How Lists and Procedures Can Lead You to Excellence (And Increase Your Bottom Line)

“Dost thou love life? Then do not squander time; for that’s the stuff life is made of”

~ Benjamin Franklin

Whether you strive for excellence or just wish you were a little more efficient with your time, here’s seven powerful tips inspired by Benjamin Franklin guaranteed to boost your energy level, optimize efficiency, and create a little more balance in your work/home life:

“Early to bed, early to rise, makes a man, healthy, wealthy and wise”

The most productive people on the planet are early risers. However, waking up is not for everyone. And if getting up early is a stretch for you, why not start by waking even 15-30 minutes earlier than usual. Ideally, if you can give yourself an extra hour every morning, you can use this time to meditate, exercise, plan your day or all three! If you give yourself a little more time in the mornings, even your commute to work can be more relaxed.

“A place for everything, everything in its place”

Keep your inbox organized to stay on top of deadlines and anything else that comes your way. Create folders for all your email messages and file them. Don’t stop with your inbox. If your desk is all a clutter, organize your paperwork on your desk according to the level of priority, with the highest priority on top. A clutter-free workspace provides room for you to focus your attention on what really matters.

“By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail”

If you don’t use checklists, now’s a great time to start. You can start by writing out your To-Do List. Then, working with one task at a time, write out the steps it will take to complete that task. This is especially helpful when there are certain tasks that are repeated every day, and although this might seem too time-consuming, you can’t afford not to. Following a comprehensive checklist will help you stay on track and provides a safeguard to ensure nothing falls through the cracks. Moreover, with checklists in place, you’re in a better position to delegate these tasks, freeing up your time and resources for more important things.

“The best of all medicines is resting and fasting”

Take a break! Rest and self-care are important. Too many people neglect themselves and their health – for “the bottom line”. If you’re feeling unproductive, end even if you’re not, it’s important to take a break or two each day. Walk away from your desk. Go outside and get some fresh air. Take a brisk 15-minute walk. Come back refreshed and recharged.

“An investment in knowledge always pays the best interest”

Take time each day to learn something news. Learning builds confidence. It keeps the brain agile. Norman Doidge, in his book The Brain That Changes Itself: Stories of Personal Triumph from the Frontiers of Brain Science, explains how if you become an expert at a specific skill, your brain actually grows.

“Energy and persistence conquer all things”

Focus. You can get more work done in less time if you lose the distractions, like office chatter, phones ringing off the hook, or switching gears back and forth. Close your door if you have to, but learning to focus on one task at a time will yield more results than if you juggle back and forth between projects.

“Never leave ’til tomorrow that which you can do today”

Plan for the next day. Create another list. Leave your day knowing your plan for tomorrow. This leaves room for you to let go, giving you permission to concentrate on your “downtime”.

I’ll leave you with one last quote: “Work as if you were to live a thousand years, play as if you were to die tomorrow.”

Benjamin Franklin believed in action. He wrote the first American book on personal finance, The Way to Wealth, which was first published in 1758 and is still the wisest book about money ever written.