Ben Franklin had a great life, and as I discussed last week, he possessed a trait often not mentioned.
I used the example of Ben’s schedule to highlight how effective he was with his time. My line—tidy your life—offered an approach to becoming more effective and more organised in the way you manage your time.
On reflection, I realise that ‘tidy your life’ is one of those phrases that is simple to say, but much harder to execute.
Ben Franklin passed away in 1790. Two hundred and thirty-two years later we can only look back and observe. What we see is his completed life—so our only viewpoint is from the top down. Any analysis starts from this perspective.
Our problem is we take this holistic view and then think we can replicate it. We can’t.
The simple reason is this; Ben built his life from the ground up, just as we are.
With every passing second, you’re gathering new information. You’re creating new experiences which inform and guide your future choices. This process begins the day you’re born.
We are building our life from the ground up.
We can’t take a holistic view of life and replicate it from the ground up. To give ourselves a chance of doing something similar, we have to deep dive to understand the building blocks of experience and insight Ben endured.
It is too simple to say tidy your life. No, to really draw on the wisdom of the Ben Franklin schedule we have to go deeper. The realisation is we need to tidy our time.
This is the unspoken truth behind a great life.
Ben wanted to get the most out of every minute—and he designed a schedule to achieve this. The focus was on being tidy with his time. Six blocks captured everything that Ben needed to do—and wanted to do. He allowed time for deep work, to relax, and so on.
But where does that leave us?
Before, the approach might have been to copy Ben’s schedule. But this ignores a fundamental. We haven’t built the schedule, we’ve copied it. It ignores the life we are living today. It ignores the way we use our time now.
Tidy your time starts with getting an understanding of how you use your time now. Your One Weekly Decision is to simply make a record of how you spend your time hour-by-hour, day-by-day, and week-by-week for a month.
It won’t be pretty, but it will give you insights. Some will be good; some will be bad. The key point is the experience of seeing how you spend your time will give you the window to see where you need to tidy your time.
You’re then beginning to build your schedule from the ground up.
It is the only way to build.
Thanks for reading.
The biggest compliment you can give me is replying to share your thoughts.
Founder, The Resolve Blog
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