Decision making principles rooted in dated assumptions

In my past life – during a time without kids – I used to spend a fair bit of time on flights for work.

Given the amount of time spent traveling, it made sense to optimize the experience. This meant minimizing/removing check in baggage, and getting to the airport with just enough time for security and boarding.

This approach often meant cutting it fine on time at the airport. While it never came down to a missed flight, the thought process was that the cost of doing so wouldn’t be crazy. There’s always the next one in case there’s a mishap.

I was thinking about this the other day. For many years since, I’ve maintained a similar approach. Sure, we added a touch more buffer post kids. But, the old principle of minimizing time at the airport remained.

Until a couple months ago. As I made my way to the flight (it was close), I found myself asking myself if the principle still made sense.

It made sense when I was traveling solo frequently for work on popular routes. The cost of a miss – in case of a mishap – was not crazy.

The assumptions now couldn’t be more different. I travel primarily for personal reasons and our frequency is very low (at best 3-4 trips per year). When we do fly, our entire family typically goes together. The cost of screwing up a well planned family trip is much higher.

A lightbulb moment.

I’ve since shifted my mindset. When we traveled recently, we got in well in advance – with plenty of buffer time. We ended up using a chunk of the buffer time for this and that. We then got some time to hang out at the gate – a novel experience. :-) But, perhaps, most of all, it was a relatively stress free experience.

All thanks to revisiting a decision making principle rooted in dated assumptions.