Doing Just Enough To Get By And Still Accomplishing Maximum Results

Photo by Andres Rueda

Photo by Andres Rueda

Minimum Effective Dose

Minimum Effective Dose or MED is one of those semi-new concepts being discussed quite a bit right now. The concept was originally developed and utilized by inventor and exercise guru Arthur Jones. Today, the MED banner is being proudly waved by none other than author Tim Ferriss.

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

Let’s look at some examples of MED.

Examples

First, here’s a practical, “real life” example that is often cited: boiling water. Water boils at 212° F. Raising the temperature beyond that will not make something “more boiled.” Boiled is boiled. If we do raise the temperature beyond the minimum, then we are just wasting energy and heat resources.

Second, example: bombs (I know, weird example. Follow me, though). Back in World War II days, we needed hundreds of planes with hundreds of bombs in order to “carpet bomb” cities to force an eventual surrender. But, today, with our sophisticated laser guided hardware and global satellite positioning systems, we can send up just a few planes with a few “smart bombs” and target just a few, select locations to accomplish (mostly) the same result.

Third example: music instrument practice. Now, in this example, this will vary from one musician to the other. There will be variables based on age, maturity level, concentration ability, and difficulty of music. So, each instrumentalist needs to measure their own optimal practice time frame. Again, based upon the variables, this could range from 30 minutes to 3 hours. But, there will come a point for an instrumentalist when further practice in a 24-hour period becomes a waste of time. They will hit the wall of the law of diminishing returns if they keep on practicing.

Fourth example: physical exercise. I’m all about MED on this one. I have no desire (and zero extra time) to spend hours in the gym or training for a marathon. I’m all about doing the minimal amount to achieve my desired results! Again, this varies according to each person, their metabolism, the intensity of the workout, and so on. For me, I’ve found that 4 days a week, with alternating days of cardio and strength training of about 25 minutes per day, seems to be my MED. I’ve been able to accomplish the level of physical fitness I need for maximum performance.

Fifth example: writing. There is an MED to the skill of writing. Writers like Seth Godin have become masters of it. They utilize writing techniques that use fewer filler fluff words and maximize a few select concentrated words in order to get the desired point across to the reader.

Application

I know what you’re thinking at this point. “Larry, who cares? Does the minimum effective dose really matter to me and my life?” Sure does. If you can truly grab a hold of this concept, you can use it as a filter to pass through all of your activities, actions, schedule, and even financial purchases.

We live in an excessive, over the top world. We’re all trying to out man and outgun each other. Go the opposite direction. Try the MED approach, instead.

Apply it to a house you may be looking to purchase. How much square footage do you really need? How many bedrooms and bathrooms do you really need? Use the MED approach to calculate what will get the job done effectively.

Apply it to your career. Do you really want to work 80 hours a week for $120,000 and never see your family? Or, could you see yourself in a simpler, less stressful position at 40 hours a week at $75,000, spending more time and energy on the ones you love most? Something to consider.

Apply it to your eating habits. Do you tend to consume mindless calories? Or, using an MED approach, do you consume smaller amounts of higher quality foods such as on a slow-carb diet of higher amounts of protein and vegetables? Try it. It works.

Apply it to your sleep patterns. Do you really need 8 hours to function properly, or could you actually get by on 5.5 hours if you are in great physical shape and take a 20-minute power nap every afternoon? I know that’s actually possible for a lot of people.

In my personal opinion, the MED possibilities are endless and can help you achieve amazing, maximum results if applied well.

Questions: Are you familiar with the minimum effective dose approach? Do you employ MED in your own life? In what areas do you utilize it? What kind of results do you receive with this approach?