Time and Planning, Pt. 1, by 3ADscout

Have you ever considered the influences that time has on your preparedness efforts or will have upon your survival post-TEOTWAWKI? When we take an in-depth look at time, we will realize that time is one of our greatest preparedness resources. This article will discuss ways to use our time wisely now so that we can save even more time in a post-TEOTWAWKI world.

We all have a finite supply of time, just 24 hours a day, no more. We can’t buy more time regardless of our income. We all only have seven days a week. There are however, a few ways we can make it seem like we have more time available.


Using time wisely is one of the best ways to make it seem like you have more time. By having a plan, being organized, and prepared to do a task/project you will use your time more efficiently–thus not wasting time. Recently we built two sets of shelves in our BOL. We had wood, screws, nails, saws, hammers, saw horses but what we didn’t have was a clear and concise plan for the first shelf. I had some images in my head of what I wanted the shelf to do and look like but in honestly, there was no “plan”. Although I had my tools and supplies, they were not where they needed to be at the start of the project thus, we had to stop and walk back and forth to the barn to get stuff and bring it back to the BOL. With no plan I had to pause and think about what I wanted to do. What dimensions do I want the shelf? Nails or screws? Long story short it took 4 of us about 6 hours to get this spontaneous project done.

Now fast forward a few weeks and it took just my son and I about 4 hours to build another shelf. Why? First, we had much of the equipment and supplies from the first build still where it was needed for the building of the second shelf which meant no time spent walking to and from the barn. But the main difference was that before we started, I sat down and sketched out a drawing of what I wanted, including the dimensions of the shelf which allowed me to have a cut sheet for my son to use to keep him productive the whole time, versus him waiting for me to tell him what to cut next. These were simple projects, but none-the-less they illustrate how organization and planning can save time and thus make you more productive since you will now have time to do something else.

Planning is a definitely a time saver. However, there is planning and then there is planning. I’m sure we can all come up with a design to build a wood shelf. I’m also sure that once we started to use that shelf many of us would say “I wish I would have done ‘X’.” Part of good planning is spending time in the research and development phase before putting pencil to paper. Simply asking questions about what the purpose of the project is and what capabilities you want the project to fulfill is a great start. The more in-depth you go with the what you want, the better your project will fulfill those needs. Going back to my first shelf project, after we were all done, I had an epiphany that I should have put doors on the shelf to help conceal its contents. If I had sat down and formally planned this project out that would have been identified and then included in the design.

A Proper Parts List

Once you have a well thought out plan on paper, now you can start to prepare for the start of the project? When do you want to start and finish the project? What equipment, supplies and other resources (like other people) do you need. Once those are all in place you can start the project and if it is a good plan and all the resources were in place, the project should be knocked out without a trip to the hardware store, or even the barn for something forgotten.

Having a strategic plan with all your projects listed will also allow you to use your time wisely (See my article titled “Putting Together a Strategic Plan” in SurvivalBlog, posted on January 16, 2019). Having a list of projects allows us to adapt and overcome. Such as when something unforeseen happens that doesn’t allow us to start or complete our planned task. Just look at the Strategic Plan for a project that fits the time you have.

Besides good planning, good organization is also a great saver of time. Time spent on looking for a specific tool or certain size washer is time wasted. Time spent organizing our tools, supplies and equipment is not a waste of time. It is in fact a time-saver many times over. Organizing your hardware might take an hour but if you didn’t spend that hour organizing then each time you look for a certain size nail, screw or washer can be a waste of 5 to 10 minutes. each time. If we think of time like money, we start to realize like cents add up to dollars, minutes add up to hours. What can you do with an hour? So, treat your time like you do your money, and spend it wisely.

More Time-Intensive Methods

Our society revolves around saving time. In a sense we crave anything that saves time. Compare and contrast life from when you were a child to now. For most of us, we grew up in an age where everything was not “Fast” food, “Instant” this or “Ready” that. As preppers we should compare and contrast life now to that of the 19th Century. Why? Because grid-down TEOTWAWKI will turn most of those modern time saving devices into useless objects. They don’t work without electricity.

Do you have the means to wash clothes without a modern washer and drier? Can you cut a board without a circular saw? Can you cook and preserve food without all the modern electrical magic? Many preppers will try to preserve the use of these modern conveniences by having and using power from generators or sources of alternative energy. This strategy has some merit but it will be resource intensive and creates a complex system with multiple points of failure. The use of generators and alternative energy is great for filling a gap during a short-lived disaster but will your generator and alternative energy set up last you for a 10-20 year TEOTWAWKI? Maybe, or maybe not. In an age where everything is being engineered and manufactured to have a short life span, I have my concerns. Regardless, will those systems power our TEOTWAWKI needs? Again, maybe or maybe not.

The reason it is important to consider electricity and your post-TEOTWAWKI needs is that the non-electric tools, devices and ways of the past took more time. Consider that it took a housewife most of a day to prepare dinner in the 1800s. Now-a-days, just minutes with the aid of a microwave oven. Not having the availability of our modern conveniences will make us resort back to the old ways, and these older ways took lots of time.

My plan to save time in a post-TEOTWAWKI life is to have many of the devices invented or improved in the 1800s that would have been deemed “new technology” back then, incorporated into my preps today. These devices do not depend on electricity to operate. I’m not against generators, photovoltaics, or other alternative energy but those system are complex and may not be able to be sustained in a prolonged TEOTWAWKI life. Thus, my plan is not to count on those system for very long. If they happen to function for years after TEOTWAWKI, great. But if they don’t, we are much better prepared.

If your plan makes you dependent on electricity and modern technology then you may want to ensure your plan B relies upon “antiques”. A brace and bits replace the 20-volt lithium cordless drill. A ram pump replaces a gas or electric pump. A hand-powered corn sheller replaces the electric driven one.

Lessons From Living History

It takes an investment of time today to research old technology, find old devices, repair and/or rehabilitate the devices and learn how to use them most effectively.

Researching old technology and old ways is also a dual use of your time. Take a trip to a museum that offers a “living history” experience, such as Williamsburg, Monticello, or Mount Vernon. A relaxing family vacation to a living history museum is also a great time to learn about old technology that saved time in a pre-electric world that can be used to in your post-TEOTWAWKI life. I named three of the larger living history museums but even locally, one of our history museums offers blacksmiting and flint knapping demonstrations. If you attend a local living history demonstration your time may find other people who are interested in prepping. I find that many of the people who do these demonstrations are a wealth of knowledge. I talked to a lady that was baking bread in one of the many clay ovens in Williamsburg and learned a lot in a simple five minute conversation.

Besides attending living history museums to learn prepper skills, attending local seminars or classes on bee keeping, gardening, trapping and other skills is also a productive multi use of your time. Taking a course by someone else educates you by learning from the instructor’s past successes and failures. Knowing what not to do by taking a class is a real time saver.

(To be concluded in Part 2, which will be posted tomorrow.)



  1. Great advice. I can’t tell you how many trips to the hardware store occurred while doing projects in the past. My husband and I were 20 and 23 when we built our first house, and I can tell you, you get wiser with age when it comes to prepping for a project. Your advice on visiting museums for demonstrations and attending local informational seminars is also helpful, as I have invested in some poorly written books that don’t explain steps appropriately and left me in need of further instruction. People who have “been there, done that ” are the greatest sources.

  2. As we’ve gotten on the older side we’ve sought out easier ways to do things. So I really liked your idea of preplannig your projects. We endeavor to do that in order to save energy. And yes it surely does save time and often money.

  3. Yes, you nailed it.

    For years, I’ve focused on non-energy input means of food preserving, etc. Not that I don’t have an alternative energy system in my preps, but yeah, we should all choose multi-generational collapse as the foundation of our preps.

    In my case, I use a brake bleeding pump with Tilia Mason jar adapters to vacuum-store my dry and dehydrated goods in Mason jars.

    During the summer I use the dashboard of one of my pickup trucks as a dehydrator. I actually got rid of an electrical unit and kept the trays. There’s even an actual prep item that was featured in the docudrama “After Armageddon,” where the interior of a Volkswagen van was gutted out and replaced with a giant rack system for multiple dehydrator trays.


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