What It's Like to Live by Ben Franklin’s Schedule

Tim Goessling says it changed his life
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 6, 2013 1:33 PM CST
Cover of Benjamin Franklin's autobiography.   (Amazon.com)

(Newser) – Everyone loves "life hacks" these days, and Tim Goessling decided to try a 222-year-old one: He followed Benjamin Franklin's daily schedule, as Franklin recorded it in his 1791 autobiography, and he writes on theKnow that the experience changed his life. A breakdown of the routine and Goessling's reactions:

  • 5am to 8am: Get ready for the day, eat breakfast, and plan what you'll do, including the answer to "the morning question" of, "What good shall I do today?" Goessling did not enjoy waking up at 5am, but he did enjoy having a more leisurely morning and setting goals for himself. As for Franklin's recommendation that you also spend this time reflecting on "Powerful Goodness," Goessling calls it "mind melting," injecting a sense of purpose into his day.

  • 8am to 5pm: Work, with a two-hour break for lunch and "read[ing] or overlook[ing] accounts." Goessling found that having set goals for the day kept him more focused, and he accomplished most of them. The reading break also "re-charged my brain," he writes.
  • 5pm to 10pm: Review the day, have dinner and enjoy "music, diversion, or conversation," and tidy up. Goessling found it rewarding to reflect on what he had accomplished, and reflecting on the good he had done "made me evaluate how I wanted to live the next day," he writes. "It was kind of powerful."
Living by Franklin's schedule, Goessling concludes, "made me examine not just HOW I was spending my time, but also WHY, which is something, in my opinion, that we never think about enough." Click for his full piece. (Read more Ben Franklin stories.)

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