“Force multiplication” is a term used by the military to define technology or skill that makes a military force more effective. We use force multipliers every day, not just in the military.
Any type of device that makes our work easier and effective is a force multiplier. Common examples are simple machines like wheel and axle, the lever, the inclined plane, the pulley, the screw and the wedge which lets you multiply your force.
Force multipliers have been studied by scientists going all the way back to Archimedes.
Force Multipliers and Personal Optimization
In his book, “The 4-Hour Chef” and elsewhere Tim Ferriss talks about “force multiplier”, as “the highest leverage project”.
It has been recently adopted in the field of ‘personal optimization’. [I first heard it on James Altucher’s podcast with David Bach]. Broadly, any process/ system that aids you achieve success easily, quickly, strongly could be defined as a force multiplier.
Josh Kaufman from Personal MBA explains it.
A hammer is a force multiplier… If you try pounding on a nail with your bare hands. You’ll certainly be able to exert some force, but it won’t be enough to drive the nail into something solid. (Besides, you’ll probably hurt your hand.)
Further he defines it (Force Multipliers) as “… tools that help you amplify your effort to produce more output.”
My 6 Force Multipliers
I could think of 6 of my activities approximating to the definition of a Force Multiplier. These are indeed having the some profound impact in my life.
- Writing. Let the gunk out. A brain dump. Either Morning pages or Freewriting. Personally it has been a life-changer for me. Both Tim Ferriss and Oliver Burkeman recommends strongly. I made a routine out of it.
- 10 ideas. I feel good about it. Writing 10 random ideas on random topics. It’s like a brain exercise. Stole this from James Altucher – says it’s a life changer for him. I fleshed out this article (and few more) out of this.
- Catch-all list. A master list – a single list for everything. Feels comforting that my stuffs are captured somewhere. Whether I take act upon it or not, is secondary. May be my mind feels decluttered – a license to forget tiny things and focus on doing.
- Reading. Never read a fiction; never completed a book, otherwise. I read a lot of blogs, or summaries. May be I’m lazy or I just need the essence of things, sans the drama. Good or bad? Not sure. But I read. A lot. Recently learnt from James Altucher that reading good things before writing, aids writing. I’m reading now more for that purpose, besides information guzzling.
- Renewal. These days I have been strategic about taking breaks. A counter-intuitive strategy. But taking a time to have a cup to tea or coffee or at least for a walk is relaxing and soothing. And in turn becomes a great force multiplier. Read more about this idea at Tony Schwartz’s ‘The Energy Project’.
- Meditation/ exercise, at least simple breathing exercises. Though not consistent, I could feel the effect it has on my body and mind. It brings a sense of internal balance, which makes me take on tasks at hand.
What is Your Force Multiplier(s)?
The most effective tools amplify force in the greatest magnitude. Identify your force multiplier – a personal habit/ routine, or system that helps you magnify your action. Invest in identifying it and developing it.
Choose the best tools that you fits your. Judge it whether it gives you maximum output with a minimum of input.
By developing your set of force multipliers – you free up your time, energy, and attention. You can get done more with the same amount of effort.