The 10x10x10 Challenge

It’s so easy to get overwhelmed by the day to day activities of our lives. I know that being truly engaged in my own roles as wife, mother, and psychotherapist are more than enough to keep me busy. When you add in cooking, cleaning, caring for the occasional ill family member, writing, making time for my own creativity, shopping for all the necessities a household goes through and the driving to get from one task to the next – well, it’s no wonder I sometimes feel like I don’t know where to start or stop a day!

One of the things that I’ve learned about myself is that I always function better when I have a list of prioritized tasks. Which is why I love Joseph Sanok’s 10x10x10 Challenge, and why I decided to participate in it myself.  The concept is to finish 10 tasks by 10:00 am for 10 days, and I really think it could set the tone for more productivity each day as well.

After all, if I’ve accomplished 10 tasks by 10:00 am, just think of how much more I could get done with the rest of the day.

Now, I’ve made a couple of small changes to Joe’s list of 10 tasks, because some of them just didn’t fit my life.  For example, one of the tasks he listed was no caffeine after 10:00 am, but I very rarely drink caffeine. It was something I cut out of my diet during my pregnancy years ago, and I just never returned to the coffee/cola habit after that. While ‘no caffeine’  would be a super easy task for me to accomplish, it also feels a bit like a cheat. So, I’ve replaced it with 10 minutes of meditation – a habit I would really like to build into my life. I think tailoring your tasks to your life can improve the impact – just make sure you are honest with your goals.

I am so interested in this process that I actually wrote Joe an email and asked him about starting up a Facebook group around the challenge. Since he has a new baby in the house, I offered to help out and co-administrate the group and he was just as excited about the prospect of creating a community around the challenge as I was! The FB group will allow us all to engage in the challenge together, with support, tips, and sharing our successes as well as the days we maybe fall a bit short of our goals.

I would love it if you would also join the 10x10x10 challenge.

I think we can certainly make it through ten days together! And, to take the concept even further, I am sure many of you have seen the week-of-gratitude meme that’s been going around Facebook for a while now. If not, it’s basically a post where one person tags 3 people and challenges them to write 3 things they are grateful for for one week, as well as challenge 3 more people themselves. This is somewhat based on the work of psychologist and best-selling author Robert Emmons from UC Davis.

In one of his most well known studies, Emmons had one group of study participants write down 5 things they were grateful for each day for 1 week, one group wrote 5 things that were hassles and the last group listed 5 things that simply occurred. They were asked just to write a single, short statement of each, such as “I had fresh baked cookies today”, “I had to do my taxes” or “I fed the cat”. After the week was over the participants turned in their work and went back to the normal lives.

The amazing part came 2 months later, when the study follow up checked in with the participants.

They found that the people that were asked to write the things they were grateful for reported feeling happy in their day to day lives 25% more than the participants in the other two groups. They also reported feeling more optimistic about the future and even exercised nearly 90 minutes more each week than the others. And that was after only having done the study exercise for 1 week!

I think that accomplishing 10 tasks before 10:00 am for 10 days could have the same effect. I know I would certainly love to feel more energetic, focused and accomplished at the end of each day, so I certainly think this is worth doing. And I’m definitely curious how others might come through the same challenge.

You can join the challenge by joining the 10x10x10 Thunderclap (which I am super excited about as a new tool to join people together and get the word out about projects like this!) and then drop me a message on Facebook to be added to the group. It starts in just 3 days (10/10/14 seems like the best date to start a 10x10x10 challenge, don’t you think?), so we don’t have long to wait at all!

10x10x10 Challenge pin

Special thanks to Joseph Sanok for image use and alteration as well as the Challenge itself!

About Jessica S. Campbell, LCSW

Jessica S. Campbell, LCSW is a licensed and trained psychotherapist who helps overwhelmed women, frustrated parents, and anyone who has experienced trauma, to find a more balanced lifestyle, move on from troubling events and form meaningful relationships with reawakened creativity for happier and healthier lives.

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