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Six Timeless Benjamin Franklin Principles To Improve Productivity

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The name, Benjamin Franklin, is one that is resounding in history. He was one of the founding fathers of the United States. Also, he’s renowned for his many achievements. He was a leading author, political theorist, politician, civic activist, statesman and diplomat. Franklin invented the lightning rod and made significant discoveries in Physics and population studies. In addition to this, he also had a flair for music. He composed music and played the violin, harp and guitar.


How does a man with the same 24 hours as everyone else achieve this much? No one with the knowledge of history isn’t aware that the man on the $100 bill is remarkable. You have to be to appear on the American dollar anyway.




Benjamin Franklin was just a regular man with unique principles that helped him achieve great feats. In his 84 years, he lived by his principles and, amongst all of them, six stand out. According to him, “if you fail to plan, you plan to fail.” So, the first step to improving productivity is the first step you’ve taken now: planning. Reading this is your first step to success. Read further to get an insight into six resonantly timeless principles as postulated by Benjamin Franklin.


Six timeless Benjamin Franklin principles to improve productivity

As recorded in his autobiography, Benjamin Franklin’s daily schedule is one to live by. After over 300 years, this schedule can still be readily adapted by any individual. You can adjust it as you deem fit. Either way, you’d still find his manner of scheduling a helpful resource for achieving a more productive day if adhered to.


Below is his daily schedule as seen in his autobiography. With this schedule and his many words of wisdom, some of which are reflected in his books, you can plan a productive schedule for yourself.


Benjamin Franklin’s Daily Schedule


1. Early to bed, early to rise

“Early to bed and early to rise makes a man healthy, wealthy and wise.”
— Benjamin Franklin


He went to bed at 10 pm and was up at 5 am daily. By doing this, he had a seven-hour duration of sleep. By doing this daily, you become consistent and your mind grows accustomed to this, helping you rely less on your alarm. This helps keep you healthy as you have a healthy and consistent sleep routine. Most people don’t have a fixed time for rest and can sometimes be caught up in a night routine that makes them go to bed later than usual. The next morning, it becomes a battle with the alarm! There’s a reason he went to bed early and woke up early as well. Read on to find out why.


2. Have a quiet time

“Reading makes a full man, meditation a profound man.”
— Benjamin Franklin


Benjamin Franklin usually took time out to pray or meditate. This helped his mindfulness. Waking up early gives you time to prepare for the day ahead. You can also take time out to meditate and pray before you begin the day-planning process.


3. Plan your day

“By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail.”
— Benjamin Franklin


Imagine how much time you could save if you walked into your office with a plan in place. After meditating or praying, Benjamin would “contrive the day’s business.” He could clearly plan and prepare for the day ahead after he had achieved mindfulness. To achieve this, he probably made a to-do-list, set out goals and prioritised them.


Then he would ask himself, “What good shall I do today?” Certainly, among them was to be productive that day. He achieved all of this before breakfast!


Imagine if you could follow this routine instead of waking up late and hurrying your way to an already disorganised day. It would help make life easier for you knowing you have a set goal and intention for the day.


4. Create a time block to working

“Happiness consists more in the small pleasures that occur every day, than in great pieces of good fortune that happen but seldom to a man in the course of his life.”
— Benjamin Franklin


Yes, the work schedule says you have to work for a certain number of hours. However, who says you can’t create a time-block. Doing a time-block for deep and shallow work actually helps you become more productive. In his time-block, he allocated two four-hour time blocks. He worked deeply from 8 am till 12 pm, and from 2 pm till 6 pm. Then, he had a shallow time-block from 12 am to 2 pm, while he also had lunch. In this time-block, he took out time to review his finances. What will you do with your shallow work time-block?


5. Put things in place after work

After a long day at work, he suggests that you put things in their place. Don’t leave work without organising yourself and ensuring your desk is clear. Sure, it might seem like you’re saving time by walking away. Whereas if you return to that workstation the next day, you will spend a longer time organising yourself. Therefore, ensure you clear out your workstation in preparation for the next day.


6. Set out downtime for family

“We don’t stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing.”
— Benjamin Franklin


Benjamin Franklin knew how to relax after a long day. He achieved this simply by eating dinner and spending the rest of the evening relaxing, listening to music and catching up with his friends. This was his way of letting loose after a long day. What better way to manage stress than this? You should set out time for your family and friends as well.


Finally, you should learn to reflect on your day spent before going to bed. Did you achieve all you set out to achieve? What ways can you do better the next day? He always asked himself, “What good have I done today?” Ask yourself that too.


Success is a habit. So, put in the work and don’t give up. However, don’t aim for perfection. No one is without flaws. Even Benjamin Franklin wasn’t 100% adept to following the schedule, but he didn’t give up. You shouldn’t either.

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