The 5-Minute Brainstorming Challenge

Have you ever tried just sitting down with a sheet of paper and doing nothing but brainstorming for five minutes? The solutions and enterprises you can come up with are astounding.

True, not all of your ideas will be worth pursuing. But some of them will, and that is the point of the whole exercise. You will just have to sort them out a little bit.

Why brainstorm? In a chapter on the subject in his book You Can Farm, Joel Salatin listed two main reasons:

  1. Problem-solving.
  2. Capturing your full potential.

To illustrate capturing potential, Salatin then included a brief list of farming enterprises he thought of off the top of his head. The list was diverse and creative, including everything from llamas to mushrooms to woodworking. (Of course, more “normal” enterprises like chickens and vegetables were included, as well.)

What a great idea! We can brainstorm about all kinds of other things, too:

  • Specific ways to use a particular piece of land.
  • Ways we can fix a predator problem.
  • Ways to use a particular interest we have.
  • Posts we can write for our website.

Ready to give the 5-minute brainstorming challenge a try? Here’s how it works:

  1. Grab a pencil and a piece of paper.
  2. Set a timer for five minutes.
  3. Start writing down ideas as they come to you.

There is only one rule:

The rule of brainstorming is that nothing is too wacky to go onto the list. The sheer brainpower that can be focused on a nonjudgmental list is incredible.

—Joel Salatin, You Can Farm

Worry about whittling down the options later, after the five minutes are up. For now just make your list.

While you’re at it, why not give everyone in the family a piece of paper and a pencil? The more ideas, the better. At the end of the five minutes, compare notes. See if you detect a common theme.

And keep all those brainstorming lists somewhere. Don’t lose them. Whenever you’re stumped or just uninspired, pull them out and revisit your ideas. Who knows? You might discover the next step in your homesteading adventure.