Benjamin Franklin’s Routine: Do Good Each Day

Sometimes we can find inspiration in the strangest of places, such as the daily goings-on of the man that graces our hundred dollar bill.

Benjamin Franklin was not only an author, newspaper editor, printer, political theorist, politician, postmaster, scientist, musician, inventor, satirist, civic activist, statesman, avid traveler and diplomat, but also, it seems, quite the creature of habit. His daily routine is anchored by two questions: “What good shall I do this day?” in the morning, and “What good have I done today?” in the evening. Maybe life is just that simple?

Goodlifer: Benjamin Franklin's Daily Routine

Other things to be inspired by in Franklin’s routine is that he — bad news for those of us who are not morning people — rises early, takes two hours in the middle of the day to “read or overlook my accounts, and dine,” and allocates no less than four hours in the evening  to “put things in their places, have supper, music, or diversion, or conversation; examination of the day.”

Goodlifer: Benjamin Franklin's Daily Routine

Benjamin Franklin, engaged in reading or, perhaps, a daily diversion? Painting by David Martin (1767), via Wikimedia Commons

The power of routines is something we seem to be fascinated with these days, perhaps because many of us are lacking them (and by us, I mean me). There have been many books written about the most common habits of effective, successful, productive and creative people. The daily routines of famous authors seem to elicit particular interest. There is something to be said about approaching your day in a very considered manner, it’s easier to maintain focus, check things of your to-do list and avoid unnecessary distractions. Although you may not be able to adhere to a strict daily schedule, setting an intention of doing good every day and allowing time for diversion seem like splendid ideas.

About author
A designer by trade, Johanna has always had a passion for storytelling. Born and raised in Sweden, she's lived and worked in Miami, Brooklyn and, currently, Ojai, CA. She started Goodlifer in 2008 to offer a positive outlook for the future and share great stories, discoveries, thoughts, tips and reflections around her idea of the Good Life. Johanna loves kale, wishes she had a greener thumb, and thinks everything is just a tad bit better with champagne (or green juice).
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