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The Art of Less Doing

Lesson 12 of 19

Automating Tasks and Demand Labor

Ari Meisel

The Art of Less Doing

Ari Meisel

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Lesson Info

12. Automating Tasks and Demand Labor

Lesson Info

Automating Tasks and Demand Labor

Ebay now and postmates are similar too taskrabbit but they're more about deliveries so where even now has partnerships with all sorts of big companies they work with toys r us I think and gnc and kmart those kinds of companies but what they do which is really cool is that anything that's in the inventory of those various companies you can get it delivered within an hour for five dollars so again this is something that's really powerful because you could very easily psych yourself out and say that you're just being lazy but the truth is what could you do with that hour it's always funny when they say that they can deliver an hour because it quits a clear cut amount of time on it. All right, so what could you do with that hour? Even if it's just reading or just relaxing you're probably making better use that time then you would be if you went to get it yourself. I think that I can give you a great example of this actually my husband and I used ebay now and it is amazing this is this scen...

ario he has a presentation we ran out of ink neither one of us has time to go and get it. We had ebay now set up, the ink was on its way while some edits were being made and ban the ink came he made the thing on time it was awesome. Yeah. That's so that's huge and that's it's a good point. Is that it without, like, shining a light on something it's too obvious while you're doing one thing, something else could be being done on your behalf. Okay, so everyone is sort of take a note of that. This is about as effectively about as close as you can get to sort of doubling himself as you're ever gonna find yesterday. I have actually been one of the beta testers for google shopping express, which is another version of this lucky enough to live in the bay area for that. But what's also cool. It's. Just before labor day weekend, this great email came up and says, hey, getting ready for labor day weekend here's a list of items you might need, like firewood and, you know, jugs of water to get ready for a camping trip and it's like it almost made my shopping list for me. It's like it knew I was going camping. And that was incredibly convenient, too, because, you know, you would waste a lot of time working on the story going on. I forgot marshmallows, you know, right now and it's a really good point. As I keep saying, you know when you're interacting with these different people and you're interacting in virtual systems and these other people have different skill sets they're going to know things that you don't know it's just that simple whether it's a method for doing things or things that might go together that you might need it like oh what you bought this but did you know that it needs this so it's almost like think having a team of advisers in addition it's not just simply a point a to point b kind of service and in the last one on this list that I want to mention his postmates which is I think one of the newer ones of the game and postmates is more about delivery from anywhere and one of the things they think that they started with really was delivery of food from restaurants that don't deliver food so if you really want that stake from the palm for instance like they don't know is the palm out here uh I think it is uh some steak house something that doesn't deliver food they can kind of pick it up for you and do it very quickly and when we were talking yesterday about the limits of virtual assistance and what they can and can't do one of the things that fancy hands sort of prides himself on one of things that they talk about is you know, they say that we're not going to do your presentation for you, but we'll get lunch, you know? So they'll do all the accoutrements they'll do all the stuff that you just don't need to be thinking about and these are examples of those things that it's almost goes without saying like it doesn't require any justification these were things that you don't need to be spending time on and don't you be thinking about cheeseburger and paradise is having a hard time with this one they say some of this stuff I thing people should do it's like outsourcing directions or maps to gps the people are losing skills as a result important skills but how important really is it do you think I mean well, so if this skill is I actually would make a difference because I think that every experience you have with someone like this and a task rabbit or even a plumber coming into your house is an educational experience and we serve toe learn from all of those things and there's of course there's situations where you can learn by doing but the problem is that if anyone in this room I would guess and myself included if I were to go toe to well I do do my grocery shopping but if I were to go shopping for something else I would be on my phone in the store talking to somebody else that might be chasing out for my son I'm not going to be focusing, I'm not going to be in the moment, basically on that ability to effectively move to the grocery store, and I think someone mentioned that too, about, like, just sort of walking around the store, right? That would be me, I would walk around six or seven times because I would be thinking about other things that I'd be completely distracted, so my placing too much importance on the ability to effectively shop yes or no, maybe it's kind of up to you to decide, but the learning experience isn't necessarily from doing it it's probably more from experiencing it through someone else, doing it better and actually there's some other people that air hopping in jeff and run to grew, you know, they're saying that a lot of the services that you're mentioning really are not highly skilled services doesn't require really a skill necessarily, but it does require your time that's what we're trying to get back, right? Exactly. So, you know, whether you're trading dollars for hours or that kind of expression, as I said, a lot of the people who do these things really want to do them, they're enjoying doing it, they they like, sort of that that different in their day, every time they're going to do something for someone did friend it's usually a different kind of task so if you wanted to do that you probably would be doing that and you'd be thriving on that but that's not what asar as I know anyone here has chosen to do so why not take it as that and you also have to keep in line that the economy is in a weird place right how everyone is in a weird place as faras the financial world goes and there is something to be said for providing the work for somebody who wants to do it as far as I'm concerned and there is that idea too that there is a greater good if you can focus on the things that you would get out and they can focus on things that they want to do and have chosen to do I see some potential here for connect using some of these services to connect other services so one of my biggest errands that waste a lot of time for me is taking my car in first oil change in maintenance so it would be wonderful to have a taskrabbit come pick up my car drop it off at the dealer and then return it to me when it's done right so that's actually on excellent use that something it comes up very often I personally have done that and I have also I think last year at some point I bought a groupon for a car detailing and didn't realize that it was like twenty miles away from where I lived, so I had a task rabbit come and get my car, take it to be done and then bring it back to me and the whole thing and that of being less than the cost of the discounted group on item would have been so that worked out very well for me and yes, that's that's an absolutely perfect one, because so many people actually so funny, I just have my oil chance this week, and I was like two thousand miles over teo uh, it's one of those things that just hassles of people and there's things that can just be done automatically and to that point about connecting other services. Zap yer has a taskrabbit channel, so one of the things that I've seen people do is that if they close a project in sales force, it issues a task for a taskrabbit to hand deliver a gift basket to that client very simple. Yes, one thing that I didn't see. Anya, listen, it's, what takes up most of my time is that I'm at the post office often they actually know my name when they all wave at me because I'm there almost every day on dso there now. I'm investigating the other services where you can just print all of your shipping online and you just have to find a box big enough, teo a post box big enough to take your boxes because it's christmas season and it's crazy sure so actually that's a good one too, and I have seen that if you're not at the point where you're ready to be using like a drop ship fulfillment center, then it's an amazing thing and this is what I was talking about by the way about taking it a step further with something like a taskrabbit so you don't have to box it up, wrap it up and have everything ready to go for a task I would to take to the post office simply to getyou postage you can have loose items until say that you need to tell her to come wrapped things up, box them appropriately put gift wrapping on it whatever you want and then also take it through the post office to get it done so in a way they can become, you're sort of on demand fulfillment people, so you really should try to think of that step further and by the way, there is a dialogue that happens with something like taskrabbit where they can ask questions about the task, so if something doesn't seem right or they don't understand something or it's sort of like a community at large they'll do that so if you ask for something that a taskrabbit simply can't do someone will say that and it's free to post the task there's no reason not to try it I have had uh a taskrabbit four times in the city and your city return a busted cable box to time warner and get me a new one and if anybody ever had an experience with time warner you understand it that's something happens a lot I actually somebody retweeted something that I wrote a few weeks ago they retreated it today and I said that I was so excited to cancel my time warner service that I didn't even outsource it uh, anything coming in we have a question from sis rmx who wants to know some examples of services that you've opted to hire directly as opposed to virtually or through a website like the ones you're mentioning and says that yesterday you talked about for interviews you decided to focus only on doing the interview why do you choose to do those tasks that you select? Yeah well, so the interview one is is clear cut for me because I'm the only person who could be on the call with the person doing the interview right? So I'm the one who will be asking the questions unless I wanted to hire j k or something to do my interview for me then I would be the one who's asking the questions and having interaction and everything else really could be done by someone else, but as far as the services go there, fortunately, there are so many marketplaces in so many ways that you can sort of take a pinch point and then stand it out to offer it it to so many people have access to so many people that there are at this point I would say pretty much no examples where I would go directly to a company and the issue with that I think people might say is what about like loyalty for instance because if you're not having that continuity, they don't get to know you maybe the business suffers because you're not always going to the same person, but the truth is that the market place that we are in right now almost requires that fluid ity and if you are really good, then you're going to come out on top and as I said with fancy hands yesterday, I see a lot of the same assistance doing tasks for me, so either I don't know exactly on the back and how their system works, but a lot of them seem to pick up the task that I do on a regular basis and the friday post a ce faras I've seen seems to be done by the same person almost every time so in a way, the loyalty and that directness shifts so it becomes my going to use taskrabbit or I'm gonna use postmates say on that level another one that I want to mention that's not on this list, actually, especially in regards to what you were just talking about there's a company called do you ship dot com in the letter you that is not on the resource less. So if you guys want to write that down it's the letter, you ship dot com this was an interesting one for me. This happened actually, seven years ago, six years ago. This is an older company and it's, a marketplace for direct consumer to company shipping of pretty much larger items. Basically. So what have on there? They have a lot of trucking companies who will have empty legs or people with big moving trucks or things like that, but essentially it's the uber of moving stuff, big stuff, basically so it's people with empty lights and the and the ability to do that I needed to move. This is a construction related project, but I needed to move eighty thousand pounds of cobblestones. If I asked any of you right now. Would you know who to go to to get that time? I certainly didn't. So you go to you shit dot com and very similar to lead a lot of these other services, you can place it ah, a proposal of what you need done, and then people from around the country and with their own companies, they're own trucks, bigger organizations will bid on it, and they have their own feedback and rating, and I was amazed to find out this existed, but what's cool about it. So that was obviously an interesting use case for me eighty thousand pounds of cobblestones, which probably none of you will ever experience. But maybe you need to move a car across country, my brother in law just how to do that. Maybe you need to move a piano across town, you know, and you don't know, piano mover, and this is actually a competitive marketplace that provides a level of vetting foryou and provides that sort of intermediary so you can gain that loyalty and trust with one spot that then access your agent in on behalf that's what we're really doing, a lot of cases were having sort of an intermediary that knows better than we do. The president has a cabinet of very smart people that help him make decisions. You can have that, too. You can have people that know how to research better know how to shift things better know how to talk to certain people better and know how to compile information a better way than you do. It's really about being super power in that way and so it's not just about reclaiming that time it really is about doing these things better absolutely absolutely actually this is so funny. I just got an email from insta card, which is the san francisco's grocery delivery service they saying your stuff has been delivered? Yeah use that I do yeah, I mean unfortunate enough where I live in a building where we have a concierge that can actually accept the order, so that even makes it even better unless it's perishable again, we when using this kind of stuff you figure out like the work around is a new time things and you just get to know the little nuances of what works, what doesn't work it's, just a matter of practice. Well, can I ask you that question? Is it something that you do once a week or do you have you created a rhythm and how you choose when you're going tohave groceries done? Is it by the meal? How I'm actually trying to figure it out? The holidays really inspired may have had a lot of guests in town a busy like getting the whole place ready for them to come and I just simply run out of time, so I have some things that I need to stock my refrigerator with, you know, just essentials and special stuff tio on what's cool is that I can just have it stocked, and I didn't have to go anywhere, so incorporating it into my rhythm of my week and as a daily, weekly thing, I'm still moving in that direction, but I have definitely found it to be a solution for the stocking when I'm just too busy to do other things so that's great. Thank you for sharing way have what I think is a fair question in the chat room from susan, which is what if you don't have extra money in your budget to hire any of these services? So okay, susan, that is an excellent point to bring up if you really want to stop and think about and have, like, a cost benefit analysis. So what your time is worth versus what it's worth to have someone else do it so you can focus, you can do that, and you can probably figure out that in the time that you would be saving and using in a better way, it should be pretty easy to see that you, khun maybe even make money in that situation, but certainly make up for the money that you're spending on it with a case like amazon subscribe and save you are saving money, I want to make that very clear you get a discount. Off of the already low amazon prices just for signing up for that subscription, which you can cancel it any time. So it's hardly a subscription anyway, so I try to be very aware of that stuff and recommend things that are really play field leveling, playing field leveling because you can use something like amazons described and say for a lot of the non perishables and see that benefit of how much time you say by maybe not having to go to the grocery store one of those times or three of those times, and then you can start to see the benefit of using most artists is that maybe you have to pay a little bit for great. So basically, in this session, we've talked about how to stop running errands because erin's are not efficient, they're not a good use of your time, it's not the kind of thing that you really can optimize. As far as I'm concerned, you can automate it and you can outsource it. This is one of the few times when it's okay to skip over optimizing because the optimization almost happens on the back end. In this case, you're going to that central point, they handle that aspect for you in the next session, we're going to be talking about matching a cz well as organization, so we're going to talking about how you can put together similar task one of them might be planning your groceries for the weak or meal planning how you can do those things and greets the group been a boy that shifting back and forth between various tasks so that you can actually stay focused and get things done and then the organization we're going to be talking about how you can set limits and work backwards from those to create a more organized and effective life. How are you guys doing over here? Is students any lightbulbs going off any questions that you might have kelly say taskrabbit? I hadn't heard of that and it sounds like a solution that I could use I spent I don't know four hours trying toe mail something ship something packed something right going around the different stores to get supplies so that it would ship safely so and then also I live down in the financial district parking is a mess if you have to drive across town and at the circle the block and if I could have somebody else like go get my cat food from the vet and things that are like oh, I have to you have to do it but absolutely and by the way you can hire a taskrabbit to drive you around by the way that is something that people do theirs over of course, but you can actually hire taskrabbit to be your sort of chauffeur for the next couple hours, wherever you need them today, a lot of them are most them, I would say, have licenses and could do those things and instantly, since we do have a lot of photographers watching this and are part of this and a lot of creatives in general, a lot of these tasks I was have those skills you might need to have, like a lighting assistant or someone to be carrying your gear for you. They really do. So it's it's something to consider and there's no harm in putting it up there and seeing what you get back totally hire attached out of my face. Yes, actually cleaning is one of the categories that they put right on it, and it was on screen shot. Uh, but no it's not, but they do absolutely cleaning, and I've heard a lot of people say that the taskrabbit did a better job cleaning than any made that they had ever had so much for what it is. But on that again is a good example because you can say like I need someone did not only go go by the the cleaning supplies, I don't have any, but then I need them to come over and actually clean and do whatever else you need them to do have you found a place that does, um, prescriptions like the only reason I have to go to target is to pick up a prescription from the pharmacy so I know that you're probably awful here and I know that you could vitamin sound your father medication did you ever find anything that delivers we'll taskrabbit would be what I would have actually just say that honestly, on and in most major cities, and I think they actually do a fixed rate for short term deliveries, so I would either task number that I don't know postmates will do that, but taskrabbit certainly can do that and pick up whatever else you need while their target as well. Ok, so what about, like if you have to show I d oh, it always asked like your address, so are some sort of right, so it depends on the pharmacy, but I've had that happen to know where either the performance he can call you for authorization or you can email the taskrabbit, your driver's license and a letter saying this person's also, I speak it up, I've seen that happen too many times I actually so here's a good example of that relating to security, one of our twins that we had seven months ago, the social security card was messed up, basically, they gave both of my twins the same middle name, which was not accurate on dh the government shutdown did not help in terms of getting to a social carrie office to get that fixed, so I just now seven months later finally got the card corrected and I had a taskrabbit go with all my documents and that's a good point too, so you could mail in the documents to the social committee office, but one of the documents I had a melon was an original birth certificate and my passport and I didn't feel comfortable doing that and if you win in they would give it back to you that give you the document, so I had a task I pick it up, take it to the social security office and file it and then bring back the documents. I've also had task rabbits file small claims court things like that, so most organizations like that have a way that you can authorise someone else to do it your half um, I was I know you're going to talk about wellness later on, but I think that that is also I get the farm fresh to you box and it's great to be able teo provide for local farmers or, you know, there's a lot of social good, they're seasonal eating and a lot of wellness opportunity that kind of almost forces you to stay on track with that as well, which I really love as well, yes, absolutely uh there was an impression because I want to know about one of the stars too but there's another question I think mark just was cat's crap it's like a big thing in the bay area in san francisco and lick it up tech people especially really you know, like people try to get ben and jerry's ice cream in the morning to pick it up for them making cake for them really weird I was just curious two things about that wee d'oh they bet people they do background checks on the security level of it it's pretty in depth I guess yeah and actually what you get is a task I was having number rating from one to twenty two I think so one would be like a brand new task rabbit and twenty two I've only met one twenty two ever kind of funny put that way his name is chad and he's in new york city but they have so there's continuity there is history and there's a lot of feedback and payments are handled through taskrabbit so if they buy something for you they buy it and then they get reimbursed through taskrabbit on your credit card so that stuff doesn't get shared on then there's there's like a dashboard that keeps all the messages together so it's it's really been good? I mean I've had them drive cars for me I've had time to social security stuff for me taking your passport? Bring it back. That's. Exactly. The second aspect of that is like, I'm you know, out of my house a lot of money to go it's on just how is it coordinating this? Like, if you want, like, your dry cleaning taking out brought back, um, having them show up at your house when you're there, that sort of thing, especially especially here of the anonymous suburban atmosphere, if you're in the city with the gate, well, that's, right, right. So, I mean, you you end up getting in direct contact with the taskrabbit, you have their cellphone number usually, and they'll have yours, and you can text back and forth with that social security one because of that government shutdown, the taskrabbit actually had my passport for three weeks at home. Andi, I was okay with that. And, you know, she was I knew where she was. She was in constant communication with me. But she said I could bring it back or I'll just wait till they open again and she did. And so there will work with you. And you do the same thing you do if your meeting's nearly thelma bell between eleven and two on these days, so I'll be home right now, like you would be like it depends on what needs to be done, but yeah, and because they have to do other things anyway, I mean, you're not going to find a taskrabbit he's just just doing your task today so a lot of them off end of happiness, you know, that's okay, I'll go do this other thing I had to do and I'll come back or come back tomorrow if you need it really depends on what it is dry cleaning is a good example, actually, of things that they can pick up and they will hold things for you if you really need them too. And you can also say that in the task like, look, I'm gonna need this to be picked up and I needed to be picked up today, but I'm not available till tomorrow and you know, someone who's comfortable that will do that you can also find people have their own vehicles if you need something, moves or whatever the requirement is. So for maybe, for example, I taking making the taskrabbit you grocery shopping so how does the petition what do you get them? Do you meet up with them first and give them the money in cash or like, do you have, like, a p paid amount and say so when you issue the task, you will say what the estimated expenses are over which is just an estimate and that's so that the task of bidding on it knows whether or not they're comfortable spending that money because they buy it with their credit card their cash flow they want and then taskrabbit charges you to reimburse them oh sure it's very very secure but no you don't have to require that I've had one situation where it was something for my key and it was like five hundred dollars on the taskrabbit asked me if it was okay if they got the money first and they had such good ratings everything that I was okay with that because it was a large amount mentioned one more service so kitchen surfing is one and I know that there's a couple of hours there somewhere but kitchen surfing allows you to hire personal chefs and it seems like such a luxury thing but I have had such such amazing experiences with this so once again it works like any lance you post the thing that you need done and in various personal various chefs and it could be a professional steps in a restaurant work on the side there could be people who teach at a cooking school and they do this stuff on the side or they could be someone who doesn't full time and they will bid on it and they'll give you the whole menu and the pricing and everything that you need done their kitchens everything so you can use this for special events I've used this for my wife had her friends put on a baby shower for her and we had a chef come and prepare a pregnant woman friendly meal for everybody and I'm doing a one day retreat for less doing later in december and I'm gonna have a chef come to that prepare a very healthy go on, then talk about it with everybody, but people also use this for meal prep and drop off so you can have someone, for instance, where you say, I want you to make lunch for me for the whole week and drop it off, you know, in in pre measured containers, so you actually can't have that ability and the pricing is kind of amazing the way it works out. I've had several of the meals work out to be like seventeen dollars a person for a custom home made well, pretty much homemade meal and a lot of them they can come and cook in your kitchen if you don't have a kitchen like that, they can cook in their kitchen and bring it to you. You can set all those parameters, so this is a perfect example of something that you probably don't have the time for and may not have the skill set to do, and you certainly can learn something about how particular foods could be prepared and if you have them, do a meal, drop off where they're doing one meal for five days. And maybe you have one little thing that you changed. You say it's, a learning experience and promise you in terms of how to be more efficient with your food.

Class Description

Get ready to learn a proven way to optimize your productivity. 

In this course, achievement and efficiency expert Ari Meisel explains a systematic way for accomplishing the things you need to do so you can open up more time for the things you want to do. You’ll learn to optimize, automate, and outsource both personal and professional tasks. 

Ari will help you identify which tasks are monopolizing your time and help you build strategies to make those tasks less time-consuming. Ari will also cover simple strategies for getting through everyday responsibilities like errands and paperwork more quickly and efficiently. You’ll also learn about applying the same level of efficient prioritization to your personal life, including how to approach health and fitness in a more streamlined way.

By the end of this course, you’ll be on your way to an easier, organized, balanced way of living.

Class Materials

bonus material with purchase

Optimize Automate and Outsource Everything.pdf

bonus material with enrollment

Book Excerpt.pdf


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WOW - I only watched the intro video (about 1/2hr in length), and already I'm completely blown away ... I'm definitely buying this course! Already a huge fan of Evernote, (lol - stone tablet!) but the other websites also seem very useful. And if it's a matter of the best parts of the movie are all in trailer - I will be back to let you know!

Amy Cantrell

Lots of great info! I love the concept of getting ideas out of your head, leaving your mind open to new ideas, and using Evernote to keep ideas and notes organized. The email tips alone could be worth the price of the class. Creating your own work week, tackling difficult tasks when you are at your best, making smart use of your time, progress begets progress, all good stuff!

Gina Bégin

I've already recommended this course to a number of people and followed up with Ari's team to go even further — though, sincerely, there is so much incredible depth in this course that if you're just starting out or in the midst of optimizing your workflow and cleaning up your "plate" of tasks, you will be blown away. He discusses great ways to use automation (IFTTT, Zapier) and how to make better use of Evernote, tricks to ... well, pretty much increase productivity in every aspect of life from health to work. I research this stuff all the time, but had no idea there was so much more out there. Well done, Ari.