18 Lessons from Ari Meisel on Optimising Your Work and Life

March 7, 2019
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Ari Meisel is an entrepreneur, author, CEO, TED speaker, real estate developer, green building consultant, and productivity expert. A graduate of the University of Pennsylvania, Wharton School of Business, he was diagnosed with Crohn’s disease while building his property development business in 2007. Crohn’s is an incurable disease of the digestive tract. Ari’s case was severe and required over a dozen daily medications and several hospital visits. After reaching a personal low point in hospital, Ari decided he would do everything in his power to strengthen his by then weak body.

Through a combination of yoga, nutrition, natural supplements and rigorous exercise (Triathlon and Crossfit) he was able to fight back the symptoms of Crohn's until he was finally able to suspend his medication. Eventually, Ari was declared free of all traces of the ‘incurable’ disease, and competed in Ironman France in June of 2011. Ari has since spoken at seminars and at a regional TED Talk about his struggle against a seemingly insurmountable opponent.

Through the process of data collection, self-tracking, and analysis, Ari helped develop his company, Less Doing. This was a way of dealing with the daily stresses of life by optimizing, automating, and outsourcing all of his tasks in life and business.

I recently interviewed Ari on my podcast, Future Squared, and took the liberty of capturing the key lessons in this blog post for your convenience.

You can listen to the entire conversation below or find Future Squared on Apple Podcasts and wherever you get your podcasts.

With that, I bring you 18 lessons on optimising your work and life from my conversation with Ari Meisel.

1. Lots of entrepreneurs don’t have an off switch (so optimising, automating and outsourcing will help them take control of their lives significantly)…

2. Optimise, automate then outsource — in that order

3. As an entrepreneur, it’s tempting to wear all the hats but you don’t need to, you should only focus on your strengths and cut, automate or outsource everything else

4. The intermittent ‘hustle’ that the entprereneur is sold in startup media is okay, but it shouldn’t be all of the time — that’s not in accordance with nature and it’s a recipe for burnout and an unfulfilling life

5. Without systems, there is a ceiling you can hit as a business which is about $800,000 — $1M in revenue (unless of course you plan on hiring lots and lots of people which presents its own challenges and costs)

6. As a founder, you should try to become replaceable. If you’re not replaceable, you’re a liability to your business.

7. So many people see a lack of sleep, long hours and being busy as a badge of honour.

Ari’s badge of honour:
- “Doing work that I love”
- “Making a meaningful impact in peple’s lives”
- “Not disappointing the people I love”

8. Ari uses the following tools (amongst many others) to get more done in less time:
- Repurpose.io (content repurposing automation)
- Voxr (audible FAQs for customer interactions)
- Prospect qualification tool (Ari self-built this machine learning tool in 30 minutes and it predicts how likely a lead is to convert with 94% accuracy)

9. Most people don’t take the time to reflect on what their repetitive tasks are — they blindly go on doing them instead of automating or outsourcing the,

10. Human beings are capable of 22 good decisions a day (biology has not evolved as fast as technology)

11. Psychology: doing work and keeping busy we equate with being valuable, which is wrong

12. Cognitive switching hurts us (it can take us anywhere between 5 and 45 minutes to get back into the zone after we’ve been interrupted)

13. It’s just not true that we can multi-task

14. Triggers: Everytime you use the word “every”, that’s a trigger for automation, eg. “every time a customer hits our database we send them a welcome email”. This is but one of many triggers.

15. The power of setting limits — eg. if you find yourself spending too much time in meetings, set limits as to how long a meeting should be by default and how many hours you have per day for meetings. On this point, Ari uses Voxr so that he can be in multiple places at once answering FAQs for clients.

16. The email inbox problem is a decision making problem.
To counter this, use the 3 Ds.
- Deal with
- Defer
- Delete
If you can’t say no and can’t do it now, defer it

17.40% of emails don’t require a response yet people insinst on sending “K”, which only fuelds the boomerang effect (the more you send, the more you get back)

18. Ari’s Night routine
Brain dumping (writing thoughts and ideas down on paper).
The brain is a great place to come up with ideas, it’s not a great place to hold them.

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