Freeing Your Creative Mind with David Kadavy and Ari Meisel


Image via David Kadavy

Last week, David Kadavy hosted a webinar called, “Freeing Your Creative Mind,” which focused on offloading the banal and unimportant tasks we deal with in life to make more time for the creative endeavors.  He spoke with Ari Meisel from The Art of Less Doing about productivity and what holds us back, as well as what motivates us to get things done.  Their conversation surfaced so many helpful perspectives and tools that I’m sharing some highlights of what I found the most useful.

Meisel began speaking about multitasking and that it’s really just rapidly switching between tasks and not doing various things at once.  This type of work style isn’t conducive to being productive.  Creativity is something in us that is innate.  Answering emails, paying bills, and taking care of other related tasks is not in our nature so this drains and inhibits creativity.

A crucial step is to optimize, which Meisel described as finding the sources of the problem (what is inhibiting you from being productive and creative).  Then you automate if can set it and forget it.  This involves using a service to automate or outsource your tasks.  There was another part in this sequence of steps that I didn’t catch but these two are already an effective starting point.

Meisel stated that to-do lists go against productivity because you just see what hasn’t been completed, causing a Zeigarnik Effect, and creates cognitive dissonance.  They also cause the brain to be overwhelmed but not know why.  As a firm user of Todoist, I don’t completely agree this because I find to-do lists effective but the negatives are important to keep in mind when deciding what tools and approaches to use for maximum and effective productivity.

Self tracking was also something that was discussed that fits into optimizing.  Making a record of allergens, moods, the times you feel better, etc. can help you figure out what the best times to have meetings, make phone calls, and email are. was reccommended as a service that automates email reminders.  Other helpful email tools mentioned were Boomerang and MX Hero.

At this point Kadavy asked Meisel how to get over having to pay for services and Meisel brought up a few valid points.  He said that some of these services are better and more efficient for taking care of tasks.  We should start where we are comfortable and decide from there what services work for well for us.  We should also ask ourselves if the money we’re spending on these services means we’ll be making five times the amount while working on other things.  If so, they are worth considering or trying out since many of them offer free trials.

Most of the talk in “Freeing Your Creative Mind” revolved around productivity and tools that aid in automating and outsourcing tasks that are unrelated to being creative.  Kadavy has a valuable post about how “productivity is less about time management than it is about mind management.”  Meisel has a wealth or resources on his site about mastering the art of less doing and more living.  I’ll be putting some of these recommendations to the test and reporting back once I have spent more time freeing my creative mind.