Ben Franklin is well known for his productive life. He was an inventor, statesman, author, printer, politician, postmaster, scientist, inventor, and more. How did he get it all done in one lifetime?!
He did it by utilizing a daily routine.
I know what you’re thinking, that a daily routine is too restrictive. At work, it isn’t unusual for the tasks and projects you had planned to tackle that day to get sidelined for higher priority ones as decreed by your boss. Also, each day brings with it unanticipated surprises such as your usual commute time of 20 minutes turning into an hour or two; your child forgetting to tell you that you were designated to bake two dozen brownies for the school bake sale the next day….
Yes, unexpected changes in plans do happen but they don’t negate the helpfulness of a daily plan and routine. I’m sure Ben Franklin had interruptions and last-minute adjustments to deal with as well. They aren’t a reason to get discouraged and give up. When this happens, take a moment to regroup, review your routine and tweak it as necessary to accommodate the changes, then get back to it.
Here’s what I like about Ben Franklin’s plan:
~Ben chunked together blocks of time for specific purposes.
In the mornings, he has a block of time for meditating (“addressing Powerful Goodness”} and for choosing a specific overall focus of the day (“What good shall I do today?”). Also, he takes time for breakfast rather than grabbing it on the go.
He then has a block of time for concentrating on his work of the day.
He breaks for lunch and lighter work or study that requires less concentration. Perhaps on some days he used this time for reading for pleasure or taking a walk if the day was particularly fine–indulging in activities that he found refreshing.
Then he has another chunk of time for work, then finishes his day with straightening up his work space, enjoying a meal, then some type of leisure activity. He completes his day with a before-bed routine of reflection on the day including the good that he accomplished that day.
~He included time for self-care.
He scheduled into each day a time for study (in the morning “prosecute the present study”), for reading (at lunchtime), and for relaxing (in the evening “Music, diversion, or conversation”).
~Ben Franklin gifted himself with the proper amount of sleep for his bodily needs.
Research is finding what Ben Franklin apparently already knew: there’s no sustaining a productive, interesting life without the proper amount of rest for your particular body’s needs. Yes, we all have to burn the midnight oil occasionally–I’m sure even Ben Franklin did. But it is not sustainable and research, including peoples’ observable experiences, proves that mental acuity and bodily health will suffer over time if proper rest isn’t had.
~He gave himself time for reflection.
Not only did he connect with Powerful Goodness but he had a meaningful purpose for each day (“What good shall I do this day?”). It was probably a purpose that was bigger than himself and any demands of his ego. He also took the time each day to reflect on the good he did during the day. Perhaps he fell short–and in his biography he states that he often fell short–but he probably came up with practical and doable ways of doing better then next day.
In conclusion, the key is that instead of looking at routines as ideas that are unrealistic and unworkable, look at the overall gist of the routine and apply that to your life.
Ben Franklin’s routine addresses all aspects of living and allocates time for work, for study, for meditating, for relaxation, for self-care, and for proper rest.
All of these are the hallmarks of a well-rounded, soul-prospering life.
What aspects of Ben Franklin’s routine stand out to you? Which ones will you incorporate into your life? Share in the comments below. Thanks!
Your Friend and Pep Pal,