September 6, 2011

How the Minimum Effective Dose Gives You More Free Time

The minimum effective dose (MED) is defined as the smallest dose that will produce a desired outcome.

Anything that is beyond the MED is wasteful. This post is going to talk about why doing the minimum effective dose will save you time.

Let’s use a quick example here. To boil water, the MED is 212 degrees fahrenheit at standard air pressure. Once the water is boiled, it is boiled. If you keep turning up the heat, the water can’t get any “more boiled.” Using a higher temperature will just consume more resources that could be used for something else that is more productive.

80% of What We Do Is Un-Productive

With business, if you truly break down how long it takes you to do something you will realize that about 80% of the work you do is un-productive. That sucks!

I’m there with ya on that.

It’s frustrating to think about and especially frustrating when you actually realize it’s the truth in your business. When I realized this, I was pretty pissed about the fact that I was raised to believe I needed to work hard to succeed.

When you take the time to break down your daily work day into 30 minute increments of true work time and not true work time, my guess is that you’ll be surprised. If you’d like to test this out because you don’t believe me, please take the time to map out your day for the next week.

The Problem With This

The problem with this is that we’re raised to believe that we are supposed to work 8 hours every single day. We are supposed to work hard because that’s what our parents and grandparents did. Right?

I do agree with working hard and am in no way saying that you shouldn’t work hard. (I actually got a bunch of crap from someone while working at a valet job this past year. One of the clients said that I should slow down because I was running as fast as I could to get to people’s cars so that they could get their car quicker. I laughed and ran as fast as I could to get to his car 🙂 )

I truly believe that working smarter is better than working harder when it comes to business. This was even true with my job as a valet. I would only work about 20% of the time I was “at work” and during that 20% of time I would work as hard as I could. What happens is that the time we are working is actually deliberate. You can learn more about deliberate practice in my post The Secret of Deliberate Practice.

When I broke down my day into productive time and non-productive time, I noticed that only about 20% of the time I was in work-mode I was actually doing work. Damn, I thought I was actually doing stuff all the time. Turns out a lot of my time was wasted on Facebook, Twitter, watching YouTube videos or reading articles.

The problem with that is that none of those things directly led people to putting money in my pocket. What matters when it comes to paying bills? Doing things that put money in your pocket.

But what if I have to work 8 hours a day?

Resisting the Temptation To Do More

This is hard for me. I’ve been someone who is obsessed with working and it’s one of my weaknesses. I have a hard time just “relaxing” and my brain seems to always be running. If I’m not learning something when i’m not doing work, I feel like i’m wasting my time.

The truth is that the Minimum Effective Dose not only delivers the most dramatic results, but it does so in the least time possible.

Exercise: For the next week try to map out your schedule in 30 minute increments. Make a note about what you’ve accomplished over the last 30 minutes from the time you start working until the time you stop working.

Try this and let me know what you experienced
using this technique or let me know
what other techniques you used. 

Chris Hughes

Chris loves learning, going on adventures, surfing and having fun. Chris on Google+

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