How to have a productive day

Benjamin Franklin, 1778Benjamin Franklin was an unusual person. He was a successful inventor, printer, author, scientist, postmaster, humorist, civic activist, statesman, diplomat, and politician as well as being one of the Founding Fathers of the United States.

How did he manage to achieve so many of the things that mattered him?

His autobiography shows it wasn’t rocket science.

Benjamin Franklin started each day by centring and grounding and connecting with what was most important to him: his purpose, his values, and what it would take for him to live a worthwhile life.

Then he focused on what he wanted to achieve that day. And then he started doing those things.

At lunch time he took time out to reflect and refocus. And at the end of each day he reviewed what had gone well. This developed his “attitude of serendipity” which helped him achieve more the following day.

Benjamin Franklin's daily schedule

From Benjamin Franklin’s autobiography, 1791

All these things are recommended as part of Inner Leadership. We might also add, as part of a daily routine, meditation and exercise.

A daily schedule might then become:

  1. Seven to 30 minutes of mediation and/or exercise
  2. A healthy breakfast
  3. Review your purpose, values, and what it is going to take for you to have lived a worthwhile life
  4. Pick three wins for the day and block your calendar — start times and end times
  5. Power up after lunch, refocus on the overview
  6. Participate in something creative each evening
  7. Finish each day with five minutes’ reflection on what went well today

Do you achieve as much as you want to each day? Are there things you could learn from Benjamin Franklin?


Inner Leadership is a book of tools and techniques for building inspiration in times of change.

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Benjamin Franklin image source: Wikipedia

Timetable source: The Good Men Project

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