MAY 18, 2022
New Delhi: Prime Minister Narendra Modi began this week with a jam-packed day-long trip to Nepal. On Monday, he visited a Buddha temple, inaugurated a Buddhist centre, signed 6 MoUs, and returned to India on the same day while making a pitstop in Lucknow to meet the Uttar Pradesh Cabinet ministers.
How can the Prime Minister maintain such a tight schedule? The answer probably lies in the nearly four-hour-long interaction he had with the ministers. According to an Indian Express report, Modi cited Benjamin Franklin as he doled out advice on time management and governance.
He urged the UP ministers to read Franklin while asking them to differentiate between “karya (work)” and “karyakaram (events and programmes)” but focus on the work first.
Had an extensive interaction with the Council of Ministers of the Uttar Pradesh government. We discussed a wide range of subjects relating to furthering good governance and ‘Ease of Living’ for the citizens. pic.twitter.com/NdiYeVS05N
— Narendra Modi (@narendramodi) May 16, 2022
Who is Benjamin Franklin?
Benjamin Franklin, one of the founding fathers of the United States whose face is printed on the US $100 bill, was a productivity master. In his autobiography, he laid out his famous daily schedule that he tried to swear by.
What was Franklin’s typical daily routine?
5 to 7 AM: Rise, wash, and address Powerful Goodness! Contrive day’s business, and take the resolution of the day: prosecute the present study, and breakfast.
8 to 11 AM: Work.
12 to 1 PM: Read, or overlook my accounts, and dine.
2 to 5 PM: Work.
6 to 9 PM: Put things in their places. Supper. Music or diversion, or conversation. Examination of the day.
10 PM to 4 AM: Sleep.
Screenshot of Benjamin Franklin’s daily schedule from his autobiography | Photo: gutenberg.org
Franklin, an early morning riser, woke up at the same time every day, worked a set number of hours, and went to sleep at the same time. His focus to stick by his daily routine reflected in his personality as a true disciplined man.
Apart from the schedule, he also followed the practice of evaluating his day every morning and evening.
Franklin, who was also a writer, always asked himself, “What good shall I do this day?” every morning, and when night came, he questioned, “What good have I done today?”
“I enter’d upon the execution of this plan for self-examination, and continu’d it with occasional intermissions for some time. I was surpris’d to find myself so much fuller of faults than I had imagined; but I had the satisfaction of seeing them diminish,” Franklin wrote in his autobiography.
However, Franklin admitted that he at times struggled and found it “extremely difficult” to follow the daily schedule.
“My scheme of Order gave me the most trouble; and I found that, tho’ it might be practicable where a man’s business was such as to leave him the disposition of his time, that of a journeyman printer, for instance, it was not possible to be exactly observed by a master, who must mix with the world, and often receive people of business at their own hours,” he expressed.
Impact on Modi’s life
This is not the first instance when PM Modi professed his admiration for the American polymath. In 2015, Prime Minister said he was inspired by the life of Franklin to then US President Barack Obama in a special edition of ‘Mann Ki Baat’ address.
“He (Franklin) has left an imprint of his life on the US. I will say if you want to transform your life, read his biography… I feel you will be inspired as much as I have been,” he had said.
“If people get upset with you that you cannot meet them, because of the pressure of work, then how to solve this problem? He has addressed such issues in his biography,” he remarked.
Modi highlighted that Franklin came from an “ordinary family” and couldn’t complete his education but “his thoughts had an impact on American life” till today.