The Art of Doing Less (and Accomplishing More)

I felt like starting this one off with something funny, and this clip get’s me every time!

The following post is inspired by my friend Ari Meisel – founder of LessDoing.com

 

Two things happened in the past three weeks that have profoundly influenced my sanity in a very positive way:

1) I went on a weekend-long silent meditation retreat after what had been one of the most chaotic, productive, engaging yet mind-scrambling months of my life, and

2) I attended Ari Meisel’s skillshare class in Soho, New York.

The details of my schedule that lead to such catalysts are inconsequential – what is noteworthy here, and the main takeaway of this brief post, is the importance of taking a step back. Very generally, there are two types of problems we typically face: problems of abundance, and problems of scarcity. The former are always better then the latter, but problems of abundance too can cause super-stressful environments if we are not equipped to deal with such a surplus, be it of work, relationships, or social demands. – Invariably, it is those times of over-abundance that pose the biggest challenges by requiring us to not only organize and prioritize, but also say “no” in a world that demands we answer “yes”.

Now, it may seem as if turning things down translates into missed opportunities; and it’s true – not every lead can be pursued. But please bear this in mind:

Sometimes, life requires us to take a small step back, in order to make a giant leap forward.

– Giving ourselves the proper room to breath, to digest; ingest what life throws our way, is not just something  that would be “nice to do”, but is essential for making progress in all realms, personal and professional; just as breathing is essential for our survival. Put in other terms; food provides us no nutrients if we don’t allow ourselves time to chew, swallow, digest, and absorb it. And the world is no different…

Ari advocates a three pronged approached to “Optimize, Automate, and Outsource” virtually any job, task, or errand – the ultimate goal being, to provide you with the necessary freedom to explore your innate potential and do those things that “only YOU can do”.

His techniques are aimed at helping us transcend minutia by viewing (and therefore placing) ourselves as the Artists, Orchestral Conductors, or what he calls “Acheivment Archictects” as apposed to the brick layers.

By analyzing how we spend our time and allocate resources, we begin to see our position more clearly and gain invaluable insight into what is important, who we are, and what we do best.

But in order to gain such perspective, we must give ourselves room to breath.

The next time you’re feeling harried by life’s problems, be they those of abundance or those of scarcity – stop for a minute; step back; take a deep breath; and ask yourself the following questions:

– What am I really trying to do? / What do I want?

Are the steps I’m taking right now, helping me to get there?  And lastly,

– Is the work I’m striving for, making my life any better – and/or improving the lives of others?

This post is dedicated to the power of mindfulness, to taking a step back, and to a passed relative of mine, once very close to me who spoke the following piece of advice:

“Don’t work too hard… you won’t have time to make any money!” – Henry “Uli” Ullendorff.


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