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5 Organizing Tips from Ben Franklin

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.

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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.

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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.

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Why 13?

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.

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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!

5. Repeat

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.

More by this author

Zachary Domes

Zachary values simplicity and shares about lifestyle and organizing tips on Lifehack.

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Last Updated on January 21, 2020

What Is Creativity? We All Have It, and Need It

What Is Creativity? We All Have It, and Need It

Do you think of yourself as a creative person? Do you play the drums or do watercolor paintings? Perhaps compose songs or direct plays? Can you even relate to any of these so called ‘creative’ experiences? Growing up, did you ever have that ‘artistic’ sibling or friend who excelled in drawing, playing instruments or literature? And you maybe wondered why you can’t even compose a birthday card greeting–or that drawing stick figures is the furthest you’ll ever get to drawing a family portrait. Many people have this common assumption that creativity is an inborn talent; only a special group of people are inherently creative, and everyone else just unfortunately does not have that special ability. You either have that creative flair or instinct, or you don’t. But, this is far from the truth! So what is creativity?

Can I Be Creative?

The fact is, that everyone has an innate creative ability. Despite what most people may think, creativity is a skill that everyone can learn and hone on. It’s a skill with huge leverage that allows you to generate enormous amounts of value from relatively little input. How is that so? You’ll have to start by expanding your definition of creativity. Ironically, you have to be creative and ‘think out of the box’ with the definition! Creativity at its heart, is being able to see things in a way that others cannot. It’s a skill that helps you find new perspectives to create new possibilities and solutions to different problems. So, if you encounter different challenges and problems that need solving on a regular basis, then creativity is an invaluable skill to have.Let’s say, for example, that you work in sales. Having creativity will help you to look for new ways to approach and reach out to potential customers. Or perhaps you’re a teacher. In this role you have to constantly look for new ways to deliver your message and educate your students.

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How Creativity Works

Let me break another misconception about creativity, which is that it’s only used to create completely “new” or “original” things. Again, this is far from the truth. Because nothing is ever completely new or original. Everything, including works of art, doesn’t come from nothing. Everything derives from some sort of inspiration. That means that creativity works by connecting things together in order to derive new meaning or value.From this perspective, you can see a lot of creativity in action. In technology, Apple combines traditional computers with design and aesthetics to create new ways to use digital products. In music, a musician may be inspired by various styles of music, instruments and rhythms to create an entirely new type of song. All of these examples are about connecting different ideas, finding common ground amongst the differences, and creating a completely new idea out of them.

What Really Is Creativity?

Creativity Needs an Intention

Another misconception about the creative process is that you can just be in a general “creative” state. Real creativity isn’t about coming up with “eureka!” moments for random ideas. Instead, to be truly creative, you need to have a direction. You have to ask yourself this question: “What problem am I trying to solve?” Only by knowing the answer to this question can you start flexing your creativity muscles. Often times, the idea of creativity is associated with the ‘Right’ brain, with intuition and imagination. Hence a lot of focus is placed on the ‘Right’ brain when it comes to creativity. But, to get the most out of creativity, you need to utilize both sides of your brain–Right and Left–which means using the analytical and logical part of your brain, too. This may sound surprising to you, but creativity has a lot to do with problem solving. And, problem solving inherently involves logic and analysis. So instead of throwing out the ‘Left’ brain, full creativity needs them to work in unison. For example, when you’re looking for new ideas, your ‘Left’ brain will guide you to a place of focus, which is based on your objective behind the ideas you’re searching for. The ‘Right’ brain then guides you to gather and explore based on your current focus. And when you decide to try out these new ideas, your ‘Right’ brain will give you novel solutions outside of the ones you already know. Your ‘Left’ brain then helps you evaluate and tune the solutions to work better in practice. So, logic and creativity actually work hand in hand, and not one at the expense of the other.

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Creativity Is a Skill

At the end of the day, creativity is a skill. It’s not some innate or natural born talent that some have over others. What this means is that creativity and innovation can be practiced and improved upon systematically.A skill can be learned and practiced by applying your strongest learning styles. Want to know what your learning style is? Try this test. A skill can be measured and improved through a Feedback Loop, and can be continuously upgraded over time by regular practice. Through regular practice, your creativity goes through different stages of proficiency. This means that you can become more and more creative! If you never thought that creativity was relevant to you, or that you don’t have a knack for being creative… think again! You can use creativity in any aspect of your life. In fact you should use it, as it will allow you to to break through your usual loop, get you out of your comfort zone, and inspire you to grow and try new things. Creativity will definitely give you an edge when you’re trying to solve a problem or come up with new solutions.

Start Connecting the Dots

Excited to start honing your creativity? Here at Lifehack, we’ve got a wealth of knowledge to help you get started. We understand that creativity is a matter of connecting things together in order to derive new meaning or value. So, if you want to learn how to start connecting the dots, check out these tips:

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Featured photo credit: rawpixel via unsplash.com

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