72 Hour Continuous Creation ChallengeRemember when you were little and all you wanted to do was create?

You were obsessed with creating.

Building sand castles. Creating a tower of blocks. Art projects with squiggly lines or blobs of paint. A fort made out of snow.

But now you're obsessed with consuming.

I am too. Modern life gives us many more opportunities to consume than create.

If you asked me, “Joel, what's the best thing you ever created?” I would reply with something stupid like, “My son”.

Now, I love Grant and he's a fine little fella, but most people can create another person. But can most people create something awesome (or multiple things) if given 72 hours of continuous creation time?

I'm granting myself (horrible pun intended) 72 hours from Monday night through Thursday night completely free of consumption.

No food. No reading. No music.

No watching videos. No social media. No nonessential communication with friends and family.

For 72 hours straight.

Just straight up, hard-core creation the whole time.

This is a personal challenge but it's also my way of challenging the greater status quo.

Here are the rules of the challenge, why this will be one of the greatest things I've ever done, and how you can be a part of it.

The 72 Hour Continuous Creation Challenge Rules

I'm playing hardball with myself in order to get the most out of this experiment.

The overarching rule of the challenge is no consumption for 72 hours straight.

There are many “no-no's” so let's cover the most important ones.

Not Allowed

  1. Food: Yep, it's a total fast.
  2. Reading: Newspapers, books, magazines, RSS feeds, social media, incoming emails, general Internet sites, texts, or any other nonessential reading.
  3. Watching: Online videos, movies, TV, or anything else that can't be watched without electricity.
  4. Listening: Music, the radio, podcasts, etc.
  5. Browsing: Google, YouTube, or searching in general.
  6. Modifying: If something has already been created (e.g., a blog post or a sweater), tweaking it is a no-no. Fixing things, like a leaky sink, is also off limits.
  7. Errands: Going to the library, grocery store, etc.
  8. Communication: Nonessential communication with friends and family in any format. Exceptions will be made for Melinda and Grant because I live with them and kind of need to interact with them.

There are also a lot of “oh yeahs!” that are strongly encouraged. This is my personal list.

Allowed (“Oh Yeahs!”)

  1. Blog Posts: I have a ton of blog post ideas that need to go from unwritten to finished.
  2. Video: Creating my first video ever, most likely a brief welcome on my About page.
  3. Book Reviews: A new spreadsheet with reviews of any book I've ever read. We'll see how many I can remember.
  4. Cards: I love making hand-made cards for friends and family. Bring on the birthday, anniversary, Mother's/Father's Day, and other cards!
  5. Product/Service Reviews: I've been using a ton of new products and services in my entrepreneur life. A number of them deserve a write up.
  6. Peace and Quiet: Walks with the dogs and yoga are fair game because they create peace and quiet.
  7. Sleep: Normal levels of sleep are OK as this isn't about productivity or “getting things done.” Plus, the quality of my creations will be crap unless some sleep is involved.
  8. New Relationships: There are really cool people in the neighborhood or online I want to create relationships with. Engaging them is worthy of creation time.
  9. Firsts for Grant: Creating some magical firsts for the 16 month old little guy.

The realities of life also require me to create some things that are outside the core of the challenge.

Gotta Do

  1. Meals for the Family: Creating and serving meals for Melinda and Grant are permitted so their basic needs can be met.
  2. Drinking Water: For safety reasons. This is the only thing physical I will consume.
  3. Sending Emails: I won't be reading incoming emails but I will occasionally send one.

Why This is an Awesome Idea

72 Hour Continuous Creation Challenge

Experimenting and being challenged is what I'm all about now. I've done a 48 hour fast before but I want to see what a 72 hour one is like. I do intermittent fasting often which is much easier when you're primally attuned.

Note: This isn't about how much weight I can lose or body image. It's just that everything that goes into consuming food (buying, prepping, eating, and cleaning up) takes a frickin' ton of time…time that could be used to create.

I'm also doing this simply because I can. Luckily, I have life and work flexibility to attempt this without too many complications.

In reality, I guess I don't really need a good “why” to have this be awesome. I mean, just think about what percent of your life is spent consuming!

If you shifted some of that consumption to creation, temporarily or permanently, how much could you achieve? How unbelievable could it be?

What projects could you finally get off the ground that have been sitting there – just waiting for some attention – for months or years?

Creating my own framework to force myself into non-stop creation is pretty bad-ass. I'll at least temporarily kick my consumption habits and do the things I want to do but can't normally force myself to do.

What the End Result Looks Like

I have no idea what the end result will look like. None.

But I'm going to find out how much I can create and how great it can be when consuming doesn't compete with creating.

I'll be recapping the experience in a follow up article next week that explores this and much more:

  • What's yoga like after 60+ hours of fasting?
  • Did I conceive and achieve something only because of enhanced mental clarity or creativity?
  • Were there any unexpected experiences that came about?
  • How hard was it to reenter a world where consumption is always competing with creation?

Then I'll walk you through how to modify this framework to fashion your own creation challenge.

So what do you think this will be like?

Is there anything you want me to create for you during these 72 hours? And can you think up your own challenge to consume less and create more?

Leave a comment to answer these questions or throw out some questions of your own.


Photo Credit: Liz Wong and kozzmen