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What You Can Learn From Benjamin Franklin’s Daily Schedule

What You Can Learn From Benjamin Franklin’s Daily Schedule

We like to see our forefathers as these mythical superheroes who were larger than life and accomplished more than we are capable of ourselves. Fact is, they’re just simple men and women, like us, who ate, slept, pooped, and thought, just like we do. One such man, Benjamin Franklin (the old guy on the $50 bill), kept a documented daily schedule which you can view below:

Shoot, I left off, "Dispose of hooker in trunk..."

    Shoot, I left off, “Dispose of hooker in trunk…”

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    Benjamin Franklin’s schedule teaches us a lot of valuable lessons. Here are a few things you can learn from this founding father’s routine:

    1. Steady as She Goes

    This is Benjamin Franklin’s actual daily routine. This is how he lived his life every day. Whether inventing bifocals, freeing the American colonies, or negotiating with foreign diplomats, Franklin followed the same routine as often as possible. This steady regimen provided the balance necessary in his life to accomplish all of those other great things we read about, and praise.  If you aspire to have your praises sung like Benji, you need to find a balance.

    2. All About the Benjamins

    Money and time are resources you spend to accomplish things in life; you spend one, the other, or both. Understand, however, that you must budget both. Your budget needs to be tangible and in your face. Remember when deciding whether to spend time or money that it took you time to earn that money. Your time budget, or how you allocate the hours in each day, is much more important than your financial one. Plan accordingly.

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    3.Work Like It Doesn’t Matter

    You’ll notice nothing in Franklin’s schedule is job-specific; you can’t even tell what he does for a living. He drafted a simple schedule that any human being can follow. Even if you can’t hit the same hours because of work, family, and other obligations, you can simply shift the hours in the schedule. The point is to ensure a separation of work and self that’s much more important than church and State.

    4. Make Time for Yourself

    Nearly everything on Franklin’s list is selfish. The foundation of his daily schedule is himself. It’s only after he takes care of himself that he focuses on work and doing a good deed for others. If you’re not taking care of yourself, you’re likely not doing as much good as you think. You can’t disconnect from yourself, so make sure you keep you up and running at all times.

    5. Life Is Easy

    I know there are bills, stress, work, school, annoying bosses, coworkers, classmates, traffic, lines, and blah blah blah. I get it; it’s not like I live is some alternate reality that’s completely separate from you and your life. I’m 33, have no car, and sleep on a floor. I still smile because life really is easy. It takes hard work, but I treat my life like Ben Franklin does. By shifting my focus, I don’t think about the days I walk 20 miles or stay in bed because I don’t have much enough money to buy food. No matter what’s happening in my life, coping and succeeding are both a matter of routine.

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    6. Learning Something New Every Day Is a Goal, Not an Epiphany

    I hear a lot of people say, “you learn something new every day,” when surprised by some random new fact. This always made me chuckle, because those people don’t say that every day. In reality, they’re learning something new 3-5 days a month. Benjamin Franklin made a goal to learn something new every day, and he didn’t even have the Internet. Whether at school, home, work, or through friends, you have access to the combined knowledge of the human race at your fingertips. You should be learning 1000 new things a day, minimum.

    7. Organization Is King

    Budgeting your time and money is important, and organizing where everything goes is essential to sticking with that budget. At the end of every day, Ben Franklin put his toys back in their box, just like your mom made you do as a kid. This is because a messy work space is counterintuitive to actual work. When you keep your things organized, you feel less flustered, and you’re less likely to make impulsive decisions.

    8. Exams Are Mandatory

    Question everything; just don’t overthink yourself or you’ll end up never doing anything. Franklin asked himself every evening whether or not he accomplished his goals. By keeping track, he holds himself responsible. There are no excuses. Be accountable for your goals. The cigarette you sneak, the candy bar you don’t tell people in your Zumba class about, it’s all hurting yourself and no one else. If even you won’t listen to you, who else will?

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    9. Peter Plan

    Plans are essential to accomplishments, and Franklin’s schedule is the perfect plan. It’s detailed enough to begin following as a guide, yet basic enough to be easily adapted to a variety of situations and scenarios you’ll likely find yourself facing in real life. You never know what life will hand you. Don’t be so rigid in your plans that you do nothing, but have one like Franklin’s, so no matter what happens, you have a point to start over from.

    10. Do Good, Give Good

    Katie McCarthy has an amazing podcast called Give Good; in it, she profiles people who dedicate their lives to enriching the lives of others by seeking justice, providing charity, and helping others that need it. Listening to the podcast is a great way to see what others around the world are doing to contribute good deeds to the world. If you want to use Benjamin Franklin’s daily schedule as your own, and I highly recommend you do, find a way to do something meaningful for someone else.

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    Last Updated on September 24, 2020

    17 Ways Learn New Skills Faster and Enjoy the Process

    17 Ways Learn New Skills Faster and Enjoy the Process

    In the movie The Matrix, everyone was intrigued with the ability that Neo and his friends possessed to learn new skills in a matter of seconds. With the incredible rise in technology today, the rapid learning in the movie is becoming much more of a reality than you realize.

    The current generation has access to more knowledge and information than any before it. Through the internet, we are able to access all sorts of knowledge to answer almost every conceivable question. To become smarter, it’s more about the ability to learn faster, rather than being a natural born genius.

    Here are 17 ways to kickstart your Matrix-style learning experience in a short amount of time.

    1. Deconstruct and Reverse Engineer

    Break down the skill that you want to learn into little pieces and learn techniques to master an isolated portion. The small pieces will come together to make up the whole skill.

    For example, when you’re learning to play the guitar, learn how to press down a chord pattern with your fingers first without even trying to strum the chord. Once you are able to change between a couple of chord patterns, then add the strumming.

    2. Use the Pareto Principle

    Use the Pareto Principle, which is also known as the 80 20 rule. Identify the 20% of the work that will give you 80% of the results. Find out more about the 80 20 rule here: What Is the 80 20 Rule (And How to Use It to Boost Productivity)

    Take learning a new language for example. It does not take long to realize that some words pop up over and over again as you’re learning. You can do a quick search for “most commonly used French words,” for example, and begin to learn them first before adding on the rest.

    3. Make Stakes

    Establish some sort of punishment for not learning the skill that you are seeking. There are sites available that allow you to make a donation toward a charity you absolutely hate if you do not meet your goals. Or you can place a bet with a friend to light that fire under you.

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    However, keep in mind that several studies have shown that rewards tend to be more motivating than punishment[1].

    4. Record Yourself

    Seeing yourself on video is a great way to learn from your mistakes and identify areas that you need to improve. This is very effective for any musicians, actors, speakers, performers, and dancers.

    5. Join a Group

    There are huge benefits to learning in a group. Not only are you able to learn from others but you’ll be encouraged to make progress together. Whether it’s a chess club, a mastermind group, or an online meet-up group, get connected with other like-minded individuals.

    6. Time Travel

    Visit the library. Although everything is moving more and more online, there are still such things called libraries.

    Whether it’s a municipal library or your university library, you will be amazed at some of the books available there that are not accessible online. Specifically, look for the hidden treasures and wisdom contained in the really old books.

    7. Be a Chameleon

    When you want to learn new skills, imitate your biggest idol. Watch a video and learn from seeing someone else do it. Participate in mimicry and copy what you see.

    Studies have shown that, apart from learning,[2]

    “Mimicry is an effective tool not only to create ties and social relationships, but also for maintaining them.”

    Visual learning is a great way to speed up the learning process. YouTube has thousands of videos on almost every topic available.

    8. Focus

    Follow one course until success! It’s easy to get distracted, to throw in the towel, or to become interested in the next great thing and ditch what you initially set out to do.

    Ditch the whole idea of multitasking, as it has been shown to be detrimental and unproductive Simply focus on the one new skill at hand until you get it done.

    9. Visualize

    The mind has great difficulty distinguishing between what is real and what is imagined. That is why athletes practice mentally seeing their success before attempting the real thing[3].

    Visualize yourself achieving your new skill and each step that you need to make to see results. This is an important skill to help when you’re learning the basics or breaking a bad habit.

    Take a look at this article to learn how to do so: How to Become a Person Who Can Visualize Results

    10. Find a Mentor

    Success leaves clues. The best short cut to become an expert is to find an expert and not have to make the mistakes that they have made.

    Finding out what NOT to do from the expert will fast-track your learning when you want to learn new skills. It is a huge win to have them personally walk you through what needs to be done. Reach out and send an email to them.

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    If you need help learning how to find a mentor, check out this article.

    11. Sleep on It

    Practice your new skill within four hours of going to sleep.

    Josh Kaufman, author of The Personal MBA, is a noted rapid learning expert. He says that any practice done within this time frame causes your brain to embed the learning more rapidly into its neural pathways. Your memory and motor-mechanics are ingrained at a quicker level.

    12. Use the 20-Hour Rule

    Along with that tip, Kaufman also suggests 20 as the magic number of hours to dedicate to learning the new skill.

    His reasoning is that everyone will hit a wall early on in the rapid learning stage and that “pre-committing” to 20 hours is a sure-fire way to push through that wall and acquire your new skill.[4]

    Check out his video to find out more:

    13. Learn by Doing

    It’s easy to get caught up in reading and gathering information on how to learn new skills and never actually get around to doing those skills. The best way to learn is to do.

    Regardless of how unprepared you feel, make sure you are physically engaged continuously. Keep alternating between research and practice.

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    14. Complete Short Sprints

    Rather than to force yourself into enduring hours upon hours of dedication, work in short sprints of about 20-30 minutes, then get up and stretch or take a short walk. Your brain’s attention span works best with short breaks, so be sure to give it the little rest it needs.

    One study found that, between two groups of students, the students who took two short breaks when studying actually performed better than those who didn’t take breaks[5].

    15. Ditch the Distractions

    Make sure the environment you are in is perfect for your rapid-learning progress. That means ditching any social media, and the temptation to check any email. As the saying goes, “Out of sight, out of mind.”

    Before you sit down to learn new skills, make sure that potential distractions are far from sight.

    16. Use Nootropics

    Otherwise known as brain enhancers, these cognitive boosters are available in natural herbal forms and in supplements.

    Many students will swear by the increased focus that nootropics will provide[6], particularly as they get set for some serious cramming. Natural herbal nootropics have been used for thousands of years in Ayurvedic traditions to improve the mind and learning.

    Find out more about brain supplements in this article.

    17. Celebrate

    For every single small win that you experience during the learning process, be sure to celebrate. Your brain will release endorphins and serotonin as you raise your hands in victory and pump your fits. Have a piece of chocolate and give yourself a pat on the back. This positive reinforcement will help you keep pushing forward as you learn new skills.

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    The Bottom Line

    Learning a new skill should be exciting and fun. Whether you use online courses, real world experience, YouTube videos, or free online resources, take time to learn in the long term. Keep picturing the joy of reaching the end goal and being a better version of yourself as continual motivation.

    More Tips on How to Learn New Skills

    Featured photo credit: Elijah M. Henderson via unsplash.com

    Reference

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