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How to Find More Than 24 Hours in a Day


Find the minimum effective dose — of everything.

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. 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.

We have a deep-seated conviction that more work, more enrichment activities for the kids, more likes on Facebook or Instagram, more stuff would be better. Unless we like feeling exhausted and overwhelmed, 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 Gain an Extra Day Each Week eBook Cover - ChristineCarter.combeyond the “maximum tolerated dose,” the level at which an activity (or drug) becomes toxic and starts causing an adverse reaction.

Take Action: The first step in dialing back the busyness of everyday life is to figure out your minimum effective dose of everything. Ignore what other people think and assume and demand of your time. 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. If you think you’ll need help with this, download one of my most popular eBooks to date, “How to Gain an Extra Day Each Week.

Join the Discussion: What activity have YOU found the MED for that surprised you? Your story will help others have the courage to dial back their own busyness.


  1. Sonjie says:

    I couldn’t agree more with this sentiment! It’s so easy to be influenced by so-called experts all round you saying things like “There’s no point in exercising if you don’t do at least 30 minutes” or “if you want to learn a language you have to do at least two classes a week”. Nonsense! A little is always better than nothing and we all need to find our own balance.

  2. Georgia Lush says:

    I so believe in less is more! I need to be vigilant on so many fronts with two young children who always want to do more and have more!
    They started a new school this year (we are in Australia so at the beginning of the new school year) and I have said no new extra-curricular activities until we are all settled in. They already have after school sport two days a week, a community sport on the weekend, and the eldest is learning a musical instrument. I have already said no to cricket, drums, didgeridoo (yes, that was a real request!), drama, and more this term.
    I have also found that tackling homework in the morning when brains are fresh works better for us. It helps having an ADHD boy who gets us up anytime from 5am!
    I am sure there is more I could be doing as well to keep sanity in reach.

  3. JoMomma says:

    I work with overachieving college students who are almost all on the verge of a nervous breakdown, and these are my health and wellness interns. I am constantly giving permission to say no, do less. Now I have a new “prescription!” MED!

  4. Nic says:

    Can you tell us HOW to “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”?

    I’d also like to read your thoughts on the trade-offs of aiming for the “minimum”. I understand the benefits of reducing excessive expectations and sometimes lower them dramatically, but that does not sound like a recipe for full engagement and abundance.

  5. Kolya Lynne Smith says:

    I can “get” with this one. MED! I *love* it! I’m a Medical Sociology major and medical advocate. I am the president and director of a non-profit that I created, called Ehrick Garion’s Act. It’s an awareness act for a medical condition that I have – Chiari Malformation. Let me share something that I had to do, in order to get more sleep. I thought of an idea called “Sleep Shift – 11-7” I literally had to twist it, so that sleeping was work. I would stay up until 1-2am trying to squeeze in as much as I could and my health was affected by that. My parents are workaholics, as are my two brothers, and I’m the youngest, so this has been mirrored in my life. I’m trying to break the cycle. 🙂 I’m still in the first two weeks of implementing this. But I do get off the computer by 11. I’d like to be in bed and asleep around 11. I have to get ready earlier with my bedtime routine in order to make the 11 o’clock shift. 🙂 But I do sleep later than 7, to get my 8 hours of sleep in. 🙂 I love your blogs, Christine. Glad to call you a peer. 🙂

  6. Morgan MacDonald says:

    Thank you for this concise reminder of an essential concept for productivity and balance. I have shared it on the Facebook Page for my new productivity blog for women, EssentialistaClub.com

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