Jay Shirley

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The Daily Practice

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How I plan to be amazing.

Published: 25 Feb 2012

I don’t watch TV. This isn’t a superiority holier-than-thou thing. I wouldn’t mind watching TV. It just gets in the way of things I want to do more. I’ll watch some things while I have mundane tasks to accomplish; movies playing in the background and I am only half-way paying attention.

The only thing on TV I’ll set aside time for is watching a nice game of soccer. I still work while I watch it. Can’t help myself.

I wake up at 5am every day, even on the weekends. I feel better doing this. It also means I go to sleep at the same time, even on the weekends. My mind works better and I simply feel better when I know, precisely, what time to wake or sleep.

Everything else in my day is scheduled. I really, really like this. I have blocks of time I use to get things done.

This was inspired by reading about Benjamin Franklin’s daily schedule. It’s a wonderful, simple thing:

There are two important things:

  1. What good will I do today?
  2. What good have I done today?

I absolutely love this and adhere to some degree to this schedule. I didn’t start to do it consciously. It fit something I was already doing and helped me formalize it.

In contrast with working long hours.

It is especially noteworthy how much Benjamin Franklin managed to accomplish while still sleeping for 7 hours each night. His only real work was constrained to 2 4 hour blocks. The rest was in contemplation and planning.

I bet Benjamin Franklin wasn’t really stressed out.

I was reading about Lyndon B. Johnson, who was said to have worked 18-20 hour days. He was indefatigable. Right until he had a massive heart attack and lived the rest of his life in pain, with failing health until another heart attack did him in. He was stressed out.

Both men did a lot, but I don’t want to be LBJ (I certainly don’t want to send kids off to die). I don’t want to be high strung and wound up.

I want to be relaxed. I want to be structured. I want to be stress free. I want to be like Benjamin Franklin.