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February 22, 2014 / glennlim thots

‘SET UP’ YOUR DAY!

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President Obama does it (and calls it ‘pre-loading’ his decisions). Bill Gates does it (‘out-sourcing’ menial tasks to his digital secretary). Curtis James calls it ‘accelerated productivity’. David Allen introduced the ‘daily scaffold’ technique…

All the busiest people who ever had to make tons of daily decisions have had to ‘Set Up’ their daily schedules.

I would suppose the best people to study how to manage time effectively would be presidents. I can only imagine the immense decision-making responbsibilities they need to carry out every hour of the day.

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Let’s take a peek into one such president’s daily schedule – Benjamin Franklin (1706 – 1790)

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It is amazing that even back in the 1700s he scheduled a balanced daily routine of 8 hours of work, and 8 hours of sleep a day. He alloted time to reflect and count his blessings before sleeping. Even more impressive, he takes out 3 hours in the morning to plan his day; a two hour break for lunch; and four hours out for dinner & leisure!

…Mine looks a lot messier and more fragmented, including the sleep part!

BUT, there are presuppositions when trying to study Franklin’s schedule…I suspect this kind of order required domestic servants and/or an absence of young children in the house. And no transportation needed to commute between work. So…we have to assume these factors when considering if this schedule is really feasible in our context.

Nevertheless, we can draw and apply some really sterling principles… I especially like the “address Powerful Goodness part of the morning. Was that some sort of meditation, or prayer? He wasn’t exactly a ‘religious’ man, so perhaps it wasn’t scripture. Maybe he understood the importance of personal contemplation at the start of each day. I wonder if this was his ‘quiet time’, a time set aside for re-booting and centering himself, bracing himself for the day’s work. If it was so, it must have been such an invigorating, energising power-charging experience, that he would call it Powerful Goodness!

I also liked the way he framed the two portions of his day (morning and evening) with pre-loaded questions. The first question “What good shall I do today?” sets his goals and direction for the day. It develops mission-mindedness and primes his ‘search engine’ to go looking for ‘good’. The second question “What good have I done today?” is evaluative in nature, developing a keen sense of reflection, perspective-taking and self awareness. This allows him to learn and grow from his experiences, and fine-tune his strategies for the future.

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Through these daily exercises, Franklin calibrated his mind to only focus on constructive endeavors, on what really mattered. He disallowed himself to be occupied or distracted with empty or negative thoughts that did not serve him or his time. There was no wastage of his energy and emotions!

This week, let’s learn to place priority for self-care and personal development in the course of each busy day! By penning a plan for the day, we set ourselves for success!..Glenn Lim

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Love this quote from ‘The Voice’:

Psalm 90:12

“Teach us to Number our days
    so that we may truly live and achieve wisdom”

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