110% effort

1. 100% effort is the effort you can put in, every single day, long term.
2. You can go over 100% for a short period, but every day you do that, your “100%” is a bit less the next day.
3. Be very aware of how 100% effort feels, notice when you go above, and make sure it’s a wise decision.


Let’s say 100% effort is 50 “things” per day. So you do 50 things every day.

Busy bad week

Then one Monday morning you are told: “There’s a big deadline tomorrow, we need your help to make it. Here’s 80 things for you, please finish them today.” That’s 160% effort. You skip the lunch break, you just eat at your table while working. You skip chatting with co-workers, you skip time registration and emails. You manage to make 80 things in a single day!

Tuesday you start by checking email, of course this takes longer than usual. How will you do your usual 50 things today? Again you skip lunch break, you barely manage to do your usual 50 things.

Wednesday is back to normal. Except that you are tired and miss talking to your team. It’s hard to focus. You struggle to get 50 things done, and end up not talking to anyone. Again.

Thursday – struggling through Wednesday made you more tired, and you are even less focused. By lunch time you realize that doing 50 things will be difficult, you skip lunch.

Friday morning you are even more tired. Doing 50 things seems impossible. And you have left over emails from Thursday. And you are a week behind on time registration. You can tell already you are not going to be worth much this weekend, and the pattern will continue Monday.

Busy bad week


Busy good week

You manage to get the 80 things done on Monday.

Tuesday you make the same effort as usual – 100%. But you only get 24 things done, because you spend extra time on email and you’re tired so it’s harder for you to focus than usual.

Wednesday morning you feel better than Tuesday. With 100% effort you get 28 things done.

Thursday you’re at 32 things. Friday is 36 things.

You productivity this week is similar to the busy bad week, but you’ll be able to have a normal weekend and Monday you are back to normal.

Busy good week

Long term

This is even more important long term.

You usually get 50 things done every day, but you feel pressure to do a bit better. You do 110% effort.

Monday you get 55 things done. Great.

Tuesday your 100% is reduced to 49 things. You get 49 * 110% = 54 things done.

After a week your 100% is reduced to just 45 things per day. You are now making more than 110% effort, just to do your usual 50 things.

After 2 weeks your 100% is just 40 things per day. You are doing 120% effort just to do 40 * 120% = 48 things, and every day you are more tired than the day before.

Either you break the pattern, or you get long term sick leave due to stress because your 100% is becoming useless.

Bad weeks

Every day you don’t have time for small talk, lunch break or leave work on time, you are doing more than 100% effort. That’s okay, as long as you are aware that you are doing it, and what the consequences are.

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