“Min-Maxing”: Do your best… by doing the bare-minimum more often.

Everything adds up.

For those wondering, I make these using Canva.com, it’s free and pretty neat.

Today we are going to talk about effort management, specifically, how to do the bare-minimum to achieve the max result.

If you are in early days (years) starting up your venture, you are probably working one, maybe two, actual paying jobs “on the side” and trying to jam in the work you really want to do into the 6pm - 10pm slot assigned by modern society for anything remotely enjoyable, before going to bed to start the next working day (but not before having an existential crisis about how little time you have left).

Which brings us to the point of the article. Time and how to make your dreams a reality when you feel like you have none of it.

This feeling is totally normal and is called “living”.

“Min-Maxing” is a term used in video-gaming communities (please don’t close the article because you don’t play video games, there’s an actual point you can relate to, I promise). The idea is that in order to perform at your peak in certain games, you need to dedicate time to working on processes and activities that seem meaningless when viewed in singularity, but separate you from 99% of the population of the game.

In video games, this activity could be killing a few extra monsters of a specific type every day, to get the parts to make the best item. Players know it takes 1000 of this specific monster part to get the item and that would take way too long, so 99% of them put it on the back-burner (sound familiar?).

Min-Maxer’s identify that, then spend 10 minutes every day ‘farming’ that monster for 30 days and BAM, they have it.

Then they equip the item, people see that they have it and adorn them with reputable titles within the community such as ‘loser’, ‘basement-dwelling virgin’ and, occasionally, praise from the other 1% that also do it. Radical.

The process then starts over again on a new activity to further maximize their effectiveness in the game.

“So why would I want to be that person?” — You, probably.

Because it makes you the best.

You can apply Min-Maxing to anything you aspire to do. If your goal is to write a book, you don’t sit down and write it non-stop until it’s finished. You do the bare-minimum each day, to have enough content to send to a publisher so that they can reject you. In all seriousness, writing one unedited page a day for 30 days is going to give you a chapter, or maybe just the start of 30 chapters. Either way it’s going to be a lot easier than writing 30 pages on the weekend, like you promised yourself you would 3 years ago.
Maybe one whole page is too much, go with a paragraph. Some days you might write two.

I learned this concept from Chuck Palahniuk, writer of Fight Club, the 1996 novel-turned-movie.

For anyone interested in learning to write better-er(?), check out his craft essays on writing techniques, he is a genuine lord of the craft. It’s a free PDF, link here:

The important part of Min-Maxing is identify what your “bare-minimum” is. 
Then force yourself to do it. Every. Day.

Find the right amount of work to ensure you feel accomplished. I find that it’s the amount of work that stops me from falling into a figurative pit of despair, questioning my existence right before I fall asleep at night, forcing me to change the direction I’m facing and readjust the pillow and then waking up the next day, pretending I didn’t have that thought. This is the equivalent of about one page of writing.

Your bare-minimum might be different. To each their own. 
Apply it to whatever it is that you are doing.

This is just “Rome wasn’t built in a day” — You, again.

What I’m suggesting isn’t ground breaking. I have no delusions about that. I’m just making it approachable. I can only write about the things I have experienced to be effective and hope it helps others, because I can’t fit quantitative data collection into the 20 minute time-slots I use each day to draft and edit these articles over the week. *Jazz Hands* Min-Maxing *End Jazz Hands*.

Too Long, Didn’t Read

Force yourself to do a little bit every day to achieve the outcome you want. Seriously, even just 10 minutes a day over 30 days is… *checks calculator*… 5 hours work!

It’s the difference between what you have done and what you will do. I believe in you, internet stranger.

As always, leave any feedback and questions in the comments, on twitter or don’t at all. I can’t make you love me.

Follow me here or on twitter so you can see the things I’ll regret posting 10 years from now.