The Galahad Principle, and how it works for us

I recently came across this article about something called ‘The Galahad Principle’, in contrast to the ‘Pareto Principle’.

I frequently find myself settling for 80% solutions: most of the time, it’s good enough, and the extra energy needed to get it to 100% is simply not worth it. I can be remarkably flexible when it comes to working around these last 20% of a lot of things! But that post also remarks upon something that I recognise: only when you’re at 100%, you can trust ‘the system’ completely and do not need to expend energy for a workaround every time.

Two weeks ago, I attended Agile Camp NL, and I had a blast! I only knew the organisers vaguely, so I had some socialising to do — which I’m not very good at, but somehow the environment was very conducive to making new friends. And we were helped by some of the ice breaker excercises. Since the theme of the ‘camp’ was the agile way of working, we had to answer the question ‘what makes your way of working agile?’ in duos.
My workplace claims to be agile, but is actually pretty static and locked-down, so there’s not much agility in what I do in the office. But I thought of how I use routines in my daily work.

Saying you’re agile because you use routines is kinda weird (which is why it’s such a good icebreaker), but if you follow the Galahad Principle, it makes sense. For instance: we have cats (as you all know), and every day we have to clean the kitty litter. The bag of dirty litter goes into the trashcan, which is outside our back door. The back door has to be locked when we go to sleep. And there is a heavy curtain in front of the back door, which we close on cold winter nights to better keep the warmth in.

We have set up a routine, which goes as follows:
– The door is not locked before the kitty litter has been cleaned (nothing so frustrating as standing with a bag of dirty litter in your hands and having to rummage through a drawer for keys — not to mention the (un)hygienic aspects of doing so);
– The curtain can’t be closed before the door is locked (otherwise we can’t see that the door hasn’t been locked yet and we might forget it).
We follow this routine 100%. So if the curtain is closed, we know that the kitty litter is done and the door is locked, so we do not have to do anything else with the back door when we go to sleep.

And having this routine actually saves a lot of time and energy, precisely because we can trust it — because we follow it 100%. If we had followed it only 80% of the time, it would have been useless. And the time saved means we can expend that energy to something else that needs doing.
Automate the boring stuff away, or create a routine and keep yourself to it, and spend your (mental) energy to stuff that matters.

(Also: I still need to write up all of the awesome sessions I attended at Agile Camp, but I’m also behind on the course work for the RPG Writer’s Workshop, and that has priority for now.)

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