The Benjamin Franklin Daily Do Good Routine

On New Year’s Day, by chance of a feed item Facebook fed me, I found out that each day, after he woke up, Benjamin Franklin asked himself:

What good shall I do this day?

Then, at night, before he went to sleep, he asked himself:

What good have I done today?

Well, that was a noble and effective routine, if I’ve ever heard one! And I’m saying that without consideration of my life purpose, at the highest level, is framed as “for good”. It is just simply, a good way to go about a purpose oriented life! Pun intended on “good’, of course. In fact, I thought that part of Benjamin Franklin’s routine was so simple, beautiful, and effective that I didn’t even flinch about changing my own routine to based it around this! I wasn’t ready to drop everything about it, but I was going to wrap part of it around Benjamin Franklin’s routine.

In my old routine, I got up knowing what I had to do, or wanted to do, for the day. The latter was not always clearly feasible, or didn’t always feel certain in the morning, pending what else went on during the day. I just ran through it like a task list, though, rather than thinking it was “for good”, like I should be. After all, I don’t do anything for reasons other than “for good”, even if it were “tough love” sort of tasks that didn’t feel like it was “for good”, but it was definitely “for good”. It’s odd looking back now, at the obvious, as to why I never framed it like Benjamin Franklin did, “for good”, but Benjamin Franklin’s a genius, you know, and genius is often discovering the elegant and simple, not messy and complex!

As for at night, I often debrief:

  • What went well that day to be happy and grateful for it; then
  • Identify any way I could handle it even better next time; then
  • What didn’t go well and be grateful it wasn’t worse, even if it sometimes feels like it couldn’t have gone any worse; then
  • Think about how I could have been better with the situation should it happen again, or should something similar happen again; and
  • Finally, quickly run over what lies ahead tomorrow so identifying the list in the morning is easier since it is mostly a recall rather than a creation of the list, which helps as I’m not a lark!

It is this night portion of my routine I am not willing to completely give up. It’s my introspection time that I feel I need to reflect in life. I’ll just do it after I answer Benjamin Franklin’s night question of What good did I do today? which will probably overlap well with my question of What went well today?

So far, I’ve only had three mornings (Jan 2-4) and three nights (Jan 1-3) with Benjamin Franklin’s routine. It’s a very limited sample, of course, but my gut feeling is that how amazing it feels will stay feeling amazing with time! Of course, it will fade a bit due to the double fresh start effect it’s under right now, New Year’s and fresh embracement of the routine, but it’ll still be better than the generic listing routine I have had for a few years. There, I only got excited about the exciting events to come, whereas here, I will be affirming everything, exciting or not, will be “for good”, which will inject a positive dose purpose affirmation into the mental prep. And in the event that I do have doubts about anything to be done that day as being “for good”? Asking what good shall I do today? will be a great check to reconsider, maybe even abandon it! That, my old routine, does not have a mechanism for!

I told you Benjamin Franklin’s daily “do good” routine was awesome!


Do you have a great daily routine to share?


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