Law of Diminishing Returns

a ruler and a sort of artsy notepad maybe and woden carving, some tools

“If you knew how much work went into it you wouldn’t call it genius ” – possibly Leonardo DaVinci

Let’s say you’re painting

Like Leonardo DaVinci painting the Mona Lisa.

I was painting.
Not like the Sistine Chapel, more like kitchen cabinets. But it took some time. And I think it could have taken longer.

However, I stopped. People usually quit the things they do. After all, we couldn’t do more things if we didn’t quit doing the things we were already doing! And here’s the critical cruxy crux of our blog post today: When do you stop doing things? I find. that you’ll find… going through life, that some people will give you the kind of advice like:

  • If you don’t have time to do it right, when will you have time to fix it
  • Always give 100%
  • Quality, not Quantity
  • You should make work you’ll be proud of

Blah Blah you get the idea, that kinda thing. But what I want to know is: What if all that isn’t good advice? Who has tried the opposite and to what level of success?

What if there is an equally suitable strategy which instead prescribed the opposite?

I don’t ‘mind’ calling it the “Adam Method” but I’m flexible on the name.

Some might call it by such rosy names as:

Laziness – Slapdashery – Rapid Prototyping -Spaztisicm – Flittering – Tactical Retreat –

Whatever you choose to name it, the main idea is that you can get more done, at the cost of not spending a resource which is usually Time.

But oftentimes with such things in our universe, you don’t get as much Work done for all the Time you put in.

For example: let’s say your sweeping, or installing a Dishwasher. This also works for artistic endeavors, engineering, debate, architecture, and any sort of skill. Take for another example (before the others) of Frog Catching:

The more you do it the better your going to be, who would disagree with that? But you don’t always get the same skill for the same amount of time you put in. You can study frog catching for 88 years, and still not catch them all.

So rather than spend 88 years, most may just spend all of 10  minutes or even 2. And it suits them just fine. The Law of Diminishing Returns is sort of like a fulcrum or simple machine for functions of Work and Time.

Consider sweeping the floor with a broom. At first you get quite a lot of dust, with that big ol’ broom. If you wanted to clean the floor even more, you could get out a thin paintbrush to sweep up the last few morsels of dust. But, of course you don’t. Because due to the law of diminishing returns, it’s not worth your time to do that.


a ruler and a sort of artsy notepad maybe and woden carving, some tools

At some point, it just makes sense to quit.

What I wonder is: how does the law of diminishing returns apply to my life? or to anyone’s life in general. Assuming your life is composted of Time, how much much of it will you spend on all your tasks.

Seeing as time is a fixed and limited commodity, ya know?

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