If you’re overwhelmed by the thought of being prepared, try this priorities chart

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image by skampy
image by skampy

Life is overwhelming.

Parenting is overwhelming.

Sometimes just deciding what to make for dinner every night can be overwhelming.

Add preparing for emergencies and worst case scenarios on top of all that, and it’s no wonder that some Survival Moms end up sitting in a corner with a jar of Nutella and humming “Edelweiss”!

Several months ago I created a chart that helped me visualize what I needed to do most. It also helped set priorities since not everything on my To Do list has the same level of importance or urgency.

Survival Priorities matrix

(You can view and download the chart here for a printed copy.)

Here’s how to use this chart:

  1. Make a list of everything you want to do in order for your family to be better prepared. Your list might include things like preparing a vehicle emergency kit, learning how to knit, taking a Wilderness First Aid course, and/or learning how to keep backyard chickens.
  2. Take one item on your list and determine it’s level of urgency, or priority. Is it a low, moderate, or top priority? How important is its completion to your family’s readiness?
  3. With that same item in mind, consider how long it will take to complete it.
  4. Determine where this item should go on the chart. Example: if you want to buy a Berkey water filter and know it will take several weeks to save up the money but it’s a top priority, then write, “Buy a Berkey” where “Top Priority” and “Several Weeks” intersect.
  5. Do this for each item on your lists of To Do and To Learn.

My advice is to examine 2 columns first, the things that will take less than a week to accomplish and those that are in the top row, “Top Priority”.

If you start taking care of everything in the “Less than a week” column, you’ll immediately begin to feel that you are accomplishing some important things, and you are!

For everything listed as a Top Priority, begin placing those things on a calendar or a goal sheet, so you can begin working toward their completion. If they’re important enough to list as a top priority, it also means they’re pretty darn urgent, although some may take a while to finish.

Easily overwhelmed

I have to confess that I get easily overwhelmed. If you sometimes do, too, then imagine how you’ll feel when faced with a true emergency or worst case scenario and you’ve done nothing to prepare for it!

(Sorry to be a wet blanket here, but it’s the truth!)

Even if you accomplish just one thing on your chart or your To Do/To Learn lists each week or every couple of weeks, you’ll be that much better prepared for whatever comes.

Let me know if/how this chart helps you and what advice you have for other sometimes-overwhelmed Survival Moms!



12 thoughts on “If you’re overwhelmed by the thought of being prepared, try this priorities chart”

  1. Granny Miller

    My suggestion for feeling overwhelmed is pretty simple – throw out your television set and NEVER allow it back into your home again.
    You & your family will be healthier, you’ll have tons more time and will accomplish more in one day than you could have done in a week.
    Plus and you will free yourself and your children from all the fear and negativity that is so called” news & entertainment”.
    Basically you can either waste your life in front of the idiot screen or live a life of self determination and self – reliance.
    Your choice.
    I’ve lived without a TV for well over 20 years and I know what I’m talking about. Also I probably wouldn’t lose the bet that most of you reading this comment will not do it and will instead continue to choose a passive digital life over real life.

      1. Granny Miller

        Mommy B –
        Dangerous and hypnotic screen flicker rate designed by the DOD. The damage and alteration to the human brain has been well known and documented for over 50 years. It’s the reason people will mindlessly channel surf for hours on end and small children look zoned out in front of the tube. Not to mention that what you see everyday is 100% government and special interest propaganda that is solely controlled and owned by approximately 4 mega corporations with political and anti-family social.You can not be truly free if you watch TV.
        No flicker rate and still fairy free and democratic.

    1. I did it–Nov. 4, 2008. You can guess why.
      My husband learned to read books. We play Aggravation for 10 cents a game.
      We still get stares; like the girl at Lowes.
      “No tv; just Netflix??”

      And if one can’t understand—just consider the savings; some pay $140 a month.. Our neighbor pays $90 now with the increase.
      Folds, that’s between 1080 and 1680 a year.
      That’ll buy lots of rice, pasta, and beans.

    2. Granny,

      So what about my two 60 inch HDTV’s, not to mention the smaller ones I have in my bedroom? How would I play Xbox, or watch the NFL in 1080p??? Are you MAD? Maybe I’m just a mindless zombie controlled by the government, yea that’s probably it.

      Or maybe I just have some self control and know how to use my time wisely, which includes enjoying television in moderation. You speak of being healthy, but how is YOUR physical health? I enjoy television but I could also go out right now and run 10 miles, walk 20 miles with 100lbs on my back, or swing a sledge hammer in the heat all day long.

      While we all might be preparing for uncertain times, or possibly SHTF, it doesn’t mean that we have to live the life of a hermit right now. To each his own…

      ps: criticizing the television while posting on the internet is hilarious at best, sad and pathetic at worst. ROFL

  2. This is helpful. Like you suggest, we’ve been focusing on what we decided are the three most likely scenarios for us…extended power outage, vehicle breaking down away from home and my husband being in lockdown since he works on a college campus. We have made a lot of progress in these areas, but I wasn’t sure how to prioritize what is left. And then there is always the ‘now what’ that comes once we have these fairly well covered which this will be helpful for as well.

  3. Actually, life is pretty easy. The only people that really suffer are those that choose to suffer. I enjoy life because I work at taking the easy route and avoiding most problems.

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  5. What a great and useful tool! It’s smart not to just write down what needs to be done, but how long it will take so you can plan accordingly. It’s overwhelming starting too many things at once! That’s why we quit before we even begin! Great post!

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