Behavioral Science

Minimum Viable Product? How about a Minimum Viable Life. [on Efficiency]

by . September 1st, 2014


When you’re on your last breath, what would you rather tell others? That you once spent a whole day on mindless work to get a better paycheck, or that you actually spent your time and money on something that made you feel fulfilled?

Being busy burns you out, gives you something to brag about that you shouldn’t, and makes you do everything while actually accomplishing nothing.

This post is about being neither busy nor lazy, and the understanding and application of TRUE efficiency. The minimum viable life.

The Lie

Thomas Shahan

We are told all our lives to reach a quota. To finish a list. The problem is that there is no quota. The list never ends. It’s an endless cycle unless you tell yourself to stop.

But if there’s no end, what purpose do we have? What are we fighting for? The answer to that is that we’re fighting for the now. What we’re doing. What we’re seeing. The now. A basic point in philosophy is that we’re made of experiences. It’s the purpose of life. So what would you rather be about? Chasing dreams, or achieving them? Being busy, or being fruitful?

Cause we need to separate those things. They’re not synoymous or even synergetic. Being fruitful, content, happy. You need to learn how to rest, breathe in, and enjoy the things you’ve done and what others have done as well.

The Moment


Another huge lie is that we can come up with great ideas if that’s all we focus on. That’s how we get creative blocks. How many times have you stared at a canvas or paper or whatever you work on for hours, and nothing comes out of it? Now compare that to all the silly, ingenious, or innovative ideas you’ve come up with while taking a dump, or watching videos at 2AM, or staring at the ceiling.

Give yourself a break and spend some time thinking of everything, or nothing, or a bit of both. Whatever the case, it will increase your innovation. Science says so.

The Solution


Sadly, it’s not Nutella. It starts out by wanting it. “I want to not be busy, but be just as or more effective than I am today. I want to gain more by doing less.”

Next you have to form a Minimum Viable Life. Just like a Minimum Viable Product, you have to think lean about this. What is necessary for your life and its improvement, and what is extra? What do you spend hours on but can be condensed into a few minutes, or not be done at all?

Think of all of those commitments you’ve made that don’t really do anything for you. Maybe you commited to something and thought it would help you. Maybe you committed to something, and it’s grown out of proportion. Make some calls and eliminate those. They’ll be sad about it, but if they dwell on it and try to cling to you, do you really need people like that in your life?

As you pluck out more and more clutter from your life, you’ll see the essentials of what makes it. You end up clearing your schedule to what it’s actually supposed to be.

Another way to declutter your life is by having people do things for you. Know that there is no shame to passing off your duties to others, just how you do it. This is why entrepreneurs hire people. Know what you’re supposed to do, and what others are supposed to do for you.

On that note, virtual assistants are a thing. I haven’t tried them myself, but a lot of people seem to bank on Zirtual, which gives you an online personal assistant at $199 a month. I haven’t checked on the others, but with something as important as your life, I’d suggest getting a service that’s been tried and tested to the ground.

And that’s it. Be less busy, but more productive. More efficient. Get a Minimum Viable Life so you can spend most of your day doing what makes you happy.