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Life at Ease: Ari Meisel on 'Less Doing, More Living' (Q&A)

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Today, Hartford Books Examiner welcomes Ari Meisel.

The author of Less Doing, More Living: Make Everything in Life Easier (Tarcher, $15.95), out today, Meisel has turned his hobby—optimizing productivity—into a popular framework and consulting service for automating and outsourcing life’s tasks. His “Less Doing” philosophy continues to grow in popularity and has become a platform for general efficiency consulting to businesses, entrepreneurs, and everyone else who could use a little more time in their life. He lives on Long Island with his wife, three children, and two dogs.

Advance praise for Less Doing, More Living has been strong. Publishers Weekly noted, “Readers will immediately recognize the wisdom of his approach and see that these tactics offer a big payoff. Meisel provides a concise and ingenious roadmap to doing less, getting more and enjoying life." Further, David Bach, #1 New York Times bestselling author of The Automatic Millionaire and Start Late, Finish Rich enthused, “I’ve seen many programs for improving lives (and created a few myself). Ari Meisel’s philosophy in Less Doing, More Living is a true gem—simple, fun, and technologically up-to-date for the 21st century. This book will help you easily remove the stresses of day-to-day living and find that, in this removal, you’ll have more time to enjoy the activities and people that you love.”

From the publisher:

"Less is more"—or, more specifically, the less you have to do, the more life you have to live. Efficiency expert Ari Meisel details his "Less Doing" philosophy, which will streamline your life, and make everything easier.

In business and our personal lives, it often seems as if the only way to get more done is by putting in more time—more hours at the office, more days running errands. But what if there were a way that we could do less, and free up more time for the things and people we love? If this sounds like what you need, Ari Meisel—TEDx speaker, efficiency consultant, and achievement architect—has the program for you. In Less Doing, More Living, Meisel explores the fundamental principles of his “Less Doing” philosophy, educating the reader on:

  • Optimizing workflow with twenty-first-century apps and tools
  • Creating an “external brain” in the Cloud to do all of your “lower” thinking—like keeping track of appointments, meetings, and ideas
  • How to use technology to live a paper-free life
  • The three fundamentals of wellness—fitness, sleep, and nutrition—and technological approaches to improving these areas of life
  • And so much more!

This book will give readers new tools and techniques for streamlining their workload, being more efficient in their day-to-day activities, and making everything in life easier.

Now, Ari Meisel invites readers to reach their own point of Less Doing, More Living

1) What inspired you to write LESS DOING, MORE LIVING – and how does your framework differ from others that have been offered?

I had a health crisis that changed my life dramatically. I was diagnosed with Crohn's Disease, put on a lot medicine and saw my health continue to decline until I hit rock bottom and began a journey of self-tracking and self-experimentation. Once I had gotten off my meds and figured out the nutrition and supplements I realized there was still a large element of stress effecting my illness, and that's what inspired me to create a productivity system that would allow people to free up their time, reclaim their minds, and stress less. It's different because the approach doesn't require you to change everything about the way you do things now, it's a framework that helps you look at challenges differently. I also include wellness as part of my system because no matter how technologically efficient you become, if you aren't sleeping enough, or carrying too much stress, there is a limit to how effective you can be.

2) You share personal anecdotes throughout the book. How do you feel that these enhance your message – and what do you hope that readers might relate to in terms of their own struggles with time management?

Everything is meant to be an example of how to think about the various challenges we face. I realized that everyone has specific things that get in their way and so I needed to show people a broad view of how to do it so they could then apply it to their own situations.

3) Please talk about the role of technology in the “Less Doing” philosophy. Also, what tried and true methods can non-techies employ to optimize their lives?

Technology certainly is a huge help to our productivity. There are hundreds of new apps and services every week that have the potential to make our lives easier. That information alone can be overwhelming so I boil it down to the best and most practical offering. Less Doing is a philosophy on life, make no mistake about it, it's not simply a different way to do your email (it is that as well). If you simply change your perspective on how you do things, you don't need any technology at all to start seeing areas of improvement.

4) How did you apply that same philosophy to the writing of this book – and how has/will it be used to maximize your promotional efforts?

My entire social media presence is automated which is good because I know very little about social media. I worked through a loop of writing, recording videos for my online courses, transcribing those courses, then recording again to refine and refine until the material was as succinct as possible.

5) For those who say it can’t be done, share a little about the personal and professional responsibilities that you balance – and offer a few final words of advice so that readers can achieve something similar …

I overcame a horribly painful illness that is considered incurable. I also have three young boys under the age of two. I can honestly say I never feel overwhelmed and I rarely feel any measurable stress. If it weren't for Less Doing I might not be alive today much less a productive member of society.

Start getting ideas out of your head into a notebook or my favorite, Evernote. You need to clear your mind as much as possible. Use FollowUp.cc to deal with automated email reminders so you never have to ask yourself again "Did that person get back to me." Once you read the book you'll be able to get rid of your to do list completely using FollowUp.cc. You can automate most of your business and personal processes with IFTTT and Zapier. Everyone should try working with a virtual assistant at some point because it is an educational process for you in terms of effectively delegating and communicating a task, I recommend Zirtual or FancyHands.

***

With thanks to Ari Meisel for his generosity of time and thought and to Karen Ammond of KBC Media for facilitating this interview.

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