5 Organizing Tips from Ben Franklin
1. Make a Daily Routine
“For every minute spent in organizing, an hour is earned.”
Benjamin Franklin is often known for creating the lightning rod, inventing the bifocals, editing the first Almanac, and helping to found the United States of America. Franklin is considered to have been a polymath, or having been knowledgeable in many things. Truly, no average person can create such an extensive list of inventions, projects, and hobbies as Franklin did. However, if Franklin could somehow find the time to conquer the many tasks he had, then surely we can find a way to better manage our very own daily routines.
The first key to organizing is to organize our time. Write down your daily routine. Here is an example of Ben Franklin’s routine. This is pretty basic, but it is one of the most important things you can do to manage your time. Seeing your daily routine on paper puts the day into perspective. We can separate our work time from our downtime and feel in control of what we are going to do.
2. Check Your Routine
Once you’ve put your routine down on paper, make sure to check it everyday. Ideally, looking at your schedule each morning helps to put the day in perspective. Overtime, you may change your routine, but it will happen naturally.
If we let it, life can get in the way. But by writing down our routine, checking it for a minute or two each day, and continuing this habit, we can eventually find a way to not let life get in the way.
3. Write Down 13 Things to Organize
The average person has at least 13 things (often many more) that they can organize. This could be anything from your entire living room to the glove compartment in your car to your iTunes collection. Make a list of the 13 most important things that you should organize.
Besides scheduling, Benjamin Franklin was also very productive. He decided that instead of working on all of his traits at the same time, he would work on one each week. By doing this, we can give our complete energy (and not just the physical energy to organize, but the mental energy to think about what were organizing) to one thing. It isn’t helpful for us to be thinking about several projects while we are also trying to work on just one project. 13 is also 25% of 52, or one quarter of a year. Which means we can create a cycle.
4. Organize One Thing a Week
Start with organizing just one thing. Write down in your daily routine that you will devote some time each day to organizing that one thing. If it’s the living room that you want to organize, then break the room into sections and organize it day by day.
Focus on implementing a system for that one thing. If during that week you work on not only organizing, but developing a system to keep the place organized, then you shouldn’t have to worry about it as much as time progresses. A week is a perfect amount of time to organize something. It is a long enough time to organize something well and not feel stressed about it. It is also short enough to make organizing new things interesting. Organizing things week to week might actually start to become, should I dare say, fun!
Once you reach the thirteenth item on the list, start again at the first one. If you make notes while you organize, then you can look back to see how much has changed since you organized 13 weeks ago. The notes will also help you to see what you could work on to make keeping the place better organized.
This process of organizing the things in your life is simple and slow. The things in your life that need order do not organize themselves and they can’t be organized overnight. It takes patience. It’s also no use in becoming overwhelmed by how much there is to organize. Take your time and work on one thing at a time. And don’t take it from me, but from the Founding Father, Ben Franklin.
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