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“The Art of Less Doing” brought back my creativity (59% off coupon)

February 05 2014 – 10:00am

UPDATE 01/31/2015 – About a year after taking Ari’s course, and concentrating on the principles I learned in it, I’m more organized, and am now delegating to FancyHands, as well as several contractors on oDesk. Since making delegation and automation a top priority in my business, my revenue has grown 50%. If I attribute it to this course (which is not that far-fetched), I had somewhere around a 40,000% ROI on Ari’s Udemy course.

The webinar is over, but you can still save 59% on The Art of Less Doing by clicking on this link >>

Productivity is about mind management, not time management. To really be effective in what you do, you need to be ruthless about not wasting mental energy on things that don’t produce the results you want.

red-brainThe tricky thing about this is, your brain is dumb. Your brain has a hard time distinguishing between what’s really important, and what’s not. If you’re concentrating on something mundane – like filling out a bunch of little radio buttons on a web form that keeps malfunctioning – your brain probably isn’t aware of what else it could be doing with all of that energy.

Instead, it just gets frustrated and tired and cranky, and decides it needs to check Facebook.

I struggled with my own creative energy

Nearly 10 years ago, I used a week’s vacation (of my measly two weeks) for a “staycation,” and sat on my couch from 10am to 2am every single day of that vacation.

But, I wasn’t watching TV. I was working on this very blog right here.

I designed, I coded, and I did it all over again, nit-picking on little details for 16 hours a day, in the most un-ergonomic position imaginable, all without feeling mentally fatigued.

As I got older, and as my creative projects became more successful, I started to lose this creative energy. I needed to take more breaks, I felt more fatigued at the end of the day, and the thought of doing any kind of work late into the night became even more unappealing.

I still loved my “work,” more than ever, and still felt a constant drive to do things with it, but I would just run out of creative energy.

Until lately, I thought it was just that I had gotten older. That I had better just relegate myself to viewing work as “work” for the rest of my life.

But I was wrong. It wasn’t just that I had gotten older.

My embarrassing struggle with delegation

I’ve long been an avid “Lifehacker,” always looking for ways to get more out of less, but until recently I still struggled with delegation. It had started to become embarrassing.

I had watched many of my peers grow to be smashing successes, and widen their impact exponentially through delegating and growing their teams. Meanwhile, while I felt good about the impact I’d had, I knew if I never learned to delegate, I’d never realize my potential.

There were just too many cognitive and emotional blocks for me: I didn’t know where to begin, I didn’t think I could trust others to do a good job, or I didn’t think I could afford it.

My unconscious mind was screaming at me that I needed to delegate, but my conscious mind was always coming up with reasons not to.

How I broke through my mental barriers to start delegating

Fortunately, I have a trick I’ve built into my business that lets my unconscious mind win from time to time.

In the tradition of my week-long couch potato sprint, every once in awhile, I declare a week my “Week of Want.” All that means, really, is that I’ll work on whatever the heck I want to work on, instead of things I feel like I “should” work on. It’s great: I write blog postsbroadcast a Google Hangout, or decide I’m going to start playing with Instagram, all explicitly without worrying about whether it’s a productive activity or not.

It’s a bit like Google’s famous “20%,” but there’s something powerful about taking a full week, instead of just a day, or a few hours of a particular day.

I’ve held two “Week(s) of Want,” and great things always come from them. The first one I held yielded my thoughts on Mind Management that have now lead to me doing some very cool as-of-yet-top-secret stuff with some amazing people, and the other one – which I held more recently – may prove to be just as powerful.

Just as I was beginning my “Week of Want,” a friend introduced me to a Udemy course called “The Art of Less Doing,” which is all about automating, simplifying, and delegating unimportant details in your life and work.

I could feel my brain getting “spongy.” It was thirsty to learn what this course had to teach.

How “The Art of Less Doing” freed my creative energy

I took “The Art of Less Doing,” and it broke down so many cognitive barriers that I had to delegating. Ari Meisel (more on him later) introduced his “principles of Less Doing,” and explained step-by-step how he builds systems that make it so you have to do less “busy work” and can start doing more “real work.”

With the help of the Less Doing Course, I made the primary focus of my “Week of Want” learning to delegate. Instead of trying to actually get things done right then and there, I applied what I learned in the course to build systems for things that didn’t really need to be delegated, and then I actually delegated the things that needed a human touch.

Then I realized something amazing.

It happened late one night, while I was sipping some tea that came with my Instacart delivery. It was at some point amidst drafting my third blog post of the evening, asking

to call my credit card company, and preparing to delegate some administrative work to an oDesk contractor.

I was sitting on my couch, it was 4 am, and I didn’t want to go to bed because I was too excited. I had too much creative energy.

My creative energy was back!

My “Week of Want” turned into more of a “Month of Want.” I ended up making systematizing, simplifying, and delegating my primary focus for an entire month. The burst in my creative energy was just too powerful to ignore.

Thanks to taking “The Art of Less Doing,” the foundations of my business are reorganized, and more efficient than ever. It will take time for the gains of this investment to be fully realized, but it’s already paid off.

The surprising reason I lost my creative energy

The most shocking realization was that I hadn’t simply lost my creative energy simply because I got older.

In this area, I was a victim of my own success: being successful in my creative endeavors simply created a lot of “gunk” in my creative machine.

When I spent that week on my couch, I had hardly any blog readers. Now, I have a book, thousands of blog readers and email subscribers, Twitter, Facebook, and – thankfully – revenue.

Learning how to clean the “gunk” out of my creative machine by offloading unimportant details has freed my mind up to be creative again.

The scary thing is, I hadn’t even realized this was the problem. My brain is dumb.

“Freeing Your Creative Mind.” An exclusive webcast (okay, it’s a “webinar”) to free up your creative energy

Through teaching about design – whether in my courses, or my one-on-one coaching sessions, I’ve realized that the barriers to being effective usually have much less to do with knowledge than they do having the mental energy to do something with that knowledge.

We can Google about how to do just about anything, but can we actually do that thing?

So, I’m holding a very special webcast (okay, it’s a “webinar”) with Ari Meisel, who teaches the Udemy course that is still transforming my business.

I want to give you an inside look of how I stopped making excuses, and started taking action.

About Ari Meisel: from near-death to Ironman

Ari Meisel learned how to get organized and automate the hard way: he did it to save his own life.

In 2006, Ari was diagnosed with a severe case of Chron’s Disease, an incurable inflammatory disease. Ari had to take as many as a dozen medications daily, and made several hospital visits.

After one near-death hospital visit, Ari decided to take matters into his own hands.

Through disciplined self-tracking and personal organization, he was able to change his diet and lifestyle to eliminate all traces of this “incurable” disease, and compete in Ironman France in 2011.

Ari has incorporated the habits that saved his life into everything he does: automating, outsourcing, and delegating everything possible in his life and business. Today, he teaches these skills to others through his blog, and his amazing Udemy course: The Art of Less Doing.

What you’ll learn in this webcast (okay, it’s a “webinar”)

This event is exclusively for the loyal subscribers to Design for Hackers emails, and is only available live. Sign up below to reserve your spot.

The webinar is over, but you can still save 59% on The Art of Less Doing by clicking on this link >>

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This post is filed under Creativity.