Sometimes, it’s hard to find motivation and drive to get through the day, especially if it’s Monday. But working during the week shouldn’t be a hassle. Work is work, but it shouldn’t feel like torture. Following the example of a great leader who inspires you can help you find a routine that gets you through the week. Benjamin Franklin is considered to be a man who changed nations and subsequently changed lives. Here are some tips from this Founding Father’s schedule that can help you become just as great at your work.
If you were to take a look at Benjamin Franklin’s daily schedule (which you can), you would find that it’s very simple in design. You can learn two things from this. Firstly, it’s important to write down a schedule for the day to give yourself a clear idea of what to expect. Secondly, the schedule itself should be easy to scan and read. You shouldn’t need a magnifying glass to get through your daily activities.
Building a Sleep Schedule
A big part of Franklin’s schedule included his time for sleep. He used to sleep every night around 10 PM and wake up at 5 AM. That gave him around seven hours of solid sleep. He was a firm believer in the saying, “Early to bed, early to rise, makes a man healthy, wealthy, and wise.” Not only is building a good schedule important for your work, but it affects your health overall. Getting the required amount of Zs helps your body function better and makes for a longer productive day.
Start with Quiet
Once you’ve gotten your sleep schedule down, it’s time to start the day. How did Benjamin Franklin go about this? Did he begin it a bang and tackle the biggest task for the day first? No, Benjamin Franklin would start with what he called “addressing powerful goodness.” In other words, he would meditate or spend time praying. Even a few minutes of quiet meditation in the morning can help set the right attitude for the day. Nothing preps you for a hectic day at work like a few minutes of peaceful pep talking.
Plan for Good
Another thing that Franklin did every morning was plan out a good deed or act that he wanted to complete. Focusing on a virtue or any goal in the day can help you accomplish it more than if it was just an afterthought. Making something a priority is the best way you can stick with it, and the best way to make it a priority is to spend time thinking about and planning it out. Franklin would also include a method of accountability by asking himself if he completed the virtue or good act for the day at nighttime.
Dedicate Time for Mind Growth
Interestingly, one big part of Benjamin Franklin’s daily routine was to “prosecute the present study.” That means that he would spend time working on something that wasn’t related to work but was still beneficial to his personal growth. This could be anything from learning a new language or focusing on perfecting your hobbies. Planning time to engage in something that helps your mind grow, even if it’s not work, is important to staying happy during the work week.
Block Off the Day
Another neat trick Franklin used to plan his daily schedule was to block off the day. He would break up his work into two 4-hour sessions. Basically, he would engage in hard work from 8 am – 12 pm and from 2 pm – 6 pm. He would work on “shallow work,” or something that he could multitask with, during his lunchtime. This allowed him to work on important tasks when he had the most energy but also get done with his small daily errands and responsibilities.
After work was done for the day, Benjamin Franklin had the habit of making sure his desk and supplies were put away neatly before the next day started. This was actually something that he struggled with because of how busy his day was with his printing business. Even though it was a personal fight, he made sure to set up his work for the next day from before. That way, he could start right away when the new day began. Plus, having a clean and orderly desk makes everyone feel like working.
At the end of the day, Franklin would focus on including time for himself. Whether that’s listening to music or chatting with friends, giving yourself a break to do something other than work is important for productivity and overall happiness in your profession. Contrary to popular belief, downtime isn’t a waste of time; it’s just using it effectively to recharge for the next day.
Before heading to bed, Benjamin Franklin spent time thinking about the happenings of the day. He reflected on what went well and what he needed to work on for next time. He also pondered on whether or not he met his goal for his good deed for the day. Giving yourself time to reflect and regroup on the day allows you to mentally take stock and press restart for tomorrow.
Nothing is Perfect
Last but not least, it’s comforting to know that someone as great as Benjamin Franklin also had trouble following his schedule. Sometimes, his business would get in the way, and sometimes, his own personal struggle with following the list would. Not every day is the same, so you should expect your schedule to also fluctuate. As long as you’re making an active attempt to follow through with the plan, perfection shouldn’t be the goal. When someone like a Founding Father had trouble waking up on time, you shouldn’t feel bad about hitting the snooze button once in a while.