Words of Wisdom from Ben Franklin

Those who know me know that I love the Franklin planner system. It’s so logical, simple and tactile. It helps me start every day with a plan and priorities. When I need to juggle several schedules this is where I go to gain sanity. So as we celebrate the Fourth of July in Philadelphia, I was thinking about one of our favorite sons, Benjamin Franklin. The man did everything! He wrote, he governed, he invented – he created systems. Here are 5 of his most famous quotes and my comments on how they can help us structure our lives to be as productive as he. Well, almost as productive.

  1. An investment in knowledge always pays the best interest.” So when deciding where to spend your business dollars, investing in your training or that of your workers is always a smart move. With regard to raising our own families, putting academic pursuits before social, monetary or leisure, is also prudent.
  2. “Early to bed, early to rise, makes a man healthy, wealthy and wise.” Try telling that to a teenager who is sleeping-in all summer! But seriously, I think we working women don’t put enough emphasis on sleep. It is essential to our well being. We need at least 8 hours every night and should be encouraging our children to get the same. Routine is the only way to do this. Go to bed the same time each night and wake up at the same time.  Try getting up a half hour earlier than usual, and write your list of the 6 most important things to do.  You will feel refreshed and productive.
  3. “Drive the business or it will drive thee.” I think I want to post this above my home office desk. How many times do we let our business drive our life? That’s why it’s important to have a business plan, a marketing plan and a daily routine, especially if you have your own business. Revisit these when things seem out of control or off track. Re-write them if necessary at the beginning of each year. Be proactive, not reactive.
  4. “Employ thy time well, if thou meanest to get leisure.” This is another way of saying, be productive with your work and earn your leisure time. First of all you won’t be able to afford the leisure you seek unless you are making money. And secondly for those who procrastinate or work with no plan, the work never seems to end. With daily goals you can finish when you’ve checked off the last item on your list. Then you can enjoy a daily leisure or a full fledged vacation with a clear mind.
  5. “If you know how to spend less than you get, then you have the philosopher’s stone.” How appropriate that I just looked at my company’s financials. The year is half over and I wanted to see how I was doing. Confession, I spent more than I saved – however not more than I earned! So it’s just a matter of re-allocating funds first into savings before spending.  How many people in this world keep spending without a glance at what they have made? How many are living on credit? Live within your means and set budgets to control your spending.

What other founding fathers have inspired the way you live or do business?

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