The Power of TEN

If you're a long-time follower, you will recognize this principle as I've shared it before. It still is the best way I trick myself into getting things done!

When a large task overwhelms me, or I'm lacking in motivation, I use my "TEN Trick" to get started. Just spend 10 minutes working on something. Just do 10 quick things to contribute to the overall project. Those little bits of effort here and there add up. Often, I will get in the mode once I've worked for a few minutes or finished a few tasks and I'll keep going. Other times I at least know I have an "out" coming and that doing something is better than doing nothing.

Need some examples? Here are real ways I've applied this principle in my life on a regular basis.

  • The storage room is a mess - I'll spend 10 minutes organizing it.
  • The dirty dishes are stacked on the counter - I'll rinse 10 of them and put them in the dishwasher.
  • My hard drive is filled with unzipped files - I'll unzip 10 of them and put them away in the proper file.
  • My email inbox is out of hand - I'll fully process 10 emails by reading them, completing the action they require, and deleting them.
  • A room is messy - Pick up 10 items and put them away.
  • The mail is piling up - open and process 10 items.
  • I haven't blogged or journaled in ages - I'll write for 10 minutes.
  • Out of ideas for dinners - Look for 10 new recipes.
  • House is feeling too cluttered - gather 10 items to give away.
  • Haven't backed up photos in a long time - pick 10 and upload them to computer and another backup like Flickr.

You get the idea, right? Just start somewhere and do a few things. The number 10 works well for me because I start getting excited about doing 10 sets of 10 little things, which means I have actually done 100 tasks! Often, I get going and do even more. If not, at least I got started and I can repeat the trick again in the future to continue the progress. Eventually, it all adds up into finished tasks and projects.