Ari Meisel’s book Less Doing, More Living is my kind of thing. I could barely read it without getting so excited I had to stop and tell someone about whatever section I had just finished. It woke me up to a whole new level of productivity. When you get to a certain level of organization, where everything is automated and effortless, it raises the question of what you’re going to do with your time. What is the upper limit?
One thing about Ari Meisel is that he says he has cured himself of a supposedly incurable disease, Crohn’s disease in his case. Being so ill made him determined to do anything he could to reduce stress in his life. This reminds me of James Altucher. And of Dee Williams. It also reminds me of myself, of course! The details are different but that watershed moment is the same: the moment when we say, “There has got to be a better way to live” - and then find out what it is. It’s a hidden gift of having a health crisis. Maybe not everyone gets to be healthy anymore, but we can focus our attention on making the most of what we do still have.
So how about Less Doing? One of the core ideas of the book is that we should only be doing the things that only we can personally do. We can automate or outsource everything else. This is probably going to be very specific to any individual. For instance, I like to cook, and I shudder to think what it would cost to have someone else cook the same kind of healthy meals I can make for myself. Some of the tips are aimed at entrepreneurs, and wouldn’t work for the typical employee. The important thing, though, and what excited me so much about this book, is just how much we can outsource or automate. I learned that I can have documents scanned at a rate of 100 for $1, including books and magazines. I learned that virtual assistants are about 10% of the cost I would have guessed. I can pay $5 to have someone else make a phone call for me! Business calls are pretty much my least favorite thing in life, so this is awesome. Less Doing, More Living is a kind of index of a wide variety of services, almost none of which I knew existed.
Stop and think about what your life would be like if the majority of things that annoy you were no longer a problem. What would you do? What would change? I can speak from experience that it is phenomenal to say goodbye to a health problem; to never have to worry about losing weight again; to have a clean house every day; to never have to worry about procrastinating on cleaning out a storage unit or garage or junk drawer; to be debt-free; to live without a to-do list. What Ari Meisel is sharing is not some futurist fantasy; it’s all possible right now.
I've been working with chronic disorganization, squalor, and hoarding for over 20 years. I'm also a marathon runner who was diagnosed with fibromyalgia and thyroid disease 17 years ago.