History

Benjamin Franklin's Daily Schedule For Productivity Was Rigorous

Benjamin Franklin didn't become one of history's greatest inventors just by sitting around. His daily schedule was pretty intense. This meticulous and rigorous routine may seem impossible to follow, but it could mean a serious productivity boost if you can stick to waking up at 5 a.m. every day...

Here's The Schedule Franklin Strived To Keep

5-8 a.m.: "Rise, wash and address Powerful Goodness; contrive day's business and take the resolution of the day; prosecute the present study; and breakfast."

8 a.m.-12 p.m.: Work.

12-2 p.m.: "Read or overlook my accounts, and dine."

2-6 p.m.: Work.

6-10 p.m.: "Put things in their places, supper, music, or diversion, or conversation; examination of the day."

10 p.m.-5 a.m.: Sleep.

During breakfast, Franklin would ask himself, "What good shall I do this day?" And the question he asked himself before going to sleep: "What good have I done today?"

Don't Worry—Not Even Franklin Himself Could Keep Up

You may notice a key element of Franklin's routine is the focus on himself. Call it selfishness, but this focus is important when it comes to being productive with the things you need to do. Don't forget those questions that inform the whole day: "What good shall I do this day?" and "What good have I done today?" Self-improvement was another important factor for Franklin.

But if all of this feels like too many regimented blocks on time and far too much pressure, don't fret. Franklin himself was bad at sticking to his schedule. As written in his autobiography and reported by The Atlantic, "I enter'd upon the execution of this plan for self-examination, and continu'd it with occasional intermissions for some time. I was surpris'd to find myself so much fuller of faults than I had imagined; but I had the satisfaction of seeing them diminish. [...] My scheme of ORDER gave me the most trouble ; and I found that, tho' it might be practicable where a man's business was such as to leave him the disposition of his time, that of a journeyman printer, for instance, it was not possible to be exactly observed by a master, who must mix with the world, and often receive people of business at their own hours." At least he tried, you know?

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Could You Follow Ben Franklin's Schedule For A Day?

Hear from a guy who tried it out. Good luck with the waking at 5 a.m. thing...

Written By Curiosity Staff January 25, 2017