Growth Strategy #72: Assessing Diminishing Returns

Growth Strategy #72:  Assessing Diminishing Returns

I love working as it allows me to express my creativity and problem-solve.  Some might say I am a workaholic, yet I'm self-aware enough to ensure I rest, enjoy life and look after my health.  

However, it has not always been that way.  In my 30's I worked very hard, caught up in a daily whirlwind of activities, striving to achieve more and more. At the time, I pushed myself relentlessly, in the name of perfection and doing a good job, without considering the health consequences.  

I overcame this by accepting that I had done a good job, and that further delay in sharing, and delivering results would be more harmful than beneficial.  I overcame perfectionism by 'shipping' fast, getting things out there as soon as possible.

The economic principle known as the Law of Diminishing Returns, relates to my approach and can help us optimize our efforts, prevent burnout, and pave the way for sustainable personal growth.

Good for: Preventing burnout and accepting when a job is well done
Best used by: You

The Law of Diminishing Returns, rooted in economics, suggests that there is a point of saturation beyond which additional efforts, or resources put into a particular endeavour result in diminishing returns or reduced efficiency.

When we apply this idea to personal growth, it encourages us to recognize that beyond a certain point, excessive effort may not yield proportionate benefits.

Here's how it relates to personal growth:

  1. Optimal Resource Allocation: excessive input may not always lead to commensurate growth, we can allocate our resources wisely. Instead of spreading ourselves too thin, we can focus on specific areas that offer the greatest returns for our efforts, be it skills, relationships, or personal development.
  2. Time Management: helps us prioritize our time effectively, so we can avoid overcommitting and learn to strike a balance between work, relationships, hobbies, and self-care. By investing time and energy in a well-rounded manner, we foster sustainable growth and prevent burnout.
  3. Quality over Quantity: encourages us to shift our focus from quantity to quality. It reminds us that accomplishing more doesn't necessarily equate to personal growth. Instead, we should strive for depth and mastery in our pursuits, ensuring that each endeavour is meaningful and aligned with our values.

Failing to apply the above can have detrimental consequences, as we risk experiencing burnout, overwhelming stress, and a lack of focus.

It is crucial to understand the limits of our efforts and optimize our resources wisely to ensure sustainable growth, well-being, and a fulfilling life.

Here are some pros and cons of using this strategy:


  • Applying the concept helps us gain a deeper understanding of our own limitations, strengths, and areas where we can optimize our efforts.
  • By recognizing when additional effort is unlikely to yield significant benefits, we can avoid pushing ourselves to exhaustion. This allows us to maintain a sustainable pace and prevent burnout in the long run.
  • The concept empowers us to allocate our resources, such as time, energy, and focus, effectively. We can identify activities that yield the most significant growth and prioritize them, optimizing our personal growth journey.


  • Overreliance on the concept might lead to complacency or a fear of pushing beyond our comfort zones. It's essential to strike a balance between optimizing efforts and embracing calculated risks for personal growth.
  • Determining the point of diminishing returns can be subjective, as it varies from person to person and context to context. It requires self-reflection and experimentation to identify the optimal balance.

These are six things that help me to have a more balanced approach to taking action, without burning myself out.  

  1. Self-reflection.  I take time to reflect on my current activities and commitments. This includes identifying areas where I may be spreading myself too thin.
  2. Prioritization.  I evaluate my tasks and goals to determine which ones align most closely with my values and long-term aspirations.
  3. Time management.  I regularly assess how I allocate my time and energy, which helps me to set realistic boundaries and avoid over-committing. This helps me to allocate sufficient time for rest, self-care, and activities that recharge me.
  4. Quality over quantity. Shifting my focus from quantity to quality, as I tend to overdo things.   Now, I strive for depth and mastery in my pursuits rather than aiming for sheer volume. This includes concentrating on developing expertise in specific areas that are meaningful to me.
  5. Learn to say no. I am better at setting boundaries and saying no to tasks or commitments that do not align with my priorities or offer significant returns. I now focus on activities that bring me closer to my goals and values.
  6. Seek support.  I am getting better at surrounding myself with a supportive network of friends, mentors, or coaches who can provide guidance, accountability, and encouragement.

The Law of Diminishing Returns can be a powerful tool in preventing burnout and facilitating personal growth. By understanding that excessive effort may not always yield proportionate benefits, we can optimize our resources, maintain a healthy balance, and foster sustainable growth.

However, it is crucial to strike a balance and remain adaptable, as personal growth is a dynamic process that requires continual self-reflection and adjustment.

Remember, sustainable growth comes not from working harder but from working smarter and with purpose.

Thank you for reading.

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