With decisions, we must be efficient. There isn’t time to rationally evaluate them all.

So before committing to doing something, we instantaneously estimate the likely reward against the time and effort it will take. If the reward doesn’t overwhelm the effort, it doesn’t get done.

The implications are simple and unavoidable – if companies want our attention, they need to make the left-hand side of the equation less effortful, or the right-hand side more rewarding. Preferably both.

We call this the effort equation.