Choose Your Own Workweek


The Art of Less Doing


Lesson Info

Choose Your Own Workweek

We're back for choose your own work wit, and this has evolved over time. So it's a little bit of a misnomer, but it's essentially a frying to how you time things. So when I was in college, I came up with this sort of accidentally figured out that I could have all my classes on two days week and I I actually graduated here early, so I had to take seven classes, two semesters in a row and both those semesters. I only had class on tuesday and thursday on dh, I had class from nine to six each day, and it was exhausting, but at least I was sort of in class. Modi had a break in between, and I had a four day weekend every time, so it was great can because of doing that, the last couple of classes that I picked were based on them being available at that particular time slot, but I needed to fill, which is probably why I have an art history minor, so, uh, basically, there are better times to do things and not good times to do things. I've sort of hit that point home. I think these have to do wi...

th everything from it goes well, as I said, it goes way beyond being a morning person and a night person way beyond that once you do all the things that we've been talking about through this entire seminar you start to learn these things about yourself and I can tell you personally that I have found that I don't like making phone calls before eleven o'clock in the morning I'll never scheduled phone call before eleven morning and I don't know why that is but I have become hyper aware of the fact that before eleven o'clock if I'm on the phone I am just not myself where is that they're after that I kind of like wake up and I get happy and nice on the phone I write best at nine o'clock tonight or beyond that sometimes at three in the morning depends on what the day is I do my paperwork friday mornings at ten am thes air things that I have learned work for me and in some cases even if it wasn't specifically the right time maybe I was close and then I sort of adjusted to that and this isn't about keeping a schedule this isn't about having a routine necessarily it really is just sort of thinking out the rhythms of real life and no well brought up a really great point earlier about you know do I do the things when I have high energy it's like for some things yes, but certainly for some things no created things maybe you don't want to be sort of frenetic and like jumping out of your seats to be writing something maybe that's the time when you should be working out uh or maybe that's the time when you need to be doing something where you're a little bit more active in a little bit more surprisingly, working on things that are kind of tedious, like an excel spreadsheet or something people can put higher energy into those things and a lot of way because you could be like a boom boom boom boom done, whereas if you try to apply that to a creative situation, sometimes it just throws you off track. So one of the things that is really important about this because of course everybody could be left to their own devices and like you know, nobody would ever be working on the same schedule although to think that two people or more could work on a nine to five schedule is literally insane and it's probably one of the reasons that people something like forty two percent of work armed people average about forty two percent productivity in a given day. You know, because if your day should be from five in the morning until two o'clock and someone else should be from noon to seven and you guys are working in the same office there's going to be challenges, especially if you work together, so when I talk about using your tools of communication you need to realize that the tools that you use to communicate such as your cell phone and your voice mail and your email and instant messenger those air your tools to communicate with your world they are not I repeat they are not meant to be leashes for the outside world to get a hold of you whenever and however you want it's very important for you to realize that and working it and that doesn't mean that if your boss calls you, you can't answer them because I'm you need teo but thinking about these tools as your tools rather than there restraints is very important. So there's a couple tools I don't talk about that make this more manageable so the first one is called schedule once schedule once is scheduling software basically it will give you a public facing appointment page where people can go and request appointments with you the average number of e mails required to schedule a meeting it's seven because you have to pick a time and a place and that is absurd you should not be sending seventy miles to schedule a meeting basically with something like a schedule once you could make it into one or zero if you put it in your signature so what it does is it gives you this public basing appointment page in my case I think it's meet me de eso slash they are I am myself and someone goes to that and they can see in real time my availability and it sinks with your calendars, things with everything who held our outlook, all those things, and it will show them when you're free when you're busy, it's not going to show them what you're doing when you're busy, but just when you're free and busy. So that means that somebody could go to that page and they can say I want to meet with already on tuesday, whatever, and ari has eleven o'clock eleven thirty and twelve o'clock available, they pick the three times that work for them, and you get an email saying so and so wants to meet with you at this time and you say, okay, and it goes into your calendar and it goes into their calendar and you're done, and you can put that, uh, earl in your signature so that somebody doesn't have to ask you, and if someone wants to schedule a meeting with you from now on, you get to say this oh, sure, that'd be great. Just go ahead and click on the schedule like below and pick any time that works for you. I have had many people respond to me and say, this is so cool, thank you this is great because you're giving them the power to be able to choose the times that that would work best for them and you're taking all the back and forth out of it because you can even clued in their suggested places and a place might be a phone call or a skype but you can suggest places in the making click on those and choose those that they want you can require the number of times they give you so you can say this person has to provide me with three possible choices that work because if they just choose one and that's not really much flexibility, you can say that they can't schedule meeting within twelve hours it has to be more than that and they can't schedule meeting that's longer than an hour and a half you have all those parameters, but the best part about it is that you khun set weekly availability like office hours so my work week that I have chosen is, uh I'm not even sure right now actually it's I think it's monday through thursday from eleven a m to two p m so what that means is that if somebody wants to go schedule a meeting with me, there are on ly going to see availability during those times and if I already have something scheduled in those times it will show it is unavailable but it will also show all of the times around that is unavailable and what you find is that when people go to that they will just assume that you're really, really busy and they will find a time that works even if they can't do it this week that urgent thing that they had to get done they see that you're not available and say okay, fine, I can wait till monday I've had a lot of people tell me in using this they've had this experience I have a friend who's a doctor and he works from home and he would have clients all the time our patients all the time asking him they're calling him at four o'clock afternoon saying I really need to see you can I come in and like seven o'clock and he wants to go home? He wants to be home at seven o'clock with his family doesn't want to be doing that but he's a nice guy, so he would say yes now he just says, oh, I don't know, but go ahead and click the schedule link or go to the schedule and pick something that works and then they go to it and because he's blocked off seven beyond, they think, oh, I guess he's busy, so I'll pick another time and he said every single one of them has ended up sort of pushing themselves into a better time slot so it's kind of amazing you're basically giving them the freedom that they think that they have, which they d'oh but you're also corralling them into the time that works for you, and you may choose it arbitrarily, but you may also say, look, I don't want to be meeting with anybody before noon, and that is your right. Even if you are in a nine to five job at a corporation, I have implemented this with companies who use it within their teams, and teams can decide that we're not going to have a status update meeting before noon. It's just the way it's going to be and you will find a time because really, it shouldn't matter when it happens as long as it happens and everyone can get on the same page, so you can say that anything before noon is off limits and that's great, because then you can use that for family time. You can use that to work out. You can use that for your own creative time, whatever you want to dio knowing that you're not losing opportunities because you can also have multiple calendars and schedule wants, you can have a calendar for people that you need to interview for podcast, you can have a calendar for people that are on your team, you can have a calendar for important clients, whatever my thing, but not only does this take a huge amount of effort off your shoulders. But it also gets things to be the time you want and why is that important? Because what you don't want to have happen is that on a monday, you have a meeting in the afternoon for fifteen minutes, and then tuesday you have a meeting in the morning and then one of the afternoon, and you're constantly sort of moving in and out of these different things, and you don't know what to expect. Your brain actually gets this muscle memory, and if you know that between twelve and three, you are on the clock with meetings or possibly might have beatings that changes things a lot for you, you being in tow to get better at them and you don't dread them as much because you know what you're in for just like me with those with the school schedule yet their side to that when people see that you're such a busy calendar here, like they would probably less likely to cancel on you, knowing that you've got other things coming up because I feel like a valley canceling you or the state of fruits, that's and flakes. So, like a lot of people cancel, I get cancelled on ah lot, so I feel like that would be another benefit. Sit down, that's a very good point because then you shouldn't say that like, okay, sure, they saw how limited your schedule was. So then if they if they canceled and they have to realize that they're not gonna get to see you for another couple weeks absolutely accurate. And if you this is the one case we all say it's okay to kind of think about yourself is being a little bit better than the person who wants to schedule with you because you have to be, you have to protect yourself a little bit, so they are the one who wants to meet with you, right? If you want to be with them, you can use their schedule once, but if they want to meet with you, then they're the ones who have to sort of bridge that gap a little bit, even though you are making this as easy as possible. So I've had this work just so well for so many people, and it works for things that you're scheduling. Phone calls were scheduling meetings or scheduling anything, and because it's cross platform and it sinks that works for teams and it's in real time and worse than always, every platform cross platform, it really works well as implementation implementation for you individually as well as for a team the other one is called boring, yes um, that kind of time about teo your assistant so those virtual system used this service to kind of point on appointment for you something great question. So if using fancy hands and using google calendar, they integrate so they can have actually direct access your calendar and you can tell a fancy as assistant like I don't want to have meetings whatever at this time, however there's no reason why you can't just tell them look, someone wants to move me just use my schedule once calendar absolutely a great way to use it on you can update that information on the fly too you can say like okay, you know, this week I think to change this little are only gonna be available on tuesdays through thursdays or whatever, whatever you want to make it, but at least you kind of know what you're in for and you've brought that control back to you. So boomerang is offers a couple different functionalities the one thing with boomerangs that you have to be in gmail to use it, which I don't have a problem with, but it offers a similar functionality follow ncc, but in that regard I like the fault that cc allows you to be in any platform you want you can be immobile, you can do whatever you need so boomerang is a plug in for gmail and I don't use it for the follow up aspect. What I use it for is the send later function, and I think edwin asked about this before. So what is the worst thing that can happen? An email, communication at all? I mean, I'll tell you, um for forty five on a friday, you get an email, someone asks a question, you right back for forty nine there, right back to you and they're gone. They ruined your weekend happens all the time on whether it's a weekend or the end of the day, it doesn't matter, really, but without being able to have that closure, they have essentially just taken away all the attention. You could have anything you want and have done something pretty nefarious, honestly. So with the scent later function, you can deal with it now, but tell it not to send till monday the boomerang effect of emails in this case can work to your advantage, because you can say, look, I'm done as we talked about before I'm done, I don't have to think about this again, but this person can't get back to me until monday. Or maybe your workweek doesn't start till tuesday because they've chosen that work week, maybe don't haven't come till tuesday, so what I love about this is that and as I've already said, many times, I checked my email a lot, and I checked my email on the weekends, and I checked my email when I'm home, and I love my email, but I can deal with I don't want people writing to me on a sunday, necessarily I don't want them invading me and my space on a sunday, so I can deal with those emails on a sunday I can deal with them on saturday, I can deal with him at three in the morning if I want without the fear that they're going to get back to me on my time. So it may have sounded crazy when I said these are your tools and not restraints, but this is how you can shift the game to make it so that you are the one in control of your time and how you use it the best way. So before we move on the customization, I want change for the corporate mail exchange, maybe, but shouldn't be using extreme, you know, I think that boomerang now does have a plug in for outlook, I think, but I also think that outlook has a built in san later function, which I don't think it works particularly well, and nothing in my outlook looks well, yeah, that's the problem, honestly, is that they don't and you know that I remember a long time ago in the injuries that function and people are like oh, you know you could you do your work and then send it to your boss that like seven o'clock inninety think thatyou stayed late but it's really not the point so no something like this works a lot more fluid there are other things that do this or something called right inbox like like right in box on a number of other plotters allow you some later there's also I think it's called send it later actually but all of them have their little quirks were rumoring seems to work the best and uh it's worthwhile for that a quick one some sam cox wants to know you've mentioned every note and some of these other applications and this person is asking if it's important to have access to these aps all the time is an iphone and must have tool what actual hardware do you rely on to keep all of this in motion hard? What? Well, so I mean gmail is I think I must honestly but that's all hardware uh I try to be his claws cross platform as I can with the stuff and follow the sec ever not all those things do not require any specific device, so I tell you I would say that if you're comfortable using android device use it. I do personally use an iphone, and I think that it really integrates all these things very well, but boomerang does not work on an iphone from rank does have a mobile web version that you can use with g mouth, so it really does come back to gmail. Otherwise I'm pretty much hardware agnostic there's a comment, actually, and a question they're saying I have found I work best on berry task between eight a, m and noon. However, only working these hours is not enough to get my work done that I need teo, they have a one web developer of virtual assistant, and they're looking at a dedicated general virtual assistant, but one who has experience and knowing how to create the manual of me. So how do you recommend that they go about doing that? Well, you might actually be surprised to find that a lot of virtual assistants sort of do this anyway. They will keep track of how you like things done, if you're working with someone is that he hit it, they tend t keep a record of oh, well, when did this? They wanted me to do it this way, so it really depends on the company or using but it's as simple as saying, please document the processes that you go through for me and then you can look at those and work on those clapper the way because again they're going to have a different perspective on the thing you would a ce faras they're not getting enough stuff done in that four hours there's obviously a number of ways to look at that one would be maybe you do need outsource more probably need to automate some stuff but more likely is that you really need to get better at your timing it's great that you know that you work best between eight and twelve but maybe there is another time that one of the tasks or some of the test within that period could be done better so that you can actually pull them out and do them in a different time and then have more time between eight and twelve to focus on the things that you need to get done great thank you and it feels okay so okay with that then we'll move on to customization so we live in eh global economy where we have great access to product from around the world at cheap prices generally speaking relatively cheap prices. The issue is that the thing that is made for everyone is made for no one so there is naturally inefficiencies that will take place when the product is being sort of cookie cutter who he cut into covered um we can cut so basically whether it's personal goods or business services are things there are ways that you can create solutions to problems a lot easier than you might think so. On the personal side, there is things like indo chino, which is a men's custom suit manufacture and honestly, it's the best fitting suits I've ever had in my life. I have a process where you you go through and you measure yourself and it's great, and they're cheap and they're custom made. And why is that efficient? Because I needed an extra pocket for my iphone, and they could put that in for me. Maybe that sounds silly, but it does make it easier to then do things that they need d'oh but that's just one example. There's other clothing cos you could get custom and shoes, custom women's dresses, hats, all sorts of things to be done custom, but even things like you bars. So you bars and we have a couple of these here, and these are actually the creative splint, the creative life splendor bars that someone created which are pretty tasty. So this is a great company. They well, pretty much put anything you can think of in these bars. And why is that helpful? Well, let's, say you're training for an event. And you need something specific let's say you're a diabetic and you need something that is really low by scenic to have in your purse or your pocket in case something happens, you want to have the perfect thing and you want to know what's going into it it's a great thing if you're in a very specific diet, I use these a lot in my process of healing and getting better because I needed to have something that I knew was a go too in case I was in place where I couldn't get food that would match with what I was currently eating so or maybe you just really like to have something that tastes delicious and that's really sweet but that's up to you s o something like that can be done customer, you don't have to buy a factory and create a whole new process for making this stuff they will design it for you and you can even get it named how you want in this case the creative life splendor uh you can o and then vitamins on demand so this is a really cool company again something that I used a lot so vitamins on demand makes these vitamin packs and I don't know if you can probably see but they're broken out by day of the of the weak and then you can break these off because there are perforated custom vitamin packs when I forgot when that companies started, but when I first was looking at this, I actually was in contact with several companies to try to create supplements from scratch, and that is hard, there are companies that will do it, but it's a big process, whereas company like vitamins on demand, the relatively small company, you can actually have a conversation with someone and talk about the different vitamins and supplements that you want. If they don't have it, they would usually get it for you and included in the pack and what's really nice about that is even if you're taking four supplements in my case that there were times when I was taking twelve in a day, it would be really nice to not have to carry bottles everywhere socially, if you're traveling, you know, you could just break off a few days and take that with you. So you have to get in this mindset that something's not working, this isn't working, I don't like this, particularly, I can actually make it better, I can get it done just for me, you know, like, this thing was made just for me, so that's, all fun, and I mean, it was more than fun, it's, very useful to have all these kind of personal things, but this also applies to business stuff about three or four years ago maybe longer I was using a website called rent a matic dot com which doesn't exist anymore so don't write it down and rent a matic was a property management site but I was just using it for the function of tracking rent checks that were coming in for different properties and it was good it was free and it worked really well except there were some flaws one of which was that it on ly allowed you to track monthly rentals and I had a couple tenants who were paying quarterly and one who is paying semi annually so I couldn't put them in the system I couldn't break it up and it just that was an inefficiency but I dealt with it and then a few months into using the service they started charging like a lot it was like fifty dollars a month all the sun from free to that and I said that wasn't worth it for me especially since I was using it for such a limited functionality so I thought I do want this somehow though and I don't know how to program so let me see what I can do so that was one of my first experiences with the lance dot com you may have heard of guru dot com and oh desk those are all great lance is the best in my opinion the lenses the best outsource marketplace for global talent out of mass scale and what's great about the lances that for free you can go on and post the job you want done and it can be anything that can be done remotely and you composed it for free and then people from all around the world will bid on it. You'll have feedback and reviews, they'll have portfolios and then you can hire them and the whole money processes handled to re lance escrow they deal with taxes if you need to deal with that and they can even manage keeping track of the person's work flow with screenshots everything to really, really full feature great website a clear distinction between the difference between a v a and something like a land well so you can actually find eva on the lands so alliance is announced a marketplace where is the virtual assistance cos we've talked about before our companies that hire virtual assistance the lances has company down to two actually as well now but you can pretty much go direct to different people and it is certainly a place where you could find a virtual assistant for the person who asked before about russia you could probably find a russian speaking virtual assistant very easily on the land's not probably you definitely could but uh yes a va can be found on the land so I have hired writers, graphic designers, audio engineers, an architect who's done work for me, through a lance lawyers, the investigative service I mentioned before was found on the lance pretty much if you could dream it up and there and it's remotely done, you can find out any less. So I went on the lands and I supposed to that I want on exact working copy of this service with these two or three improvements, every out with the other ones were, but the one was being ableto have non monthly tenants, so forty nine dollars a month to use the service for one hundred fifteen dollars. And gentlemen in the ukraine programed a perfect working version of the website so good that I could have just put some graphics around, probably charged people to use it. But I didn't do that. S o I got what I need it for, cheaper and and better than I could have gotten it otherwise. That's just one example, but it gets better. This also applies to products. So three years ago, I switched to mac from pc. Uh, which was it was great, actually. And I got theseventy adoration. Mac mini, which is the one that's like, you know, the sandwich. Still to this day there is not a very good wall mount for the second generation mac mini and in my house we liketo wall mount things not only because I think it's better organized but because we also have two small dogs than anything below this height could be peed on so we basically like the wall mount things so I had this idea to make a very simple bracket that was it was one piece that was them doubled and flipped over and it would hold the computer on the wall didn't exist I also had no idea how to manufacture something out of plastic or any other material for that matter and I'm a terrible drawer so I went to one of the coolest websites and outsourcing that exists and that is five dot com five or dot com is a marketplace where people will do things for five dollars let that sink in for a second ranges from the extremely bizarre there is a guy who for five dollars will do a video of him bake skydiving with a cardboard sign with your web site on it he's doing quite well uh there is also a guy who has named kris reddy who has come to a couple of my classes and for five dollars he will call anybody you want as christopher walken he is very, very good and he makes about two thousand dollars a month doing this uh I wish he could have been here because usually when I mentioned that he then stands up and does it which is really cool uh awesome guy but he's on fiber yeah, that would've been fun, but on the more useful side, for instance, there are people who for five dollars I will treat your message to my two hundred seventy five thousand twitter followers for five dollars I will fix any wordpress problem you're having for five dollars I will proof read six hundred or seven hundred fifty words in english for five dollars I will translate uh, two hundred fifty words from english to croatian whatever it might be, people do this for my dollars and on the one side it's you know, because the five dollars might go a lot farther in other countries depending on the exchange rate but also in a lot of those cases they haven't off cell component to it. So you legitimately can get the offering for five dollars but then sometimes it'll say, you know the typical delivery time of six days for another another five dollars you can have it in one day or for ten dollars all transcribed fifteen hundred words instead of seven hundred you know, whatever it might be so they have those at on so there is a reason that these people are doing this and they do end up getting more work out of him so I found a guy in fiber who for five dollars, he said I will take your drawing and make it into a three d model so I drew my bracket idea, which ended up looking like a really bad crowbar because I used a sharpie and it was terrible but he took it and he turned into a three d model justice he said so then I went teo another really cool site which called shapeways dot com and shapeways allows you to upload a three d model and do on demand three d printing. So you uploaded three model and you can print anything you want in class metal, plastic fabric, cork pretty much anything you can think of and they charge you by the, uh by the weight of it. So I uploaded teo shapeways, and about two weeks later I got in clear acrylic my perfectly designed one of a kind bracket that fit very well and was and fit perfectly on the mac mini and I was very happy with that and it sort of the needy I wanted. However, what I didn't realise was that if you make something on shapeways, you can immediately turn around and use their built in e commerce platform to sell the thing that you uploaded, and I didn't know that eight people bought the bracket that I had made so they do a cost plus thing automatically. So I actually made money without even realizing it. And then I put on a kickstarter campaign, but it didn't actually go forward. So I'm glad, because I don't want to be in the manufacturing business. However, it was kind of an interesting ride for spending basically fifteen dollars, in terms of material and the design to get exactly what. Even in the end, I actually made it made money from it.

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.


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.