I Tried Benjamin Franklin’s Daily Routine for 35 Days — Here’s What Happened

Benjamin Franklin, one of the Founding Fathers of the United States, was renowned for his wisdom, versatility, and disciplined lifestyle. His daily routine, meticulously outlined in his autobiography, has inspired countless individuals seeking to improve their productivity and well-being. Curious to see if Franklin’s time-tested habits could benefit me, I decided to follow his daily schedule for 35 days. Here’s what happened.

Benjamin Franklin’s Daily Routine

Franklin’s routine was structured around the principles of productivity, self-improvement, and balance. Here’s a breakdown of his schedule:

Morning (5:00 AM – 8:00 AM):

  • Question: “What good shall I do this day?”
  • Activities: Rise, wash, and address Powerful Goodness; Contrive day’s business and take the resolution of the day; Prosecute the present study; breakfast.

Work (8:00 AM – 12:00 PM):

  • Activities: Work on tasks and projects.

Lunch Break (12:00 PM – 2:00 PM):

  • Activities: Read or overlook accounts and dine.

Afternoon Work (2:00 PM – 6:00 PM):

  • Activities: Continue working on tasks and projects.

Evening (6:00 PM – 10:00 PM):

  • Question: “What good have I done today?”
  • Activities: Put things in their places; Supper; Music or diversion, or conversation; Examination of the day.

Night (10:00 PM – 5:00 AM):

  • Activities: Sleep.

The Experiment: My Experience

Week 1: Adjusting to a New Rhythm

Day 1-7: Early Mornings and Planning

The first challenge was waking up at 5:00 AM. Initially, it felt like a struggle, but by the end of the week, my body began to adjust. The early mornings were peaceful and provided a quiet time for reflection and planning. Asking myself, “What good shall I do this day?” set a positive and purposeful tone.


  • Productivity Boost: Early planning helped clarify my goals for the day, making me more focused and productive.
  • Mental Clarity: The morning reflection on Powerful Goodness helped me feel more centered and motivated.


  • Sleep Adjustment: Initially, it was difficult to adjust my sleep schedule to ensure I was getting enough rest.
  • Discipline: Sticking to the routine required significant discipline, especially on days when I felt less motivated.

Week 2: Settling into a Routine

Day 8-14: Balanced Work and Breaks

By the second week, the routine felt more natural. The structured work periods with breaks for lunch and reading helped maintain a balanced and productive day. The question “What good have I done today?” encouraged a nightly reflection, fostering a sense of accomplishment.


  • Increased Focus: Knowing I had set periods for work and breaks reduced procrastination.
  • Reflection Benefits: Evening reflection on the day’s achievements improved my sense of fulfillment and helped me identify areas for improvement.


  • Maintaining Focus: Staying focused during work periods without allowing distractions to creep in was challenging.
  • Adapting Social Life: Balancing the routine with social commitments required some adjustments and planning ahead.

Week 3: Productivity Peaks

Day 15-21: Deep Work and Reflection

The third week brought noticeable improvements in my productivity and overall well-being. The habit of planning in the morning and reflecting at night became second nature. I found myself completing tasks more efficiently and with greater focus.


  • Enhanced Efficiency: Structured work periods allowed for deep, uninterrupted work, leading to higher quality output.
  • Emotional Balance: Regular reflection helped me stay emotionally balanced and more aware of my daily accomplishments and areas for growth.


  • Balancing Multiple Tasks: Managing multiple tasks and ensuring they fit within the structured periods was occasionally overwhelming.
  • Consistency: Maintaining the same level of discipline every day was demanding, especially on weekends.

Week 4: Challenges and Adaptations

Day 22-28: Overcoming Obstacles

Despite the routine’s benefits, the fourth week presented some challenges. Social commitments and unexpected tasks sometimes disrupted the schedule. However, the principles of planning and reflection helped me adapt and stay on track.


  • Flexibility Needed: Life’s unpredictability required occasional adjustments to the routine, highlighting the importance of flexibility.
  • Sustained Productivity: Even with disruptions, the core habits of planning and reflection maintained my productivity and focus.


  • Unexpected Interruptions: Dealing with unplanned events and interruptions required quick adaptation and flexibility.
  • Maintaining Motivation: Keeping the motivation high, especially during more monotonous tasks, was a challenge.

Week 5: Long-Term Impact

Day 29-35: Consolidation and Growth

In the final week, the routine felt ingrained in my daily life. The benefits extended beyond productivity to overall well-being and personal growth. The consistent early mornings, focused work periods, and reflective evenings became a rewarding and sustainable lifestyle.


  • Habit Formation: By the end of 35 days, the routine felt natural and sustainable, demonstrating the power of consistent habits.
  • Personal Growth: Regular reflection and goal-setting contributed to ongoing personal development and a stronger sense of purpose.


  • Sustaining Long-Term: Considering how to sustain the routine long-term while allowing for occasional flexibility was essential.
  • Avoiding Burnout: Ensuring that the routine remained balanced and didn’t lead to burnout required mindful adjustments.

Detailed Insights and Takeaways

  1. Early Rising Enhances Productivity:
    • Waking up early provided quiet, uninterrupted time for planning and reflection, setting a productive tone for the day.
    • The peaceful morning hours were ideal for deep thinking and strategizing, free from the usual daytime distractions.
    • Early rising also allowed for a head start on tasks, often leading to a sense of accomplishment before the day truly began.
  2. Structured Work Periods Improve Focus:
    • Dividing the day into focused work periods with designated breaks reduced distractions and increased efficiency.
    • This structure helped in maintaining a steady workflow and avoiding the fatigue that comes from prolonged periods of work without breaks.
    • The clear delineation between work and breaks prevented the blurring of boundaries, making each work period more productive.
  3. Reflection Fosters Personal Growth:
    • Morning and evening reflections on daily goals and achievements promoted self-awareness, accountability, and continuous improvement.
    • These reflections helped identify patterns in behavior and productivity, allowing for strategic adjustments.
    • Reflecting on accomplishments and challenges each day enhanced my understanding of what worked and what didn’t, facilitating personal growth.
  4. Flexibility is Essential:
    • Adapting the routine to accommodate life’s unpredictability is crucial for maintaining its benefits without undue stress.
    • Flexibility doesn’t mean abandoning the routine but adjusting it to fit real-life circumstances while retaining its core principles.
    • This adaptability ensured that the routine remained sustainable and didn’t become a source of stress.
  5. Consistency is Key:
    • The power of consistent habits was evident in the sustained improvements in productivity, well-being, and personal growth.
    • Consistency in following the routine built a strong foundation, making it easier to maintain even when challenges arose.
    • Over time, these consistent habits compounded, leading to significant positive changes in various aspects of life.
  6. Work-Life Balance:
    • The routine encouraged a healthy work-life balance, incorporating time for relaxation and personal activities.
    • Evening activities like music, conversation, or hobbies provided a relaxing end to the day, ensuring a balanced lifestyle.
    • This balance helped prevent burnout and maintained overall well-being, making the routine more enjoyable and sustainable.
  7. Goal Setting and Achievement:
    • Starting the day with the question, “What good shall I do this day?” set a positive and intentional tone, focusing on purposeful actions.
    • This goal-oriented approach increased motivation and provided clear direction for the day.
    • Ending the day with, “What good have I done today?” fostered a sense of achievement and encouraged continuous improvement.
  8. Mindfulness and Self-Awareness:
    • The routine’s reflective practices promoted mindfulness and self-awareness, helping to stay present and focused.
    • These practices also facilitated a deeper understanding of personal strengths and areas needing improvement.
    • Mindfulness exercises, like reflecting on “Powerful Goodness,” enhanced overall mental clarity and emotional balance.
  9. Long-Term Sustainability:
    • By the end of 35 days, the routine felt natural and sustainable, demonstrating the power of consistent habits.
    • The long-term impact included not only improved productivity but also enhanced overall well-being and personal growth.
    • Considering minor adjustments to maintain flexibility ensured that the routine could be sustained without leading to burnout.


Following Benjamin Franklin’s daily routine for 35 days was a transformative experience. The structured approach to planning, working, and reflecting not only boosted my productivity but also enhanced my overall well-being and sense of purpose. While the routine required some adaptation to fit modern life’s demands, the core principles remain timeless and beneficial.

Final Thoughts

If you’re looking to improve your productivity and personal growth, consider adopting elements of Franklin’s routine. Start by incorporating early rising, structured work periods, and daily reflections into your life. Be flexible and adjust as needed to fit your unique circumstances. Consistency is crucial, so stick with it and observe the changes over time. This routine might just provide the competitive edge you’ve been seeking, leading to a more productive, balanced, and fulfilling life.

Additional Tips for Success

  1. Gradual Implementation:
    • Start by gradually incorporating elements of Franklin’s routine rather than making drastic changes all at once. This will help you adjust more smoothly and sustainably.
  2. Personalization:
    • Customize the routine to fit your lifestyle and preferences. For example, if 5:00 AM is too early, try waking up at 6:00 AM instead.
  3. Accountability:
    • Share your goals and progress with a friend or join a community of like-minded individuals for support and accountability.
  4. Reflect and Adjust:
    • Regularly reflect on what’s working and what’s not. Don’t be afraid to make adjustments to better suit your needs and goals.
  5. Celebrate Small Wins:
    • Recognize and celebrate your achievements, no matter how small. This will help keep you motivated and positive throughout the process.

By embracing these additional tips and maintaining a positive and flexible mindset, you can maximize the benefits of Franklin’s routine and set yourself on a path to long-term success and personal growth.