This was not the way it was supposed to work.
A couple of hours before the 72 hour continuous creation challenge began, I started to shake uncontrollably. Even after resting for a while I still felt like someone punched me in the ribs.
This was followed by my worst night of sleep since 2001 when I was on a kibbutz in Israel, suffering from jet lag and a brain that wouldn't shut down. Take your pick what the issue was between the huge hail storm, roasting under the blankets, more uncontrollable shaking, and the 50+ times I needed to roll over.
I felt somewhat good enough to begin the challenge after hitting the shower when I “woke up.”
Day 1 was kind of rough but after that it was all good.
So here's my story and experience.
And stick around for the special announcement about the direction of my blog at the end.
Predictable and Unexpected Experiences
There were bound to be predictable and unexpected experiences with complete elimination of just about every form of consumption for 72 hours. If you want details, check out the original post with the rules. The short version is I didn't eat, read, watch (anything electronic), listen, browse, modify, run errands, or have any nonessential communication.
It was basically a three day sabbatical from my entire life.
These were the predictable things I experienced, at least from my perspective. They may not seem so predictable to you.
- I kept all my rules and didn't cheat once.
- I felt more proud of myself and confident in what I was doing as the challenge progressed.
- The fasting part was easy. This was consistent with other fasts I've done beyond 24 hours. My brain and body seem to give up on trying to convince me to eat once I get past 24 hours. Thankfully, there was no dizziness, headaches, or general tiredness to report.
- I created a boatload of stuff! You can check out the stats in a moment.
- Not reading for three days is hard. So much of our world is based on reading that it was like living in a foreign land without trying to explore it.
- Not listening to music, radio or podcasts was easy. I'm mostly a text and video guy so this didn't surprise me.
- There were no emotional changes that I noticed. If anything, I was more calm and introspective than normal.
These were the kooky and unexpected things I experienced. Can you believe tooth brushing makes the list?
- Just standing outside in the back yard, feeling the sun's rays sweep over me, with no agenda but to be present in the moment, was very gratifying.
- Tooth brushing was boring. I brush for about seven minutes (I know, there's something wrong with me) and normally read or watch something during the time. All I could do instead was just stand there with a dead mind.
- I felt no need to check what time it was during the day. Since I cleared my calendar and didn't need to eat, there was no difference between 8:30 am and 4:30 pm. This also made me get super into whatever it was I creating at that moment.
- My mind felt clearer and my whole being felt quieter on the walks with the dogs. My ability to tune out the distracting sounds around me got a huge boost.
- I went to sleep about 45 minutes earlier than normal on average. Could have been the rocky first night of “sleep” or some lingering effects from whatever came over me. But after I felt done creating, there was nothing left to do but sleep.
I'm giving you the highlights as the full list could go on and on.
So what creations came about during this 72 hour period? Here are the stats:
- 6 homemade cards created. 3 for Mother's Day, 2 for Father's Day, and 1 for a friend's birthday.
- 2 product reviews for The Bootstrapper Guild and A-List Blogging Bootcamps
- 3 hours of walks with the dogs
- 0 yoga sessions. I really wanted to do yoga at the end of the fast but I got so absorbed on a project that I spaced out during my window to do it.
- 170 pounds (76.5 kg) starting weight. 165 pounds (74.25 kg) ending weight.
- 23 book reviews. Turns out I can't remember much about anything I've read beyond a year or so.
- 0 videos. I intended to create my first one but decided there were more important things to work on.
- 15 total hours of sleep
- 1 new relationship. I was accepted to write a monthly article for Lifehack.org in the money category. Look for me there starting in the next couple of weeks.
- 0 “magical” firsts for Grant. I don't know what I was thinking when I said I would try to create some wonderful first experiences for him. Safe to say life was normal for the little fella.
- 1 blog post (this one). The product reviews will be published as posts but I'm not counting them here.
The biggest creation missing from this list leads right into my special announcement.
Retiring Enlightened Resource Management and Starting a New Website
I've been blogging about “resource management” here since November 2010 and honestly, it's just not going anywhere. I don't feel like I'm helping folks and what I'm doing isn't valuable to any person willing to give it to me straight.
So I'm going to relaunch my website in the coming months around simplifying, organizing, and personal finance. But not every aspect of these.
I'm just going to focus on the ones I know best and am most passionate about. I love these topics and have been rockin' them in my personal life for many years. This is where I believe the value I've been so eager to provide will really take shape.
So this to-be-named website will have the focus in content, design and brand that Enlightened Resource Management never had. After mapping out what parts of each topic I wanted to tackle, I was so excited that I spent a good part of the challenge working on various aspects of the new website.
I typed up the origin story, the About page, and the Start Here page. I worked on the nuances of my email newsletter too but there's still a ton more that needs to be done before it can be launched.
In the meantime, some of the posts I publish here will have a simple, organized, and money wise slant. You can still count on an unexpected topic but the transition is already under way.
Whew! Time for a Deep Breath
This article could have been so much longer but I'm going to wrap it up.
I hope my 72 hour continuous creation challenge did more than just inspire you. I want you to take action on your own challenge and shift the importance from consumption to creation.
And please tweak my blueprint in whatever way you see fit.
Can't imagine creating for 72 hours straight? Try 24 first and expand if you want. Can't see yourself creating effectively while fasting? Then keep eating.
Want to skip most of your normal sleep so you can maximize your creating time? Do what you think is best for you.
For me, reentering a consumption focused world wasn't as hard as I thought. But now I'll also know how much awesomeness can be achieved when there is complete dedication to creation.
I'll definitely be running this challenge again in the future and it's made me permanently aware of what other possibilities exist.
What do you think? Should I go for 120 hours next time?
This is a super exciting time for me and I can't wait to share the new website with you!
So what are you going to do for your creation challenge and what rules are you going to make? And when are you going to start it?
If you have questions or feedback about the challenge or new website I'd love to see a comment. And if you have suggestions for my website relaunch let me know as well.
Photo Credit: Sean MacEntee