feel like it’s just a way to marginalize us. I also hate how legacy media always puts it in quotes, like it’s made up.

  • Dictionary.com has a very long discussion about the origin as well as current usage of the term “prepper.”


    If you run a search on search.brave.com for the meaning of the word prepper … MANY different discussions will be pulled up. Most of them are legitimate descriptions of that word as we understand it. It must be really difficult for the censor wannabees who want to either demonize or erase such words completely … but do not control (so far) the many competing dictionaries and articles both online and offline in our marketplace.

    One discussion I didn’t see in the above searches was about the origin and intention of the Boy Scout motto, which has long been “Be Prepared.” When the British military officer who founded the Boy Scouts organization back in 1908 was asked what kind of bad stuff that motto was intended to address … his reply was simply “just any old thing.”


  • There happens to be a meal bucket similar to the one linked in the article (same brand, same servings, but gluten free) on sale for $87 right now. Pretty good deal! Here’s the link.

    Great idea to make prepping a family affair! I have solely stocked and organized our storage room and my husband and son don’t know where anything is at. I have made everything easy to find in labeled containers separated in categories (i.e. pain & fever, cold & flu, keeping dry, oral hygiene, supplements, prescriptions, etc). Food is also separated by category and all canned goods are in alphabetical order. It’s very important for me to be organized and know where everything is at as I can send my son to get something I need to cook dinner and be able to tell him exactly where to find it.

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