Monday, June 2, 2008
Getting Things Done the Benjamin Franklin Way
“Dost thou love life? Then do not squander time, for that is the stuff life is made of.”—Benjamin Franklin
One of the best success strategies used by everyone who has become successful is called modeling, where you find a person who is successful at what you want to do, and then do what they do.
For example, someone who wants to be successful in real estate could model Donald Trump. For copywriting, there’s Bob Bly, Clayton Makepeace, and Peter Bowerman.
But you don’t have to model the success of only those people who are still alive. History is full of successful men and women who can still be an inspiration to us today.
For me, one of those people is Benjamin Franklin. A successful entrepreneur, Benjamin Franklin retired at the ripe old age of 40. He was a skilled writer, invented bifocals, charted the Gulf Stream, created the first insurance company, volunteer fire department and lending library, and was a statesman and U.S. ambassador to France.
He really packed in a lot of successes. Sure, he lived to be 84, but he still couldn’t have done all this without becoming a master of time management.
Fortunately for us, Franklin spelled out exactly what he did in his autobiography.
Rising at 5am, Ben would ask himself one question: “What good shall I do this day?”
Then he would get ready for his day and have breakfast, followed by four hours of work.
At noon he would eat while either reading or reviewing his accounts. Then back to work for four more hours.
At 6pm it was time to “Put things in their places, supper, music or diversion, or conversation; examination of the day.”
Then he was off to bed for seven hours sleep before doing it all over again the next day.
Yes, it sounds regimented, but it was necessary in order for Ben to get things done. Perhaps you can use this as a guide to come up with something similar for your life.
I believe that if you put your mind to it, you can accomplish most anything you set out to do in life, whether it be to become wealthy, start a business, write a book, whatever. And a big part of that is becoming a master of time management.
So start today. As old Ben would say, “Resolve to perform what you ought. Perform without fail what you resolve.”