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In this episode, one woman shows us the 10/10/10 routine, and how it's allowed her to refocus her priorities and help deal with anxiety.

Through bi-weekly video essays, "Making It Work" showcases how *real* people have upgraded their personal or financial lives in some meaningful way. Making your life work for you doesn't mean getting rich just for the sake of it. It means making the most of what you have to build a life you love, both in your present and in your future. And while managing money is a crucial life skill for everyone, there's no one "right way" to go about it — you have to figure out what works best for *you,* full stop.

Video by Grace Lee

Written by Skylar Hunyadi

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The 10/10/10 routine began as a week long experiment for me.

I was getting sick of continuously putting hobbies that bring me peace and nourishment on the back burner. Given, I'm a busy person.

I am a full-time therapist, a part-time online graduate student, occasional freelance writer, a cat mom to kittens, in a long-term relationship, along with active friend groups, on top of just being a person who needs to shower and eat three plus times a day. So I consulted my long-distance friend Emma who is also prone to endless TikTok scrolling and leads just as busy a life. The 10/10/10 routine consists of spending 30 minutes doing three 10-minute leisure activities.

These 10 minutes can be completed consecutively or split up through different times of the day. But the idea is to have at least 30 minutes of personal time per day. If this routine were to be implemented seven days per week, that's three and 1/2 hours more dedicated to personal pursuits.

The structure of the routine is flexible, maybe it becomes 5/5/5 or even 2/2/2, as not everyone has the privilege of 30 minutes to themselves every day. At the core of this routine is dedicating small moments to meaningful activities. This loosely implements the rule of three, which states that putting items in triads results in a more satisfying and appealing experience to create more satisfaction from the routine, aiming to complete three personal activities in 30 minutes.

Emma and I enlisted one another as empowerment buddies, as she wanted to begin a morning meditation practice. Most mornings, not always, we send a quick, hello. I'm awake doing the thing I said I wanted to do video.

Not only do I look forward to our groggy morning hellos, but I feel such pride that my friend is taking time to care for herself alongside me. For about a month now, I have been starting most days with 10 minutes of stretching and yoga, 10 minutes of writing in my journal, and 10 minutes of reading. And I have noticed some changes in myself.

Here's what's changed since adopting my 10/10/10 routine. According to my mood and habit tracker, I am experiencing more positive than negative moods throughout the last few weeks. I adjusted my evening routine to be in bed by 9:30 PM so that I could have plenty of time to enjoy my 10/10/10 in the morning without feeling rushed.

This has brought more structure to my evening and less opportunity for that tempting hour-long scroll before bed, also more sleep. I feel personally accomplished before I even step out of the door in the morning. Because I give myself a taste of my 10/10/10 activities in the morning, I am more inclined to carve out moments of these activities in the evening, especially to finish the chapter I started reading that morning.

I can sense the boundary between my work and personal life strengthened. I feel closer to my empowerment body. I am more in control of my free time.

And feel more closer to who I am outside of work. And I am practicing flexibility with myself. Some days, I just don't want to do my 10/10/10.

And some days, I do just one activity. Here are some tips to get started. Choose three or fewer activities that you find yourself wishing you had time to do on a regular day.

Go with your gut. What are the first three that pop into your head? Change the time variable if you need.

Starting with three 3/3/3 is entirely acceptable. Set yourself up the night ahead, as my empowerment buddy encouraged me to do. I literally open my journal to a fresh page each night and place it on my rolled out yoga mat.

Use a focus or timer app to keep you on track with each activity. I use the Forest app which echoes the Pomodoro method of focusing in short spurts. Pair other passive habits with your activities.

For example, I drink a big glass of water while completing my 10/10/10. Do not be strict with yourself. Act intuitively by only doing these series of hobbies when you feel physically, emotionally, and mentally up to it.

A healthy routine adapts to you, not the other way around. I cannot emphasize this enough. Have an empowerment buddy of some sort, even if it's your pet.

They can be really good cheerleaders. Take a few extra minutes to notice how you feel after completing your 10/10/10. Tuning into this feeling will likely encourage you to continue the ritual.

Now, I would be lying if I said I wasn't a sucker for all things routine, rituals, and lifestyle hacks. I love a good formula branded to bring me personal fulfillment. But what I've learned from my time scouring the internet for a perfect and effortless lifestyle solution to my lack of leisure time is that there isn't a quick fix solution, only small intentional changes that add up to bigger, more noticeable ones.

Getting through the first few weeks of a routine is a major challenge for me. I think approaching this new routine from a growth mindset was key to my sticking with the first week, meaning simply believing your time and effort will eventually lead to success. In essence, someone with a growth mindset takes the initial clunkiness of integrating a new routine in stride and focuses more on being present during the routine, than getting the gold star for completing it.

As I approached the month mark of my routine, I feel less anxiety in the mornings. As a person diagnosed with generalized anxiety disorder, it's crucial for me to notice when in my day I feel the tensest, most worried, and not in the present, and respond to that with mindful intervention. Mornings have historically been a time in which I worry about the day to come and the knots in my neck and shoulders begin to form.

While the 10/10/10 routine hasn't cured my anxiety or even lessened it dramatically, the routine has softened my mornings and set a positive tone to my days. The 10/10/10 is a framework in which you can plug-in activities that cultivate personal identity. In a world that demands so much from us, remember to reserve some of that energy to just be you, whoever that may be.

I'm a yogi, journalist, and bookworm.