The Nonessentialist tends to always assume a best-case scenario. Chronically underestimating how long something will really take.
The Essentialist looks ahead and plans. Prepares for different contingencies. Expects the unexpected. Creates a buffer for the unforeseen, thus giving wiggle room when things come up.
Use the good times to create a buffer for the bad.
Do the difficult things while they are easy and do the great things while they are small.
Ways to create buffers:
- use extreme preparation – prepare for anything and everything that can possibly go wrong
Hope for the best, plan for the worst. —Lee Child
- add 50% to your time estimate – avoid planning fallacy
- Planning fallacy – tendency to underestimate how long a task will take, even when they have actually done the task before
- Hofstadter’s Law: It always takes longer than you expect, even when you take into account Hofstadter’s Law.
Ask these five questions about an important project:
- What risks do you face on this project?
- What is the worst-case scenario?
- What would the social effects of this be?
- What would the financial impact of this be?
- How can you invest to reduce risks or strengthen financial or social resilience?
That fifth question points you to buffers.
From: Essentialism by Greg McKeown
Ch. 15 on Buffers – p. 175