“I don’t have time.”
This is the universal excuse for nearly anything you’re not accomplishing.
And it applies to just about everything we can’t get done.
From the fun and interesting, like a new hobby. To responsibilities or things we know we should do, but don’t really want to.
But we all have the same 24 hours in the day. And it’s clear, some of us are more productive than others.
If I’m struggling to get my act together, I’ve learned we can usually find wisdom from the Founding Fathers of this great nation.
I mean, if you’re looking for folks who got things done, I think you’d probably agree, they qualify.
Take Ben Franklin for example.
He invented the lightning rod. He made significant contributions to physics and sociology. He wrote books. He composed music. He founded civic groups – including the University of Pennsylvania.
And that’s just a sampling.
How did he do all this, and more important, how can what he did apply to you?
Franklin kept a daily schedule, and blocked off his time for the things most important to him, including sleep (remember his mantra, “Early to bed and early to rise, makes a man healthy, wealthy and wise”).
He went to bed at the same time, and rose at the same time, each day. If you can manage to do this, it is a boost to your health, and your productivity too.
Each morning, he dedicated quiet time in prayer or meditation. And he set his intention for the day.
He’d ask himself, “What good shall I do this day?”
(I don’t know about you, but I’ve never been this specific. I’m going to try this out.)
In his daily plan, he’d block off time to learn something. Reading books or papers. I’m sure most people would love to do this, “if I had time.” The key is understanding that you likely DO have time if you make space for it.
He’d set specific time blocks for the most important tasks of the day, and also time for lunch and “shallow work.” That mundane stuff you need to do, but doesn’t take much brain power.
And when the work day was done, he did two other very important things.
First, he put things back in place. If you come back to a desk that’s a mess, it’s hard to jump back in the next day. And it also gives you a moment to review your progress.
He also scheduled downtime in the evening.
For dinner, time with friends, relaxing, listening to music. This isn’t wasted time. It’s a way to re-energize, and prepare for the next day.
Finally, before going to bed, he would ask himself another important question, much like he did to start the day: “What good have I done today?”
It’s a way to keep yourself honest. To challenge yourself. And likely do more good, with more time, than you ever thought possible.
A lot has changed in the 300 years since ol’ Ben put pen to paper to map out his daily planner. But I got some good tips out of it and maybe it will help you too.
What are you going to make time for today?
Enjoy the rest of your weekend.