Journal for Work / Life Balance

Journal Woodpile

When you start to journal, it becomes clear, very quickly, why you may be running behind schedule most days. With so many amazing projects and epic adventures on the go at the same time, it’s easy to underestimate the time our “to do” lists will use up.

One way to curb the work load and accomplish more, is to journal ~ every day. You will find your own routine, even if it’s just 5 minutes. Waking up early and taking a half hour to yourself, can change the mood of your entire day. Grab a coffee or tea, head to your favourite zen nest. No social media, no chores, no emails, no dishes or bill piles. Not even a seed catalogue.

Get yourself a fresh journal. One that’s easy to take out to the garden or pack along on road trips. Grab your favorite pen or pencil and settle in to enjoy the peace and quiet of the new day. It doesn’t have to be perfect. Scribble and doodle. This is the place where all of your ideas and thoughts will gather. Placing them on paper helps free up the mind, it’s no longer necessary to remember everything.

Your new journal will become the place to consolidate all of your day planner dates, commitments, sticky notes, work and volunteer/voluntold lists . . . everything will now be in one book. When all of these areas of your life are gathered into one space, it becomes clear where your valuable time is spent, and why you have so little for yourself or your family.

As you sketch out a calender page in your journal, limit the space for daily entries. If all of your work, community and other responsibilities have filled up that one little block of time, then suddenly we put our families, our gardens, our goals and our hobbies as a last priority. Seeing the commitments in writing will help you begin to prioritize while reducing the stress of a fast paced lifestyle.

After the weekly or monthly calendar page, add pages for monthly goals, financial budgets, seasonal projects, then work, family and community commitments. As you learn to prioritize and make time available, you will begin to add the most important pages. What are your ultimate goals for your life, your family and your work and how do you plan to get there.

Moving from month to month, you will notice the things in your journal that were bumped because you had run out of time, or who/what the reactive projects are in your life. In the bigger picture, how important was the task that took most of your time? Did it help you reach your most important goals? What are you sacrificing to keep this momentum?

Journal sample web

As we work with small farm businesses and urban agriculture enthusiasts, we often hear that there is no time for holidays, seeds were planted to late, fencing wasn’t done in time, there wasn’t enough hay, we didn’t catch the crop problem soon enough, can’t get the farm or gardening work done because of the full time job, or projects took way more input than it was worth for revenue or satisfaction. These stress levels and patterns are unsustainable.

This journaling process can apply to small farmers, business owners, students, employees and retired folks. It’s a simple tool to help you see more clearly while making informed decisions. Recognize that poor time management techniques, does not mean you are poor at your job, or project or hobby. So many people work so hard and feel as though they are failing, however standing back, taking a look at the bigger picture, allows you to change your strategy and succeed.

While there are lots of digital and printed calendars to keep track of schedules, budgets, lists and projects out there, sometimes it helps to consolidate everything. Look at it in your writing, on paper. Like a snapshot of your day, your month, your years. Try it for a season.

Start small, be organized, prioritize and be honest with yourself regarding your own budgets, goals and expectations. It’s better to build one small raised bed to easily manage than dig up the back 40 and fail. It’s easier to dedicate a season volunteering or being mentored than spend your time, money and energy learning the ropes.

Identify the time thieves, establish boundaries and set realistic expectations.

Heritage Farm is an educational nursery for Canadian Small Farms & Urban Agriculture. Learn permaculture design, how to build a greenhouse, save seeds, raise chickens, build raised beds, grow organic food, and begin your journey towards a sustainable, healthy, lifestyle. Visit

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