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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 October 17, 2018

    7 Natural (And Highly Effective) Ways to Improve Memory

    7 Natural (And Highly Effective) Ways to Improve Memory

    How is your memory? Is your cognitive function as strong as you’d like it to be?

    If not, then you’re definitely going to be interested in the memory improvement tips I’ll be sharing with you in this article.

    Despite what you might think – or have been told – improving your ability to recall information is certainly possible. You just need to know the right ways to do it. (Don’t worry, as you won’t need to make any significant lifestyle changes.)

    So how to improve memory? Let’s dive straight into the first of seven easy ways to improve your memory significantly.

    1. Meditate

    We live in a world of non-stop, 24/7 information. It’s like a waterfall that’s endlessly pouring news, data, facts and figures into our conscious minds.

    Unfortunately, our brains are not designed to absorb this tremendous amount of information. It’s no wonder then, that most people struggle to remember information and recall things.

    Even if you believe you have a good memory and are comfortable with multi-tasking, you’ll also be aware that there’s only so much information your brain can process at one time. And research suggests that the more information and distractions, the harder it is for you to transfer information to your long-term memory.[1]

    Fortunately, meditation can help you out.

    Even if you just meditate for 10 minutes per day, you’ll boost your ability to focus, which in turn, will make it easier for you to remember important facts.

    If you need help in shifting into a meditative state, I recommend trying an app like Headspace – which can assist you to achieve this in a convenient and structured way.

    And don’t forget, meditation doesn’t just have to be closing your eyes and sitting in a lotus position. Some people prefer to simply take a short walk in nature. This clears and calms their mind, and still provides the all-important boost to their focus.

    2. Get plenty of sleep

    If you’re sleep deprived or have not been sleeping well, then I’m guessing you’re not remembering well either. This is because sleep and memory are intimately connected.

    If you have a busy life and regularly find yourself not getting enough sleep, then this will negatively impact your cognitive abilities – including your memory.

    How much sleep should you be getting?

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    Well, according to the National Sleep Foundation, you need a minimum of seven to nine hours of sleep per night. If you get this amount of sleep regularly, then within just a few days, you’ll see a tangible improvement to your ability to remember and recall things.

    Now, I’ll be honest with you, maintaining a proper sleep cycle is not always easy (especially when the latest Netflix series has just been released!). But if you care about improving your short-term and long-term ability to remember things, then it’s critical that you try to get at least the recommended amount of sleep every night.

    Are there ways to hack the sleep cycle?

    Yes, there are.

    Try these three things:

    • Have a fixed bedtime (preferably before 10pm)
    • Don’t eat too late
    • Make sure your bedroom is as dark as possible

    Sleeping is a precious activity. It regenerates your body, clears your mind, and helps with the storing and retrieval of information.

    However, don’t sleep just yet, as I want to tell you about another great way to increase memory…

    3. Challenge your brain

    When was the last time you challenged your brain?

    I don’t mean challenged in the sense of overeating or undersleeping. I’m referring to stretching your mental capabilities through things like crossword puzzles, Sudoku and memory games.

    To expand your memory bank, and to make your recall razor-sharp, you need to continually challenge your brain.

    Feedback from Lifehack readers such as yourself, has suggested that brain training apps are a super-effective way of doing this. Used regularly, these apps can enhance your focus, attention span, problem-thinking ability and memory.

    There are hundreds of these apps available (most of them for free), but I recommend starting out with one of the big three:

    • Peak (Android/iOS, free, 10 million+ downloads)
    • Lumosity (Android/iOS, free, 10 million+ downloads)
    • Elevate (Android/iOS, free, 5 million+ downloads)

    If you normally spend a chunk of your week playing computer games, then instead of shooting and killing your enemies, why not let some of them live – while you put your attention into boosting your brain power!

    Challenging your brain will strengthen your neural pathways and enhance your mental abilities. But don’t just take my word for it, try one of the apps above and see the positive benefits for yourself.

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    4. Take more breaks

    When I think back to my days as a budding entrepreneur, I distinctively remember working all the hours under the sun – and many under the moon too!

    At that time, I believed that breaks were for the weak, and to become wealthy and successful, I needed to shed blood, sweat and tears.

    However, I was wrong.

    Taking regular breaks is the best way to keep yourself productive, creative and alive to opportunities. It’s also the best way to learn new information.

    Let me explain.

    Typically, when studying lots of new information, most people will spend hours reading it – in an attempt to learn and remember the content as quickly as possible. Unfortunately, they’ve overlooked something.

    Namely, extended study sessions are rarely a good thing, as your ability to retain information naturally declines after a certain period of time.

    It’s similar to physical exercise. You wouldn’t attempt to train vigorously for four hours in a row. Instead, you’d take regular breaks to give your lungs, heart and muscles adequate time to recover. Failing to do this will result in muscle cramps and overexertion.

    It’s the same with your brain. If you overload it with information, you’ll suffer from mental fatigue.

    What’s the answer?

    Make sure you take regular breaks when learning new information. I recommend at least a 10-minute break every hour. (You may also want to take a look at the Pomodoro Method.)

    If you don’t want to be as regimented as that, then take breaks as soon as you find yourself losing the ability to focus on the new material. Your brain will thank you – and your learning aptitude will move up a level.

    5. Learn a new skill

    I love this quote, as it’s 100% true – but frequently overlooked:

    “Learning never exhausts the mind.” – Leonardo da Vinci

    From my experience of helping to develop the careers of dozens of Lifehack employees, I can definitively say that participating in meaningful and purposeful activities stimulates the mind. It also reduces stress and enhances health and well-being.

    Let me give you an example of this:

    Imagine you work for a global financial institution in one of their call centers. You take over 100 calls a day – many of them complaints. When you started the job a few months back, you were excited to be in full-time employment and working for a household name.

    Unfortunately, your initial enthusiasm quickly turned into frustration.

    The endless complaint calls began to take their toll on you. And the supervisors irritated you too, as they were far too interested in micro-managing you – rather than letting you work in your own way.

    Now, in the story above, the ending could be that you put up with a job you didn’t like, and led a dull and frustrated working life for years and years. However, an alternative ending is this: you channeled your dissatisfaction in to learning a new skill (computer coding). It took you a year or two to get up to speed, but it allowed you to successfully upgrade your career – and the ongoing learning made the call centre job much more bearable.

    Clearly, learning new skills gives you impetus, focus and something to aim for. Your brain loves to learn, and you should tap into this by always seeking our new information. And when learning becomes a habit, you’ll find your ability to remember and recall things effortlessly, becomes a habit too.

    6. Start working out

    If you’re not already working out regularly, then here’s another reason to do so:

    Exercising for 20-30 minutes three times a week will improve your long-term memory.

    Regular exercise increases blood flow in your body and supplies the brain with extra oxygen and nutrients. And a well-nourished brain is a well-functioning brain!

    “But I just don’t have the time?,” I hear you say.

    Not a problem.

    A research has shown that a daily burst of 60 seconds of high-intensity exercise, offered many of the benefits of the longer exercise routines.[2] So, if you’re short on time – now you know what to do.

    Interested in getting started?

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    Here are five different ways that will help you work out:

    • Join a gym
    • Join a sports team
    • Buy a bike
    • Take up hiking
    • Dance to your favorite music

    7. Eat healthier foods

    I’m sure you’ve heard the expression: “You are what you eat.”

    This applies to your brain too.

    The food that you eat helps determine your brain’s capacity to store and recall information. A poor diet (think junk food + soda!) harms not just your physical health, but your mental health too.

    Fortunately, there are several foods that are especially good for your brain and your memory. These include: blueberries, celery and dark chocolate. But anything high in antioxidants will have a positive effect on your brain and memory.

    Conversely, highly-processed foods and those loaded with sugar will have a negative impact on your memory. This is due to them providing insufficient nutrients for your brain – leading you to easily suffer from mental fatigue.

    Want to be mentally healthy? Then eat and drink an abundance of these for brain health:

    • Turmeric – helps new brain cells grown
    • Broccoli – protects the brain against damage
    • Nuts – improves memory
    • Green tea – enhances brain performance, memory and focus[3]
    • Fish oilfish oil supplements can increase your brain power

    Here’re more brain food options that improve memory!

    Final thoughts

    I sincerely hope these seven memory boosting ways that I’ve covered in this article will be of help to you.

    You don’t need to implement them all. I suggest just trying the ones that appeal to you.

    But, if you’re serious about dramatically improving your memory, then make a start right now on adopting one or more of the ways I’ve suggested. I’m confident you won’t regret it.

    Featured photo credit: Eric Ward via unsplash.com

    Reference

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