Skip to main content

money & life

The Art of Less Doing

Lesson 1 of 19

Self Tracking & the Manual of You

Ari Meisel

The Art of Less Doing

Ari Meisel

buy this class


Sale Ends Soon!

starting under


Unlock this classplus 2000+ more >

Lesson Info

1. Self Tracking & the Manual of You

Lesson Info

Self Tracking & the Manual of You

Welcome to the art of less doing I'm alright myself thank you all for being here. Thank you everyone for watching live throughout the world. This is very humbling experience for me, and I'm just really excited to be sharing this information with you if I look like I'm smiling a little more than I should be a just cause I can't contain myself. So you were already asked, what is your biggest product of your greatest productivity challenge? Not something that I want you to sort of keep in mind as we go throughout this seminar because the challenge is to productivity that different people face can come from any walk of life it can be because you simply don't have the time because it's a matter of money because you have a health problem because you have a family and you have responsibilities, all sorts of things affect your productivity so it's just something to keep in line. So there are two very important things that you get out right away. The first one is that you have to interrupt may ...

I? This is I'm not normally using a power point presentation, so I don't normally have a specific flow to it, but even though we are, I want you to interrupt me if you have a question, something doesn't make sense, or you just think I'm crazy, please don't wait till the end, raise your hand and asked a question that goes for everybody out there on the internet as well with the chat rooms, you can ask the questions that you want to ask so then the other thing to keep in mind throughout this is a sort of overarching principle that I have for dealing with any productivity challenge, any health problem, any any challenge, really, and that is to optimize, automate and outsource. Now we'll be talking about all those three all three of those things throughout this seminar and outsourcing is obviously a big thing virtual assistance and whatnot, but if you outsource an inefficient task, it doesn't make it more efficient, and eventually that canal will back up, so you have to optimize first. And what does that really mean? It means taking a really hard look at what the issue is and breaking it down to its most bite sized choice to the bare bones, cutting all the fat and billy optimizing the second thing is to automate and when we're automating it's of the mindset of set it and forget it so things that we can put in place, whether it's software or people or different processes where they just happened, we don't have to think about it, and then the third part, if there's, anything left over, is outsourcing and that's when we look att sending things to specialists or generalised to completely get them off our place. So keep that that's sort of framework in mind that optimized automate outsourcing in that order. So a lot of you talked about having too much clutter and not being able to focus it's just too much going on. So the first thing I want to tell everyone is that you're being too hard on yourselves. You should not be expected to be able to handle all the things that happen in life nowadays, we have not evolved as quickly as technology has its just not reasonable to think that you could possibly keep up with all of the responsibilities you have, whether it's who you have to talk to the things you have to read, the people have to call the work you have to do so that's the first time. So I like to sort of start with asking this question and it's early here. So this might be a little funny, but for those around the world very quickly, hopefully you want to think about this. Try to answer this question, which is what? Did you have breakfast this morning? All of you had breakfast about a half an hour ago, but when I usually do these seminars there's one or two people who don't remember which I was kind of funny but most of you should be able to answer that question. Now try this question. How many e mails did you send last tuesday? Probably none of you can answer that question unless it was zero for some reason, because you were on a silent retreat. So all of you probably sent e mails last year's all ofyou probably slept and ate and walked and talked to people and did all sorts of things that you are completely unaware of because there's just too much information going on in our lives. And you may be asking, why is that relevant? Well, I'll show you, but the truth is, it doesn't matter if it's relevant or not, because we can find these things out and by finding them out that's when we can start toe that whole process of optimizing. So there are nine fundamentals to the art of limestone, and we're going to going through, uh, about half of them today, and the first one is the eighty twenty role, so the eighty twenty role is one hundred seven year old economic principle. It's obviously not my creation. Uh, italian economists noticed that twenty percent of the peapod in his garden were producing eighty percent of the peace and turn that into an entire principle of resource allocation, so on a more realistic level basically you could say that eighty percent of your income might come from twenty percent of your projects. Conversely, eighty percent of ur complaints might come from twenty percent of our clients hopefully not I actually use eighty twenty in a different way and you're going to see throughout this that there may be concepts that you initially think you're familiar with and then you'll see that I kind of turned them on their heads. So for me, eighty twenty is a reminder to constantly be self tracking everything we do nowadays can be tracked and not in the big brother sense in the quantified self sense. So whether it's the number of e mails you send or things like tracking visual activity there's a program called rescue time very basic programme but it'll sit on your computer and it'll just run in the background and it'll see how you're using your computer resource is so after a week or so you can see that you've spent several hours on facebook or sell flowers on excel or that you get the majority of our e mails between eleven thirty in the morning and one o'clock in the afternoon we can start to use that data two more effectively plan our days for instance because if you're getting eighty percent of the females in a two hour period the day there's no reason for you to be checking email all day for instance, you can also learn that tuesday might be your most productive day for one reason or another, so those things were sitting back and and they run. So even if you didn't find out anything about them it's almost not important because you don't know if it's going to be relevant or not. I am not a data scientist, although I've certainly use data to help overcome the illness that I had, and my daily activity is all about data, but I'm not a data scientist, however, I feel that if you collect enough data, something will pop basically and you'll be able to act on it. We contract physical activity, whether it's the fitbit which so many people familiar with or a with things connected body scale, or ifo naps like thrive that will tell you about your meals and how they're making you feel. Incidentally, there's tons of food tracking app thrive with a y is a really great one, because what it does is you take a picture of food to describe it. But then a little while later, I'll ask you how you're feeling so you can actually start to bring that self awareness back and have a little bit of sense of cause and effect so that's a really important thing is that awareness with all this stuff going on you could say ok, it's stress balls are willing, but the truth is, is that what it leads to is a lack of self awareness, and that's really where the problems start, because if you don't know what's causing things, or what's improving things it's really hard and it's really it's really hard to improve that, but it's really easy, tio just sort of throw your hands up and saying, well, there's, just too much going on. So there's a program, a service that I love called I done this, and I done this is very simple. It sends an e mail at the end of the day, around six o'clock or so. And it says what you have done today, not how you feeling or what you're eating. You know, what did you get done today? And you respond to the email? Pretty simple takes about thirty seconds it's so essential in my opinion to a productive day and what it does that's so genius is that after about a week or so of using it, that email starts to change and the email will come in and it'll say, what'd you get done today? Oh, and by the way, this is what you did yesterday. It'll show your interests and then the more you use it will start to say things like oh, and this is what you did three months ago the day was this or this is what you did one year ago the day was this we have this tendency is humans to focus on the negative it's really easy to get through a day where you've been working nonstop and just think I didn't get anything done today this changes the game basically if you can see where you yes no one of my biggest productivity problems that I didn't think about it until I start you know, sitting here thinking about it I'm not too sure if I feel like my days productive, you know, but then it's like sometimes I question myself ok, did I really get that much done? So I think that is really going to help me if I get that email and I can sit down and say, okay, this is what I did yes so it's huge not only for that, but also in seeing where you've done things before so it actually consort of trigger you to remember like, oh yeah, not only did I it was like I finished a project today, but you only worked on it for half an hour so you don't feel like you did much, but then you get the reminder that you actually started that project three weeks ago, and now you finally finished it's great, and a additional point is this really can end your day with a nice little bow, like great instead of doing that to do list and thinking about all the things I have to do at the end of the day, we're gonna get ready. We can do that earlier in the day and then in the day with feeling a sense of accomplishment, being nice, much nicer, more pleasant way to end today. Well, and and maybe some of you have heard about a gratitude journal. Oh, are the power of god it's kind of funny, actually, it sounds very sort of wishy washy, but everybody from meditation gurus and and yogis to mark divine of steel fit say that gratis, expressing gratitude and reminding herself of the things that you've, whether you're thankful for them or you just are happy that you got them done it's so important to have that psychological unload at the end of the day that you'll see the benefits from it kind of immediately. Another thing that it does is it actually creates. If you go to the website once you've used it, awhile creates a word cloud a personal word cloud so you can start to see the words that come up very often. In your responses and I've actually had a few clients figure out new careers because they happen to have all these words just coming up that they hadn't even thought about but it was happening in their daily lives so it's it's a it's a simple thing but it really is very, very powerful so about I've done this doesn't have like a mature system that you always just like a bog entry or so you just respond to the email but then I actually if you go to the website they have a calendar on you so you can see entries that you've made but also when they bring back the things you've accomplished before it's not random it actually they have an algorithm working that sort of brings things back that are relevant and I don't know how they do it but it's pretty amazing so uh it also works in teams so if you actually have a small work team or uh you know, start up whatever you can actually share amongst each other what you've got done that day which actually is pretty interesting as well I've been using it for about a month I didn't realize that it didn't pay attention to the immense I should look at what I got last week and last month by the word plan is pretty need and it has an impact graff tas well yes so it's also there is the idea of sort of saying consistent you know so if you get that email and it's like you you know this is your sixteen hundred injury you know, I think I have my sixteen hundred and thirty seven venture the other day like that's pretty cool I have missed today and, um what? Several years now it's pretty cool. So it's just like one basic step starting to bring back that awareness all of this stuff begins to do that because we just get more and more information that we didn't have previously and what that does is very important skill is it allows you to start should begin to determine the difference between the essential and the optional this is very important especially for all of you who say you're overwhelmed and there's just too much coming at you. A lot of people have trouble saying no and a lot of people who just I have trouble differentiating what they have to dio on what they want to do because it's all ends up being noise so the essential is pretty straight forward it's the stuff that you have to do is the stuff you have to read you have to talk to this person you have to call back that person you have to do these things and see essential the optional is not junk it's not the garbage is the things that you want to do but only if you have the time and the key is to be able to separate those things as effectively as possible so that the optional stuff that you want to dio that's nagging at you doesn't get in the way of the stuff that you really have to do. And and quite honestly, if you end up at the end of the day and you don't have time to do the optional, then you realize that that's actually okay, because it didn't have to get done a good example of this is e mail. I'm gonna talk about e mail a little bit in a later segment, but you don't need folders in your email there's actually been a lot of studies that show that you don't need multiple multiple folders. You, in my opinion, needs one more to the inbox and the optional holder, and this is a very, very basic thing, but most email services offer filtering nowadays, gmail is my personal preference, but most of them offer some sort of automatic filtering. If an email has the word unsubscribe in it, it should be automatically put into an optional holder. I don't care if it's a forward from your mother or your boss. If it has the word unsubscribe, it is most likely not an essential thing for part of your day and again, it's, not junk. You can go look at that optional holder at the end of the day, but the point is that while you may get four hundred emails in a day, hopefully, you know, a couple hundred then will automatically we put in that optional folder and you can focus on what you need to and then once you switch into optional mode, knowing that it's optional moe, you can go through things a lot quicker and knowing that you don't have to provide as much detail in a much attention. But that's one example is email, it applies to so many other things, the other thing that it allows you to do once you start to regain that awareness and track this stuff is something I call creating the manual of you. So all of you go through processes on a daily basis, whether it is paying a bill or shopping or whatever you might do. They're they're the things that you do, uh, on whether his daily or weekly or monthly, but there are these processes that we got through. So the problem is, is that many people start to get into this mindset that the things that they do can only be done by them on the truth is about ninety five percent of the things that you do on a regular basis can be done by other people or other things. It's that five percent that on lee you can do that is your unique talent that in some cases is being obscured by that other stuff that you think that you're the only one who can do it's the five percent that we want to be able to focus on and make that one hundred percent of our time and that five percent maybe your unique ability to curate content maybe your unique ability to uh compose a photograph or a piece of art but we need to able to get a lot of stuff off our plates and I know a lot of freelancers are tuning in here too creative live and a lot of you are probably control freaks as I wass with very hard to let go of these processes the first step in doing that is to actually identify them so pay bill is a good example everybody has to people so if I were to give one of you a bill right now and say pay it none of you I hope would have any idea how to do that unless you knew what my bank accounts were where I liked you know how I like to pay people our timing and all that stuff so the first time I did this it was twenty seven so that was literally like and I mean on a very granular level when you look at these processes very, very grand so it starts with go to the bank of america website and then log in with this user name and password and then go to the pace tab and if the pay does exist then here pay if they don't and add them but this process that's already a tree and then have to scan the bill they came in if it came in my paper which hopefully didn't so there's all these things it was twenty seven steps to pay a bell so I looked at that and immediately I could see and look at it and say okay, well step thirteen and fourteen there's a gap there that doesn't make sense I get that and oh eighteen nineteen a redundant I can find those so after you know, several minutes of looking that I conveniently take that twenty seven steps down to twenty two I was really excited because I basically optimize the process by twenty five percent so then I took a harder look at it and part of this has to do with, you know, figuring out sometimes solutions that don't exist or sometimes realizing that they actually dio but I realized that a lot of those steps could be complete automated you know? So if I scan the document to this folder than it could automatically be uploaded to dropbox and turned into this and there's all sorts of automation so I got those twenty two steps down to eighteen so right away, that's great. I was already happy I was already moving along the process, and it was, uh it was working then I sent it to a virtual system and that's where things get really interesting. So, uh, at the time, that was a virtual assistant in another country, and there was, you know, there's always going to be differences in the way that people do things, whether they're in the seat next, you're certainly in a different country. So I got a response back and I said, well, you know, I'm sorry, sir, but I don't understand how you got from step eight to nine and the password it step three didn't work, and there are always problems, so it was like, debugging if any of you have gotta work with software, basically debugging, until it works, did that a few times with a couple different people and got it down to a nine step process. So that twenty seven step process is now and bill it's, really? Because this is how you use it now, it's a nine step process that is so perfect and so error proof that it has been executed over three hundred times by at least two hundred different people without any problems that's amazing, you know that that's twenty thirty minutes of my of my day every day probably with paying bills and now it's completely out of my life I don't think about it at all so I fifty three processes now that I have all written down different in an ever no notebook which we're going to talk about every note too but everything from editing a podcast teo posting that podcast on dh putting up block post so for example I have a block of course and I do a lot of blogging and social media stuff in all that but I don't do it myself necessarily I do what I have to do which is curating the content so it's still my voice but why should I have to deal with all the other stuff so I think uh you were saying about sharing information right? Part of the problem that you guys talk about about not being able to focus is that a lot of those things that you're losing focus on the things that you don't have to be doing basically ah and as technology gets better and better a lot of this stuff can be automated completely so yeah okay so paying a bill posting ah block post doing research planning a trip you know so you break down like whatever choirs have plan to travel are planned traveling it's these requirements and these rough dates and these are the things that you want to do and so I'm actually really bi curious of anybody you can think of a process that you can't just go through on a regular basis anybody for paying bills I tried to auto pay as much as possible sure so set up okay, well that's so what things that you kind of do on a regular basis that we'll start with something forget it actually, yeah photos I download them I have to edit them and have tto output export them into certain files. That's a perfect example so you probably know that there's ways to automate some of that stuff, right? Okay, I'd love to hear from people in the chat rooms if they had this's one of the things that I get really obsessive about actually is working on this process with people because sometimes it just requires having a just a different point of view honestly and it's good even if you weren't going to automate them or autumn it are outsourcing or anything like that. It's still good to write these things down because commercial pilots and surgeons use checklist you know, so that they don't miss things and when we get in these habits and we get in these grooves sometimes it's a good thing tio start sort of getting the groove but sometimes could be a bad thing because you really start toe just lose touch with what you're actually doing

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


Ratings and Reviews

Student Work

Related Classes



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.