In Bed with Benjamin Franklin: Time Management Tips From a Founding Father

“Dost thou love life? Then do not squander time, for that is the stuff life is made of.”

This isn’t the first time I’ve wheeled out this Benjamin Franklin quote on the blog this year. It’s pretty much on the tip of my tongue these days, informing how I plan and spend my time. With each passing year, I’ve become more focused on wringing the most out of every minute because I want to know that after I’m gone, I’ll leave a body of work and legacy I can be proud of.

To do that, I knew I needed a plan to maximize productivity without sacrificing quality of life. Since I recently invested in my health and general well being by committing to eight hours of sleep each night, I also needed to ensure my waking hours are as fruitful as possible. This is where Franklin comes in. Continue reading

Making the Most of Time

The hour is late and I should be asleep instead of writing this, but it’s been another long day at work and I’m tired. Quite frankly, it’s a miracle I’m still able to string words into coherent sentences. My eyelids are falling and my words–the ones in my head that I’m not even speaking aloud–sound like they’re slurred. But I’m pressing on, anyway.

You see, this year I promised myself I’d blog consistently. At least once a week, I said. On Thursday, I said. But this week came and went and in the midst of a couple of long days at work and the emotional day that lies ahead tomorrow, I’m here after 10:30 pm, writing.

In other words, I ran out of time.

I’ve been thinking a lot about time lately. And, in particular, Benjamin Franklin’s approach. “Dost thou love life?” he asked. “Then do not squander time, for that is the stuff life is made of.” I scribbled this quote in the margins of my bullet journal last week and they’ve been echoing in my head ever since.

In spite of his many other shortcomings, Franklin was a master at time management. Volumes have been written about his about his productivity, so I’ve been determined to emulate his methods to make the most of the my time.

A milestone birthday is on the horizon, and it’s a reminder that my days are finite. It’s scary and sobering but I’ve also been inspired to use every moment in a manner I can be proud of when I look back over the landscape of my life.

That approach has changed some of the ways I approach living:

Work

As much as I love my job and what I do, I’ve stopped giving my employer a “blank check” for my time. I’m much more conscientious about being focused at work when I’m there and closing up shop when it’s time to go home. In doing this, I’m free to pursue my other goals and passions.

Play

Social media, I love you, but you’re a time suck. Nowadays, I use the timer on my smartphone to limit the amount of time I spend on Snapchat or Instagram or Twitter. As much as I enjoy sharing in other people’s lives, I also need to be busy living my own to the fullest.

Sleep

This one’s a biggie. I have a hate/love relationship with shut-eye. Although I hate that sleeping basically cuts the time we actively live by one-third, I’ve recently realized how much better–and more productive–my waking hours are when I’ve slept for roughly eight hours.

Until recently, I’d been getting by on between six to seven hours of sleep. We’ve had a colder than normal winter here in Seattle and on many nights, I found myself getting under the covers in the evening and falling asleep earlier than I wanted and sleeping for a full eight hours. But then the strangest thing happened. The brain fog that had been plaguing me for years lifted. My thoughts became less sluggish. Clearer. Sharper. I began to feel like my own self again. And with greater clarity of mind, I’ve been better able to focus on hitting my targets. Who knew?

With these changes to my routine in combination with an improved focus on my goals through bullet journaling, I’m confident this year will be a year I can look back on and know it was successful because I made time for the things that matter most to me.

Knitting Can Be Expensive…and Sometimes, That’s Okay

 

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The Ashland Pullover via Brooklyn Tweed

 

Even though August tends to be the hottest month of the year, in the back of my mind these dog days of summer always mean September–and subsequently fall–is right around the corner. I immediately begin dreaming about cinnamon-spiced everything, changing colors, and cooler days. And, if I’m honest, I’m really fantasizing about sweater weather and getting a new woolen garment on my knitting needles. Continue reading

The Marvel of “Me Time”

I mentioned last week that I’ve been feeling really overwhelmed and tired lately. It’s little wonder–my job can be stressful in early summer and I’m still feeling the effects.  Body aches, tension headaches, and a feeling of malaise have been plaguing me for the past six weeks.

This weekend, I started taking steps toward taking better care of myself. I made time to go to the grocery to prepare meals that were both (sorta) healthful and delicious. I put on some music and danced around my apartment while completing my chores. I binge-watched a few shows I’d been putting off for months. But what I enjoyed most of all were the few hours I spent taking a leisurely walk in and around my neighborhood on Sunday.

After a cool and cloudy start to July, Sunday’s weather was everything I love: sunshine and just enough warmth to make it feel like summer. I went down to the waterfront–as I tend to do when I need to clear my head– and made a nearly-four mile circuit of a favorite nearby spot. With no real destination in mind, I threw my planned schedule for the day out the window and simply embraced the moment.

I took photographs and explored hidden spots I hadn’t noticed before. And, upon arriving at what would become my turnaround point in a beachfront park, I just sat and listened to the small, rolling waves break upon the shore. It was glorious.

I won’t say that after my weekend escapades that all is right in my world, but taking some time for myself made a definite improvement. I’ve been so motivated by the brief respite, that I’m planning some longer escapes for the end of summer.

Note to self: Work hard, but make time for rest. Lesson learned.

If you’re interested in taking a walk around my neighborhood, I uploaded the Snapchat story to my YouTube channel so I could share with family and friends. Here’s hoping you’ll enjoy it too.