pmbell64 /Foter

It’s hard to make a plan, when you know life is going to happen and interfere with the plan anyway, right? You’re never going to be able to stick with the plan completely, so why even take the time to do it? It can seem like you might as well just deal with putting out fires when they flare up and try to do the best you can in between times.

One of the random jobs I’ve had in my life is leading wilderness adventures. Through that training and experience, I learned this cool trick called the 50/50 principle. The idea is that as an instructor, you plan 100% of your day. But you do it with the awareness that you’re probably going to dump at least 50% of it when something really cool happens, like a bald eagle flies overhead and all your students want to go find its nest and that wasn’t on the agenda, but it’s clearly the right thing to do. You should totally dump the agenda when it makes sense to do so. But an hour later when your students are bored with eagles, and starting to get restless and cranky, you can whip out the plan again!

This works way better than realizing that you need to have a plan, but you don’t have one, and in the time it takes to come up with a plan, the small people have invented new ways to hit each other with sticks. Way better to have the old agenda to fall back on as soon as you need it.

The correlation here is that you can plan out your day, knowing that at least 50% of it isn’t going to go that way. But when you get a minute, and there’s nothing immediately pressing to attend to, you can pull out your schedule and see at a glance what you should be working on now, without having to go through the whole stress-inducing process of figuring it out every time you make a transition. Or worse, never figuring it out and defaulting to playing Farmville.