When it comes to cattle ranching, or any work with animals for that matter, there is always something that needs to be done. Even if it doesn't necessarily need to be done right now, there is always something that you could be doing. This can make work-life balance challenging.

Ranching isn't a nine-to-five job that you can leave behind when you leave the office. The hours change each week, the tasks change each day, and there are more unexpected events that come up than some might think. In a job that never ends, a job that is a lifestyle, how do you maintain work-life balance?

Blonde girl and cattle dog walking along fence in field

I've often found myself caught up in turning down time with friends or family because I've always been a 'get the work done first, then you can play' type person. I don't enjoy having fun as much if my responsibilities aren't taken care of. This has needed some adjustment since I began working cattle and other farm animals. How do you give yourself that sense of completion and allow yourself to relax and do things for fun, when technically there is more work to be done?

Here are a few things that have helped me maintain a work-life balance:

  1. Prioritize.
    • Whether you want to do it for the day, week, or month, prioritize what needs to be done first, and what can wait for a while. This will allow you to think of everything that you need to do, and give you peace of mind that you're not forgetting anything. This can go a long way in reducing your stress and allowing yourself to relax.
  2. Make a list.
    • Put your goals for the day into a written list. Crossing off everything on the list will give you a deserved sense of accomplishment. allow you to see everything you have completed, and relax at the end of the day.
  3. Make a plan and stick to it!
    • It's easy to back out of plans when you are a cattle rancher, because you always have a valid excuse. There are a lot of lives that depend on you. Obviously sometimes there are sacrifices that need to be made when they need you, but if your animals are alive and well, stick to the plans you have made with friends, family, or yourself! The rest can wait.
Molly Brown ear tagging calf in Q-Catch cattle chute

It's easy to become a bit of a workaholic when it comes to cattle ranching, especially when you love the work and the animals you are caring for as much as most of us do! I don't do all of this - making lists, prioritizing, etc. because I want to get away from cattle ranching. I do it because it helps me to enjoy it more by not being overwhelmed by it, and to help myself have a more balanced life, and be present with those who are important to me.