As someone who’s always on the lookout for ways to be more productive, I’m constantly trying out new techniques and tools. But sometimes, the best inspiration comes from the past. I recently stumbled upon Benjamin Franklin’s autobiography and was blown away by his daily routine.
Franklin was a true master of productivity. With so many roles and responsibilities – writer, printer, politician, entrepreneur, scientist, inventor, diplomat, and postmaster – it’s incredible that he managed to accomplish so much. But he did, and his secret was a simple yet rigorous daily routine.
As a morning person and creature of habit, Franklin woke up at the same time every day, worked a set number of hours, and went to bed at the same time each night. He even took a two-hour break for lunch. He divided his workday into two four-hour blocks and made sure to stop working at 5 p.m. As he famously said, “Lost time is never found again.”
Take a look at what Franklin’s daily schedule looked like:
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Benjamin Franklin Daily Routine
Benjamin Franklin knew how to start his day off right. He was a true morning person and a creature of habit. In fact, he had a routine that he followed religiously.
What was his secret? Well, for starters, he woke up at the crack of dawn – 4 a.m. to be exact! Then, he would get busy with his daily tasks. From 5 a.m. to 7 a.m., he would get up, wash up, and say a prayer to “Powerful Goodness” (whatever that means to you!), make his daily resolution, and have a hearty breakfast.
After that, it was time to get down to business. From 8 a.m. to 11 a.m., he would work his butt off. But not before a morning prep period to get his mind and body ready for the day ahead.
From noon to 1pm, he’d sort out his “accounts” (aka money stuff) and have some grub. Then he’d get to work on his projects that would impact his work as a governor.
Ben wasn’t afraid to take breaks though – he knew that resting up would actually help him stay focused. He’d work on his projects for four hours at a time, take a breather, and then dive back in until 5pm sharp.
The dude was all about using his time wisely – he once said, “Lost time is never found again.” But hey, even Benjamin knew that breaks were necessary for staying productive. So next time you’re grinding away at work, take a cue from ol’ Ben and give yourself a chance to recharge.
Franklin had a pretty chill evening routine. He knew how to unwind after a busy day of running the country.
So, what did he do in the evenings? Well, according to historical records, he would first “put things in their places,” which basically means he tidied up his stuff. Then he would sit down for a nice dinner, listen to some music, and do some other fun activities to relax.
But that’s not all! Before going to bed at 10 p.m. sharp, he would take some time to reflect on all the things he had accomplished during the day. Pretty cool, right? And he made sure to get six hours of sleep every night, which was just enough to rejuvenate him for the next day’s tasks.
All in all, it’s safe to say that Benjamin Franklin knew how to balance work and play, and his evening routine was a key part of that. So, if you’re feeling overwhelmed by your daily tasks, take a cue from this founding father and take some time to unwind before hitting the hay. Your mind and body will thank you!
7 Best Productivity Lessons From Franklin’s Daily Schedule
1. Keep it Simple
Franklin’s daily schedule was simple and focused on the essential. He only had six time blocks scheduled for each day, including sleep. Having a to-do list that’s overwhelming can be stressful and unproductive. Simplify your schedule by focusing on the most important tasks and avoid overloading yourself with unnecessary work.
2. Early to Bed and Early to Rise
Franklin’s mantra was “early to bed and early to rise makes a man healthy, wealthy, and wise.” He woke up at 5 am and went to bed at 10 pm, getting a total of 7 hours of sleep each night. It’s important to note that the consistency of your sleep schedule is what matters most. By going to bed and waking up at the same time each day, you’ll train your brain to fall asleep faster and improve the quality of your sleep.
3. Spend Time in Solitude
After waking up, Franklin would take a shower and then spend some time in prayer or meditation. This daily habit of solitude gave him the much-needed clarity and focus to plan his day and follow through on his plans. Take some time each day to reflect on your goals and priorities. This can help you stay focused and make better decisions.
4. Set an Intention and Plan Your Day
Every morning, before starting his day, Franklin would ask himself, “What good shall I do this day?” This question helped him set his intention for the day and focus on his most important task. He would then pick a virtue to focus on, and plan his day’s business accordingly. Setting an intention and creating a plan of action each morning can help you stay focused on your goals and avoid getting sidetracked by unimportant tasks.
5. Make Time for Personal Projects
Franklin would set aside some time every day to work on personal projects, separate from his regular work. This time would be spent reading books or papers or pursuing other interests. This habit helped him maintain a lifelong passion for learning. You don’t have to work in education to be a life-long learner; you can spend this time learning a language, playing an instrument, or pursuing your hobbies.
6. Take Time to Relax and Recharge
After a long day at work, Franklin would clean up his work space, eat dinner, and spend the evening relaxing, listening to music, and catching up with his friends. This downtime allowed him to recharge his brain and body, preparing him for the challenges of the next day. Taking some time to relax and unwind is a powerful productivity tool that can help you maintain your energy levels and avoid burnout.
7. Reflect on Your Day and Improve Your Daily Schedule
Before going to bed, Franklin would reflect on his day and ask himself, “What good have I done today?” He would note down what went well and what didn’t, and look for ways to improve his daily schedule. This habit helped him identify time-wasting activities that drained his energy and make changes to improve his productivity. Similarly, an evening audit of your daily productivity can help you uncover areas where you can improve your schedule and avoid time-wasting activities.