What’s the one thing almost all of us want? Maybe some dream of great PR, others additional funding, yet others of that elusive perfect hire. But all would probably agree on one thing—having a few more hours in the day would come in really, really handy.
Think literally and there’s no way to make that happen, of course, but according to Dr. Christine Carter, a sociologist, author, and happiness expert, there is a way to make it feel like you have more time. In a short but intriguing post on her blog, she suggests that time-pressed professionals should steal a concept from the pharmaceutical industry in order to alleviate not physical maladies but the problem of a persistent time crunch.
What’s the idea? Minimum effective dose.
Overdosing on Activity
“The ‘minimum effective dose’ (MED) is considered to be the lowest dose of a pharmaceutical product that spurs a clinically significant change in health or well-being,” she explains, and the idea has validity beyond the world of medicine. “In order to live and work from my sweet spot, I had to find the MED in everything in my life: Sleep, meditation, blogging frequency, checking my email, school volunteering, homework help, date nights,” Carter writes.
Our culture is obsessed with constantly striving for more—more money, more success, more activities. But all this running after more leaves many of us feeling frantic. Instead of asking yourself how you can maximize different aspects of your life, ask yourself how little of an activity you can do and still feel the positive effects of participation.
“We need to accept that more is not necessarily better and that our go-go-go culture, left unchecked, will push us not only beyond our MED—but beyond the ‘maximum tolerated dose,’ the level at which an activity (or drug) becomes toxic and starts causing an adverse reaction,” cautions Carter, who also offers a suggestion for how to get started putting this wisdom to work.
“The first step in dialing back the busyness of everyday life is to figure out your minimum effective dose of everything,” she instructs. “Figure out how much time you actually need to spend on your email, going to meetings, driving your kids to their activities, etc., in order to be effective at home and at work.”
Are you overdosing on any activities in your professional or personal life?
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