planning for 50%: indigenous practice

i wish i could remember who taught me this principle (maybe my friend, elias), but it’s a good one. 

the example through which i learned about planning for 50% was related to crop planning. as a community, the principle was applied such that they needed to plan for only 50% crop success. this meant they planted or collected twice what was needed in order to be resilient (in case half of it failed). 

though many indigenous farming practices seem alien to industrial agriculture, i can imagine forest gardens and integral shifting cultivation systems that follow this 50% rule.

planning for 50% builds in the potential to deal with the unexpected. in a sense, the practice embodies that fact that the only thing that can be consistently expected is the unexpected.

i dream of one day having fully embodied this practice in my personal work management system. i know it’s not exactly how the principle was intended, but it seems like it could provide lots of value.

for instance, i know that my brain has a daily decision-making limit [link]. and yet, i often plan my days out too ambitiously. this means that i rarely actually feel or believe that i accomplished enough in any given day. planning for 50% would make me drastically reduce what i plan to fit in any single day. this would both allow me to feel more successful about my days.

i also think it would encourage me to be more rigorous about prioritizing my work tasks. i made this little daily planning tool a couple of years back that probably would help with this (it’s just a digital version of something my friend, cameron, made), but i have since stopped using it. maybe i’ll restart that practice… 

and i think giving myself more flexibility during the day would allow me to respond to more unexpected tasks and opportunities without resenting them or the people that bring them (being a really good planner definitely has its downsides).

maybe i’ll make embodying this practice part of my 2017 priorities.