Life Area: Personal
10 Productivity Hacks We Can Learn From Benjamin Franklin’s Daily Schedule
For my Sunday reading, I selected one of my favorite books off my bookshelf, an autobiography: Benjamin Franklin, America’s Original Entrepreneur.
In Franklin’s 84 years of life he was not only a statesman and one of the United States’ founding fathers, he was also an inventor, author, publisher, musician, diplomat, and founded many civic organizations including the library system and the University of Pennsylvania.
As I thumbed through the book, I noticed a number of productivity hacks and daily disciplines that you may want to integrate into your daily schedule.
Known as the author of many historic and modern-day axioms, such as “The early bird, gets the worm” and “A penny saved, is a penny earned”. What Franklin may not be so well known for is his self-discipline, including his daily habits and how he conducted his day. Here’s a view of his calendar on a typical day and some noticeable principles for us to imitate:
1. Keep it simple
The first thing to note about Franklin’s daily schedule is its simplicity. There are only six time blocks scheduled for each day, and one of these blocks includes sleep — an obvious necessity. There’s no overwhelming to-do list of things to get done. It’s simple, focused on the essential, and highly effective. Read this past blog post of mine, Try Time Blocking Instead of a To-Do List, to learn more about the merits of time blocking.
2. Go to bed and wake up at the same time each day
One of Franklin’s most popular axioms was “Early to bed and early to rise makes a man healthy, wealthy, and wise,” and according to this schedule, he definitely lived up to it. Each day, Franklin woke up at 5am and went to bed at 10pm, for a total of seven hours of sleep each night. It’s important to note however, that what matters most isn’t the time you go to bed or wake up, it’s the consistency of your sleep schedule. As you’ve heard me say before, your body will tell you the optimum amount of sleep and the hours of the day that are best for you. For instance, my optimum number of hours is 8 hours of sleep between the hours of 10pm and 6am. You know my standard answer by now when asked: “How do you have so much energy?,” it’s “Eat good nutrition and drink plenty of water, do some form of exercise daily, and get plenty of sleep!” 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. To track the hours and quality of your sleep, try the Sleep Cycle app I discuss in my blog post: 8 Ways to Gain Energy Naturally or The Productivity Sweet Spot blog post or in the Talk with Tom podcast episode of the same name.