When to Target the Average
Focusing on the average makes sense when you're hoping to sustain something, even if it is not always a perfectly easy and consistent output.
It works when you are already putting in a bit of effort, but want to improve that effort over the long-term.
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When you focus on the maximum, you can expand your potential. It requires deliberate practice with a high focus on quality, focusing on specific aspects of performance with clear feedback.
Bursts of high intensity are not sustainable long-term. Maximum-targeting works well when there is an efficiency gain for reaching higher levels. Once the burst has finished, you move to average or minimum-targeted goals.
There are a few different ways you can go about setting a goal or creating a new habit.
Minimum targeting works well for establishing long-term habits.
A goal of, for instance, doing fifty push-ups every day might not be ideal for fitness, but doing something is better than doing nothing.
Another reason to focus on the minimum is that it assumes the difficulty is in starting. To start a process can often be the hardest. Then you want to set a lower threshold to make starting as easy as possible.
For most types of work you can increase your productivity by increasing the intensity of your work. No more watercooler chats or lingering over emails.
Some productivity systems admit that we can get more done within the same time. But scheduling every moment of your working day takes extra effort.
Any goal or project will usually have these basic qualities:
A goal is then a group of different features that get bundled together. Some are necessary, others are optional, and some are better to postpone.
Too little effort and you may never see results (or too slowly to notice). Too much effort and you may burnout long before any permanent progress has been made.
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