Over at Forbes Magazine, Pat Brans is talking about Benjamin Franklin’s time management habits. He says…
Nearly three hundred years ago, Benjamin Franklin came up with an approach to changing habits that has yet to be surpassed. A young adult seeking to straighten out his act, Franklin developed a list of thirteen virtues, jotting down a brief definition of each. These were character traits he took to be important, but in which he found himself lacking. He knew that nurturing these habits would bring about positive change in his life.
Starting at the top of the list, Franklin spent one week working on each virtue. In the morning he thought about how he would reinforce the new habit throughout the day. During the day he looked at his notes to remind himself of the new habit. At the end of the day, he counted how many times he fell back into the old habit.
While Franklin was surprised at first to see how “faulty” his behavior was, he was so resolved that he pressed on, working through the entire list in a thirteen-week cycle, and completing four such cycles in a year. As for results, he noted in his autobiography that while perfection was unattainable, he could see big improvements.
Modern psychologists recognize three key elements in Franklin’s three-hundred-year-old procedure for changing habits:
- He started out committed to the new behavior.
- He worked on only one habit at a time.
- He put in place visual reminders.
Applying Benjamin Franklin’s Method
Here are 12 time management habits for the new year. Tailor these as you like, but whatever you do, work on one each week using Benjamin Franklin’s method:
Photo attribution: Benjamin Franklin sketch!