inside ben franklin’s head

I was sorting my books this weekend as part of my commitment to daily creativity when I ran across a hardcopy of The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin. I resisted reading it because I was trying to stay focused on my mission to create a zen-like office and replace as many hardcopy books with ebook versions. But I had recently been reminder of one of Ben’s habits during a conversation I was having with a great coach and business colleague, Deb Denis, and I wanted to find the passage explaining the habit. I remembered the habit as one of a daily review of the events of the day, but what I realized was it was a lot more than just that. As it turns out, Benjamin Franklin has influenced much of our personal productivity habits. Here is a look at self improvement according to Benjamin Franklin.

the 13 virtues

First Ben identified the habits which he wanted to develop. Through his research and studies he identified thirteen virtues which he wanted to develop in his daily life. These virtues are:

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inbox zero in one day

The machine does not isolate man from the great problems of nature
but plunges him more deeply into them.
~Antoine de Saint-Exupery

In this new year, will you let your inbox rule you? Or will you rule your inbox? It’s a new year, so why not start with a fresh new inbox? I’ll tell you why not, because you have hundreds of unread emails in your inbox. How can you possibly zero it out in a day? Even if you did, you’d be back to hundreds at week’s end.

Experience shows that the full inbox is used as a to-do list, a database, and an excuse. What the full inbox is not doing is helping you stay focused and productive. The to-do list option works for a while, until you have hundreds of emails and can not distinguish between the ‘to-do’ items, the ‘I don’t know what to do with this’ items, and the unread items. The fuller the inbox gets, the more stressed we become. The more stressed we become, the less productive we are and the fuller the inbox gets – from lack of processing.

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365 day ‘take action’ challenge

It’s a new year and with it comes the feeling of a fresh start, a clean slate on which to create your life. I believe existence precedes essence and that we become what we practice. It is with daily action that we can each become. By taking action with purpose (as defined by your chosen theme) you choose who you become with greater awareness. Make 2011 the year you bring to the surface that authentic, powerful, creative, unique person that you have inside.

If you have completed your ‘year in review’ journey from the previous post  make your new year resolution an evolution, you have your theme for 2011. Now it is time to make this theme a reality. It is time to take action with purpose. How you do this will depend upon your theme. What I want to do is share with you my journey of 365 days of creativity.

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