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

Finding Friendship in Your 30s: A Guide for Introverts

friendship

Even though I might be introverted and spent most of my childhood and my twenties shunning contact with others, I’ve come to value friendship. Someone to laugh with over the ridiculousness of life, someone to keep me accountable when I’m ready give up on my dreams, and someone to kick my ass when it needs kicking is pretty much what everyone needs. No man is an island, so they say. Continue reading

On Making Up My Mind About Makeup

makeup-organizer

It’s funny how your tastes change with time. When I was younger, I’d turn the radio off when the Eagles’ “Hotel California” came on; today, I turn the radio up. My relationship with makeup has evolved in the same way. As a teenager who wasn’t allowed to use cosmetics, I’d pore over the colorful pages of teen magazines, dreaming of the day when I could dabble in my own makeup fantasies. However, in my twenties and the better part of my thirties, I decided I really liked my face “as-is” and, today except for the occasional special event or job interview, I eschew wearing makeup as a part of my daily regimen. Continue reading