5 Ways To Make Your Day More Effective

5 Ways To Make Your Day More Effective

Early to bed and early to rise, makes a man healthy, wealthy, and wise.
— Benjamin Franklin

To say Benjamin Franklin was an overachiever is perhaps the understatement of the millennium. 

Not only was he a writer, a scientist, an inventor, and a political philosopher, but he also found time to be one of the Founding Fathers of the United States.

Just one of the items listed above would be enough to fill a lifetime, let alone all of them. 

So what was the secret behind his extraordinary output? 

Undoubtedly, he was extremely bright, but that’s no guarantee of anything. 

After all, there’s a never-ending list of smart people who didn’t amount to much. 

It must be something else. 

If Franklin himself were around to answer the question, he’d probably say ‘sticking to a routine’ was the answer. 


Because amongst his written records are the details of a daily timeline he followed religiously.

It ran like this:

5-8 am: Rise, wash and address Powerful Goodness; continue day’s business and take the resolution of the day; prosecute the present study; and breakfast.

8-12 noon: Work.

12-2 pm: Read and overlook accounts and dine.

2-6 pm: Work.

6-10 pm: Put things in their places; supper; music or diversion or conversation. Examination of the day.

10 pm-5 am: Sleep

Interestingly, unlike some purveyors of online hustle culture, Franklin was forward-thinking enough to create a schedule that allowed for rest, work, meals and reflection. 

Of course, your day will look slightly different, but the premise is the same. 

Routine and structure are essential if you want to get many things done. 

Read the biographies of other accomplished people. You’ll often find they kept to a strict schedule and focused their available time on the activities which produced the most significant results. 

Returning to Franklin’s daily routine, there are perhaps five simple lessons to learn if you want to be more productive. 

1. Rise Early

Many of us struggle to get out of bed in the mornings, particularly during cold dark winters and when our desk is just a short trip down the stairs. But be honest; you usually feel better the days you do rise early, so why not set your alarm half an hour earlier and go for a short walk to gather your thoughts for the coming day. 

The main benefit of rising early is that it gives you time to work without interruption. This means you can maintain the necessary focus required. 

2. Have Set Work Times

As creatures of habit, we like to know what’s coming next. 

The writer William Faulkner once said, “I only write when inspiration strikes. Fortunately, it strikes at nine every morning.” 

We’re all guilty at times of blurring the boundaries of work and home with flexible working, but setting boundaries keeps our minds focused at set times. This is important for building any habit and ‘trains’ your brain to be ready to work at that time. 

3. Take Time For Lunch

The office lunch has morphed into grabbing snacks from the fridge or continuing lunch hunched over your laptop. Stop what you’re doing and make a proper lunch. Sit at the table and eat to enjoy. Then pick up your book to switch off from work or go for a short walk.

Your brain can’t focus indefinitely. It needs a break now and again to recharge. Lunch is a good way to divide the day and give those brain cells some downtime. 

4. Reflect On Your Day

It’s easy to go from day to day mindlessly. But Franklin’s opening daily mantra was, “What good shall I do this day?”. Ask yourself what you have achieved today and celebrate your progress. Whether a personal or work achievement, finding somewhere in your day where you can give yourself 9 or 10 out of 10 will boost your morale and sense of self-worth.

5. Don’t Neglect Sleep 

You know how much better you feel after a good night’s sleep. Keeping a routine helps your body to relax at the same time every day, so try to stick to a regular bed routine of no phones/tech, a few pages of reading a book to help us slow down from the day, and a cool bedroom, so we don’t wake up overheated.

If you found this post helpful, you might enjoy our Sustainable Productivity course taught by an ex-Googler.  It’s packed with practical tools and tips to maximise your day without burning out. 

Creativity: A Short And Cheerful Guide

Creativity: A Short And Cheerful Guide

42 Of The Best David Ogilvy Quotes (Part 1)

42 Of The Best David Ogilvy Quotes (Part 1)