Trimming The Fat


Robert BoylesSo you have decided that maybe you took on a little too much. For one reason or another it’s time to get in there and weed out the things that don’t work and make room for those that do. I admitted to you before that I have made the mistake of spreading things a little too thin. There I was complaining that I didn’t have the resources to work on a project that I knew could bear fruit, and that I would enjoy doing. At the same time, I was crying a river every time I had to go out and work on a project that had turned sour and rarely produced anything at all. So what did you do Redd Dog?

Honestly I didn’t do much of anything for a while. My stubborn pride is such that the poets will be writing long ballads about it, to be passed down through the ages, until they take their place in the great tales of mythology. Eventually I accepted that throwing good money at bad money didn’t really make it any better. I took an inventory of the resources I could repurpose from the project gone foul, and considered the resources needed to start the new one. Between selling used equipment and saving the physical materials that I could, the loss wasn’t really that bad after all. I had everything I needed to redirect my efforts and the old headache was gone. Looking back, I reckon that I came out of the whole thing smelling pretty good. The old project taught me a great deal, and I was able to use what I had recovered as a foundation for something new.

Since then I have learned to streamline a good number of projects around the homestead. The result has been fantastic! Everything is getting done and it is getting done the way that it should be. Heck, I even have enough time on my hands now to consider a new project! Or maybe not?

If you find yourself in a similar situation as I did, perhaps you can benefit from my experience of moving forward. First thing I recommend is to just get on with it. Every drop of sweat you shed and every coin you spend toward that headache just makes it harder to let go of. If you already know that it isn’t working, stop! Now you need to decide if you are going to replace one job with another job. Be honest with yourself here. Can you really afford something new or would it be better to spend that sweat equity on something that really needs your attention? Either decision is good as long as it is honest. Those last two bits are probably the hardest part. From there you can determine if there is anything you can recover in terms of financial and physical resources. Don’t worry about how much work you have already invested. That effort is already spent and I am willing to bet that you got something in return for it. If all you did was get a little wiser than you are making out pretty well!

Perhaps the greatest benefit of all this worry is the gift of freedom. And isn’t that what most of us are living for anyway? It’s the freedom to accept that something isn’t working the way we would like it to, and letting it go. It’s the freedom to try new things! Because we know that if it doesn’t work out, we have the strength to move on and grow from it! It doesn’t matter if we are talking about tearing out those old grape vines to make room for a bigger garden or stripping out a barn to make room for new livestock. We are making choices for ourselves! We are exercising our freedom to live the lifestyle we choose. Even if that means changing directions every now and then.

The next time we talk I want to share with you some thoughts I have on choosing and designing projects in a way that they actually benefit each other. With some thoughtful planning I believe we can stay busy, but not too busy, all year long. I think we can actually reduce our workload, and financial output, by combining elements that work for each other instead of being totally reliant on our personal inputs. If you have a story about how you dug yourself out of a project gone wrong or think that you may be heading that way, I’d love to hear about it!

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