Ben Franklin was a neighbor and mentor of mine. I recently found myself reminiscing about Ben as I had decided to read again about his many accomplishments on the anniversary of his passing, some 240 years ago. Every time I read about this great man, I learn something new and valuable.
Ben moved from Boston to Philadelphia at the age of 17, where he then spent most all his remaining years until he died at the age of 84. I was born, raised and lived many of my years in Lancaster, Pa., the oldest inland city in the United States – a short ride of 90 minutes due west of Philly. So, Ben Franklin was a neighbor of mine – albeit in a different era. While our lives are separated by many generations, he will always be viewed as a neighbor and mentor.
Three excellent Ben Franklin quotes have stayed with me over the years:
- “Tell me and I forget, teach me and I may remember, involve me and I learn.”
- “Early to bed and early to rise, makes a man healthy, wealthy, and wise. “
- “By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail.”
These quotes are the secret to Ben Franklin’s productive success in business and life. He accomplished so much thanks to his preparation of a plan, sticking to that plan and then learning and growing from the plan.
This is not to suggest that you need to follow Ben’s daily plan in detail; rather, it is the act of having consistency in your life and creating a daily plan and sticking to it that is essential. In his book, The Autobiography of Ben Franklin, Franklin outlines the daily ritual and steps that he followed religiously.
- Go to bed and rise each day at the same time – Franklin went to bed each day at 10 p.m. and rose each morning at 5 a.m. It is not the seven hours of sleep but the consistency of the sleeping schedule that is the important planning element.
- Spend time alone preparing for and planning for the day to come.
- Spend time learning each day – There are thousands of ways to accomplish this in today’s world, including books or periodicals, listening to others, or joining a peer exchange group.
- Set aside segments or blocks of time to dedicate to your work – Whether you own a business or hold a job function in someone else’s business, make sure you schedule the necessary time to get the job done.
- Clean up your work area before departing for the day – Whether physical or electronic work, when you come back tomorrow, things should be in order.
- Allow for downtime or relaxation each day – It may surprise you to know that Ben Franklin played the guitar, harp and viola and enjoyed spending time with friends. Balancing work and life are significantly important elements of productivity.
- Reflect at the end of the day – Ben Franklin would ask what good had he done that day and what could he have improved upon.
Among all of Ben Franklin’s many accomplishments, discoveries and inventions, perhaps his greatest accomplishment was his ability to put so much into and get so much out of each day. You can too – it is all in the plan.
Ric McCullough is COO for PSA Security Network. To request more information about PSA, please visit www.securityinfowatch.com/10214742.