Benjamin Franklin’s Intentional & Productive Daily Routine Revealed — And He Rated Himself On 13 Virtues Before Bed Every Night

His routine wasn't very different from many peoples' today.

statue of Benjamin Franklin Sophia Zengierski | Shutterstock

Benjamin Franklin is best known for being one of America’s Founding Fathers, helping to establish the country. However, he lived a very impressive life beyond this. He was known to work in a variety of industries, even inventing tools and introducing concepts that we still use today.

For someone who lived such an incredible life, it’s not surprising to know that he had a profound daily routine.


As we often look to modern-day CEOs and influencers for inspiration for the perfect morning routine, we could also undoubtedly learn from Franklin’s productive routine.

Franklin stuck to a daily routine that allowed him plenty of time to devote to professional ventures and personal pursuits.

Marisa Ceccarelli took to TikTok to share Franklin’s routine with the world. “Thanks to his autobiography, we have detailed information about his schedule from the Renaissance man himself,” she said.



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Ceccarelli explained that many of his habits correlated with some of his most famous quotes, such as, “Early to bed, early to rise, makes a man healthy, wealthy and wise.” 

“Franklin would start his day at 5:00 a.m.,” she said. “After washing up, he would practice positivity and gratitude … He also started his day with the question, ‘What good shall I do today?’"

Ceccarelli continued with Franklin’s next steps. “He then had his breakfast, planned out his day and prosecuted the present study. This meant that he would devote time to studying something that was unrelated to the rest of his work for the day, like learning a new language,” she said.

In many ways, Franklin’s morning routine wasn’t that different from what many people do today.


“Franklin would then work from 8:00 a.m. until noon, and since he was a man of many talents and in high demand, this work varied throughout his career,” Ceccarelli stated. “From noon until 2:00 p.m., he would ‘read or overlook my accounts, and dine.’ At the time, the midday meal would have been the primary meal of the day.”

Then, Franklin would continue working from 2:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. After he finished his work, “Franklin wrote that he liked to put things in their place, eat supper, and enjoy music and conversation.”

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Franklin’s night routine consisted of self-reflection, which included his 13 virtues.

“Before bed,” Ceccarelli continued, “he would have an examination of his day, including asking himself the question, ‘What good have I done today?’ before going to bed at 10:00 p.m. to get a full seven hours of sleep.”

It was during this time of introspection that Franklin would bring his 13 chosen virtues into play.

“He would also rate himself on 13 virtues every day: temperance, silence, order, resolution, frugality, industry, sincerity, justice, moderation, cleanliness, tranquility, chastity, and humility,” Ceccarelli said.

Benjamin Franklin's Intentional And Productive Daily Routine RevealedPhoto: Ruslan Lytvyn / Shutterstock


Apparently, Franklin went beyond just considering how these 13 virtues played a part in each of his days. According to Ceccarelli, “Every week he would pick a different virtue to focus on and document his progress in a chart. He wrote, ‘I was surprised to find myself so much fuller of faults than I had imagined, but I had the satisfaction of seeing them diminish.’”

TikTok commenters were fascinated by Franklin’s strict discipline. One wrote, “Ben Franklin, the original bullet journal girlie.” Another said, “I love that he intentionally made time for self-reflection.”

Following Ben Franklin's daily routine could be beneficial even in modern times.

Reviewing Franklin’s daily routine is certainly interesting.


He engaged in many habits that are still common for people today: prioritizing designated work and play times, sticking to a strict sleep schedule, making time to learn and experience new things, and most importantly, reflecting on the day and practicing mindfulness.

His focus on things like positivity, self-improvement, and reflection are reminders that these ideas have been important to humans for centuries. 

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Mary-Faith Martinez is a writer for YourTango who covers entertainment, news and human interest topics.