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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 November 25, 2020

    How to Wake Up Early: 6 Things Early Risers Do

    How to Wake Up Early: 6 Things Early Risers Do

    You have probably heard the success stories about people who wake up early. Apple CEO Tim Cook, Oprah Winfrey, and Olympic medalist Caroline Burckle all talk about the positive impact of waking up early on their lives.

    Even though many assign a portion of their success to waking up early, many find it difficult to make the switch. While most people know what needs to happen to change their life, they find then difficult to implement consistently. To understand how to wake up early, you need to tap into the wisdom of those already doing it.

    Here are the 6 things early risers do:

    1. Stop Procrastinating

    The first thing you need to do when you want to learn how to wake up early is to go to sleep earlier. Stop procrastinating. You will find it much easier to wake up when you are getting the proper amount of sleep. Set a bedtime that allows you to get 8-hours of sleep and hold yourself accountable.

    The problem most of you will have at first is how tired you will feel. If you are someone who goes to sleep after midnight, waking up by 6 a.m. will not be easy. The reason you need to push through that initial difficulty is that you are going to be very tired at the end of the day. Realistically, you probably would fall asleep at your desk or doze off on your lunch break. Either way, waking up early no matter how you feel will motivate you to go sleep at the proper time that night.

    Think of it as someone who procrastinated until the night before their project was due. Having done this myself, you do what you need to do to complete the project, whether that means working all night or cutting some corners because you don’t have time to triple-check your work.

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    After you turn in your project, you feel both exhaustion and jubilation. After you make it through the workday and crash at home, you promise yourself you’ll never wait until the last minute again. This same feeling will happen when you force yourself to wake up early no matter what time you went to sleep. You are going to promise yourself you will go to bed at the right time.

    Most people don’t go to bed when they should because they know they will ultimately make it up in the morning.

    2. Pace Yourself

    If you want to start waking up a couple of hours earlier each day, you may not be able to make that change all at once. It stands to reason the more drastic the shift, the more difficult it will be.

    So, instead of trying to adjust your sleep pattern by several hours, start in 15-minute or 30-minute intervals.[1] If you wake up 30 minutes earlier each week, you will be a morning person by the end of the month. This may feel like you are drawing out your goal but in reality, you are accomplishing it much quicker than most. Most people who are naturally night owls find it difficult to completely change their sleep habits overnight.

    Think of it as someone who is trying to quit drinking coffee. Outside of the fact you may enjoy the taste of coffee, your body is used to operating with a certain amount of caffeine and sugar. Some will be able to quit overnight and their body will adjust accordingly. And if you are one of those people, then do what works for you.

    However, if you were to take an incremental approach, then you may first start drinking your coffee black. Then, you could switch to decaf before slowly lowering the amount of coffee you drink each day. As you can see, this approach will help minimize the feeling of withdrawal while getting the results you want.

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    3. Watch Your Lighting

    Light reduces your body’s production of the sleep-inducing melatonin hormone. In practical terms, your body naturally wants to be awake when the sun is up and go to sleep when the sun is down. This is called your circadian rhythm.

    In the technology-driven world we currently live in, you likely look at a screen or two before bed. Studies show television and phone screens trick your body into thinking the sun is up. As a result, your body starts producing less melatonin. To help you fall asleep, you should stop looking at screens at least an hour before bed.

    This can also mean that if you want to wake up before the sun, looking at your screen when you wake up can help you to stay awake.

    Peter Balyta, the President of Education Technology for Texas Instruments says he wakes up at 5:20 a.m. and scans his emails before starting his day. This is also true for M.I.T. president L. Rafael Rief. He wakes up around 5 or 5:30 a.m. and checks his phone for anything urgent.[2]

    4. Make It Worth Your Time

    Have you ever woken up early but went back to sleep because you didn’t have a reason to stay up? To put it another way, have you ever fallen asleep because you didn’t have anything better to do?

    If you want to be excited about going to sleep and waking up early, then you need to give yourself a reason to be excited. You can accomplish this by listing the three things you want to accomplish the next morning. Notice I said “want” and not “need” to accomplish. You don’t want to be dragging yourself into the next morning kicking and screaming.

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    Your list should not only include what you want to accomplish but also why you want to accomplish it. If you want to take it a step further, list the consequences of not waking up early.

    People who have figured out how to wake up early are shown to be more successful, persistent, and proactive in their life. They tend to be happier and handle stress better. It is also shown that people who wake up early procrastinate less.[3] If you find any of these benefits something you want to add in your life, then waking up early is shown to help.

    5. Avoid Binging

    There is a difference between sleeping and getting a good night’s sleep. Sure, you can drink alcohol and fall asleep, but you will not be getting quality rest. You will wake up feeling as though you slept for only a couple hours.

    It is best to stop drinking at least 4 hours before bedtime. Binge drinking is known to impact your sleep-inducing melatonin hormone levels for up to a week. The same holds true with eating a large meal right before bed. It is not that your body can’t process food and sleep at the same time. The main concern has more to do with the possibility of indigestion or heartburn than anything else.

    If you find yourself dealing with either of these symptoms, then you may want to stop eating at least two hours before bed.

    6. Get the Blood Flowing

    Those who have mastered the technique of how to wake up early tend to start each morning with movement.

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    Your first movement is to get out of bed. To help you get out of bed, have your alarm far enough away that you need to get up and turn it off. Before you allow yourself to contemplate going back to sleep, take a moment, and do 10 push-ups or 10 jumping jacks. Think of each exercise as you taking one step further from being able to go back to sleep.

    Mellody Hobson, President of Ariel Investments wakes up at 4 a.m. each morning. She starts each day by exercising. Her exercises include running, weight lifting, swimming, and cycling.

    You decide for yourself how you want to get your blood flowing. Whether you want to go on a walk, workout at the gym, or do something at home, make sure you are scheduling time to exercise.

    Bonus: 7 Easy Ways to Help You Stay Awake

    Final Thoughts

    The key to understanding how to wake up early is to recognize that it is heavily driven by the actions you take the night before. You will wake up early if you go to bed at a good time and get the proper amount of sleep.

    By taking the time to prepare yourself both mentally and physically each night, you can ensure you are positioned for success the next morning. Once you have taken the proper actions the night before, make sure you use that momentum to start your day, on time.

    The goal is to make the actions you want to take as easy as possible. The key to changing your life is to discover a way to have the wind at your back, going in the direction you want.

    More Tips on How to Wake up Early

    Featured photo credit: Laura Chouette via unsplash.com

    Reference

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