In the medical world, the term “Minimum Effective Dose (MED)” is used to describe the minimum amount of a medicine that can be applied to have an effect.
The “Maximum Tolerated Dose (MTD)” is the most amount of medicine that can be applied without experiencing adverse effects.
The “Therapeutic Range” of a medicine is then the range between the minimum and maximum dose, and is the “effective dose” for the medicine.
When giving a patient medicine, a medical professional wants to make sure they are giving somebody enough, but not too much.
Minimum Effectiveness For Simple Living
We can take the concept of “effective doses” and use its methodology for making our lives more simple.
You can determine a “minimum effective dose” for nearly anything in your life. This is the level at which you have enough.
You can also determine a “maximum effective dose” for everything. This will tell you when you have too much.
To truly simplify your life, you should aim to keep most of your life’s efforts at the minimum effective level. This is the sweet spot where you are effective, but with the least amount of effort/cost/resources.
Additionally, you should understand where the maximum level of effectiveness is as well. There is a point for everything, including cleaning, working out, etc., where you are no longer increasing effectiveness with increased effort.
Minimum Effective Levels Example – Smartphones
I used to be one of those people that would upgrade their smartphone every year. I thought that I needed the latest and greatest features.
But as time marched on, I realized that there really wasn’t that much change from year to year with smartphone improvements. And more importantly, the one I had from the year before was still effective.
When it comes to my needs, I mostly look for a smartphone that has a good camera, a battery that can last a day, and enough speed to handle simple daily apps.
So for me, the effective levels I’ve found are:
- Minimum – A 3 year old iPhone (or other flagship Android phone).
- Maximum – A brand new mid-level iPhone.
From my experience, any smartphone older than 3 years tends to no longer be effective for me. Below this threshold, I run into battery, speed or camera issues.
On the other end of the effectiveness spectrum, I’ve found that I don’t need the best of the best. I can do without the largest screen or the most amount of storage.
Knowing my minimum and maximum effective levels for smartphones helps me to determine when I need to upgrade, and which phone I should buy.
Other Areas to Apply Minimum Effective Levels
I’d challenge you to examine where in your own life you can apply this model. Simplifying your efforts by reducing your input to the minimal effective level.
Here are a few more personal examples I’ve found:
- Working Out – I can stay in relatively good shape by doing 3-4 workouts a week. I mostly do a high intensity kettlebell routine to save time and build strength.
- Clothing – My work clothing has been reduced down to it’s minimal level, which is essentially 5 shirts, 3 pants, and 2 pairs of shoes.
- Yard Work – I don’t have the best lawn in the neighborhood… but I don’t have the worst. I mow the lawn once a week, and weed my garden about once month.
- Spending On “Fun” – Our monthly budget has about $200 allocated to spending on “fun”. This is a good minimum level for me that is realistic, and enough for me to enjoy life.
- Dieting and Eating – My simple eating rules are essentially to just eat real food. Following these diet principles are my minimal effective level for maintaining a healthy weight.
Where do you apply this model in your life? Add a comment!