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Ben Franklin’s Daily Routine

Something interesting I found recently: Benjamin Franklin’s daily routine outline.  (This is the same Ben Franklin involved in the founding of the United States, and the same Ben Franklin who said, according to a recent biography, that he expected churches would be replaced by something he called “ethical societies.”)

He framed each day with two questions:

  1. “The morning question, What good shall I do this day?
  2. “Evening question, What good have I done this day?

Imagine what focus we’d have on ethical living if we were that conscious of our intent, and then reviewed what we’d accomplished each day?

Franklin’s daily schedule included working from 8-12 and then 2-6.  “Sleep” was listed as 10 p.m. to 5 a.m, 7 hours.  In the middle of the day, 12-2, was “read or overlook my accounts, and dine.”

For those questions I mentioned above, he scheduled his 3-hour morning time (5-8 a.m.) and his 4-hour evening time (6 to 10 p.m.) to include them.  He wrote the questions across from these two time slots in his schedule:

  • 5 a.m. – 8 a.m.
    “Rise, wash, and address Powerful Goodness; contrive day’s business and take the resolution of the day; prosecute the present study; and breakfast.”
  • 6 p.m. to 10 p.m.
    “Put things in their places, supper, music, or diversion, or conversation; examination of the day.”

So each day, his focus was on goodness, doing good.  His daily routine included looking ahead, then doing, then reviewing.

What good are you doing today?  How about making sure that planning and reviewing are in your daily routine?  Imagine what that focus might gain for you in living the ethical life!

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