Thursday, March 5, 2009

Benjamin Franklin's Life Hack

I had mentioned in a previous post that Benjamin Franklin used to keep track of daily goals. After reading a bit more about this I believe I had originally read this in How to Win Friends & Influence Peopleby Dale Carnigie. Great book, I highly recommend it. I thought I would write a bit more about it.

Introduction to System

Benjamin Franklin kept this goal sheet to keep track and improve his
character. He tracked the following 13 items and for each failure he'd place a dot on the particular day of occurence:

1. Temperance: Eat not to dullness and drink not to elevation.

2. Silence: Speak not but what may benefit others or yourself. Avoid trifling conversation.

3. Order: Let all your things have their places. Let each part of your business have its time.

4. Resolution: Resolve to perform what you ought. Perform without fail what you resolve.

5. Frugality: Make no expense but to do good to others or yourself: i.e. Waste nothing.

6. Industry: Lose no time. Be always employed in something useful. Cut off all unnecessary actions.

7. Sincerity: Use no hurtful deceit. Think innocently and justly; and, if you speak, speak accordingly.

8. Justice: Wrong none, by doing injuries or omitting the benefits that are your duty.

9. Moderation: Avoid extremes. Forebear resenting injuries so much as you think they deserve.

10. Cleanliness: Tolerate no uncleanness in body, clothes or habitation.

11.Chastity: Rarely use venery but for health or offspring; Never to dullness, weakness, or the injury of your own or another’s peace or reputation.

12. Tranquility: Be not disturbed at trifles, or at accidents common or unavoidable.

13. Humility: Imitate Jesus and Socrates.

Initial Thoughts

I love the simplicty of this system and thought this a great way to improve your character but I thought other goals could be accomplished with such a list. I found an online tool that uses this basic system: Joe's Goals. There is also a printable templates here: DIYPlanner.

This system brings the power of the old business adage "That Which Is Measured, Improves". By measuring your goals each day you are improving, I've seen the power of this formula and anyone that has tried it knows how powerful it is. Sometimes we just don't think about measuring the day to day stuff, but when we do we can improve ourselves tremendously.

Additional Notes

Joe's Goals use a smiley face or frown to determine whether you did something toward your goal or against it. This is a pretty good way to see your progress whether good or bad. Plus, for me I like to focus on the positive as well as the negative. I'm thinking it may be fun to identify some goals or traits I'd like to improve and keep a Pocket Moleskine Notebook with me all the time to track my progress.

One other site that had good information on this is here: Pastor Hacks