Gamify Your Farm Chores with Visual Lists and Apps


42 lamb

Working with my lambs is one of the best jobs on the farm. Photo by Keba M. Hitzeman

If I don’t write it down, it most likely won’t get done. I’ve always been a list person, trying to keep track of all the things I need and want to do in a given day on the back of envelopes, in notebooks or dry-erase books, or on sticky notes. That doesn’t mean that I won’t lose the paper I wrote it down on, but with programs and apps, that’s less likely to happen. I typically know where my phone and computer are!

There are some things that I want to make strong habits of as the year progresses: writing, working with my sheep and goats, daily movement and exercise, and completing several specific farm projects, among others. I know I want to do those things every day, and it’s satisfying when I do, but personal accountability is lacking at times. There’s also the external factor of appointments and other off-farm activities. Still, because those are usually scheduled in advance, I can adjust my schedule to make those habits happen that day. Most likely, everything will be for a shorter time (a brief “play date” with the sheep, or only working on the new fence for a half hour instead of two hours), but it will still happen.

Enter the Visual Reminders

For my yoga practice, I’ve joined a “365 days of yoga” group on Facebook, and a member posted a printable “calendar” – each month is spelled out in big letters, with divisions for the number of days in that month. For example, the “J” in JANUARY has four sections and is labeled 1, 2, 3, 4. The “A” has five sections labeled 5, 6, 7, 8, 9. As you complete your daily yoga, you color in the space for that day of the month. By the end of the year, you (hopefully) will have all the spaces in all the months colored in and can see how consistent you were with your habit.

This doesn’t mean I’m doing a full 30-minute practice every day. Some days, a 10- or 15-minute stretch before turning in for the evening is all I can muster. But I got on the mat and did the thing, then did it again the next day. A habit is forming.

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