Feeling Overwhelmed? You Need an MVD—That’s Minimum Viable Day

Preserve your well-being, avoid burnout, and eat a cake

Rebecca Pendleton
Published in
7 min readMay 27, 2021


Illustration: Storytale.io

I’m a product director at a corporate financial tech company. Which means I bloody love a TLA (three-letter acronym). Yes, I know the fact that I wrote an acronym about an acronym is lame. I am lame.

One concept that’s thrown around regularly is the MVP, or minimum viable product. The term originates from The Lean Startup by Eric Ries, who describes an MVP as “[the] version of a new product which allows a team to collect the maximum amount of validated learning about customers with the least effort.”

The whole point of an MVP is to get something very basic out there to prove the business model, test key hypotheses, and gather data so you can iterate your product development based on facts, rather than theory.

A good MVP is quick, simple to implement, and contains the minimum feature set to be usable and deliver some value to the customer.

It should not be lofty, effortful, and costly. Priority is on shipping over perfection: getting your product out there to start gaining traction and learning from reality, not just theory.

“So, what’s this got to do with me and my increasingly stressful work life, constant feeling of languishing, and impending burnout?” I hear you ask. Good question, my smart reader.

Well, what if you could apply the “minimum viable” concept to other things in life, not just product development in business? Like, your actual day?

Welcome to the concept of the minimum viable day.

The idea for this came about on a morning when I woke up and felt crushing anxiety. Come on, peeps, you know what I’m on about here. Tight chest, sense of impending doom, a million racing thoughts. An “oh god, I wish I didn’t have to work today” kind of day.

These kind of days can come out of nowhere, but they are usually linked to:

  • A little bit of overwork here.
  • A little bit of neglecting self-care over there.
  • A pinch of pressure from colleagues.
  • A smidge of the inner critic sprinkled on top.



Rebecca Pendleton
Writer for

Product Manager & Aspiring Writer / Coach. I love self-development, service design & stationery. Sober but not preachy.