In Mexico, something seems to go significantly wrong almost every day. Miguel was one of my hosts on a recent trip. The motor mounts on his car were shot from all the speed bumps, so he got them replaced. Then the battery light came on. The next morning, the battery was dead. Jumper cables got it started and got him where he needed to go, but the next night someone broke into his car and stole the jumper cables. When he tried to get a jump from someone else, he lifted the hood to find that the battery itself had also been stolen. A mechanic shop around the corner was still open. They put in a new battery, but in doing so, blew out two fuses for the fuel pump. On and on the comedy of errors went, ending with battery acid spilled all over everything.

So how do we plan for unexpected problems? How do we sort out our priorities for the week, so that if one day gets completely hijacked (which does happen), we aren’t wiped out for the whole week? The most effective leaders are able to maintain focus on what’s most important and not get sidetracked. A little more advance preparation—including budgeting some time for unforeseen problems—actually reduces stress and increases our ability to maintain focus.