Minimum Effective Dose (Tim Ferriss′ Hack)

Busy has become synonymous for productive work. We spend most of our time busy, hoping that we’re doing more.

Learn my exact note-taking system to capture the best ideas from articles, podcasts, videos, and so much more.

But is that necessarily true?

Doing more things does not necessarily mean that you are becoming more effective. Oftentimes it’s a classic case of less being more: the time you invested in a particular task could be better used elsewhere.

In his book, The 4 Hour Body, Tim Ferriss popularized the concept of the minimum effective dose: the smallest dose that will produce a specific outcome.

Here is an example:

“To boil water, the minimum effective dose is 212 degrees Fahrenheit (100 degrees Celsius) at standard air pressure. Boiled is boiled. Higher temperatures will not make it “more boiled.” Higher temperatures just consume more resources that could be used for something else more productive.”

At the heart of the minimum effective dose is the understanding that every action comes with an opportunity cost.

One cannot possibly be the best at everything - better to focus immensely on what truly matters to you and give just the necessary amount of effort in other aspects of life.

The minimum effective dose is a good principle for deciding how much energy you should devote to a task.