Pending Business: To Do

By Steve Lapa
Lapcom Communications Corp

PALM BEACH GARDENS, Fla. — Benjamin Franklin got it right over 200 years ago. His “To Do” list was incredibly close to yours today:

1) Eight hours a day of work
2) Lunch that included reviewing business
3) Set daily goals. “What good shall I do today?” was his prompt.
4) Reviewed goals at the end of every day. “What good have I done today?” and “examination” were his evening recap prompts.
5) Seven hours a night of sleep.

Like most highly disciplined achievers, he put his daily to do in writing, including breakfast, lunch, supper, rise and sleep. You may consider this a bit obsessive, but remember the times, the 1700s. He was a writer, statesman, inventor, farmer, Founding Father…you get where I’m going. Benjamin Franklin was a very busy man, with more distractions from his work than we can ever imagine. So, he put it in writing every day. He was 70 when the Declaration of Independence was signed and 81 when the Constitution was written. Talk about productive!

So why raise these American history fun facts now? Here are the real takeaways:
1) Is your “To Do” list simple, yet detailed enough for someone else to understand? After 200-plus years, we can still understand Ben’s goals.
2) Do you isolate blocks of time? One management training program I experienced made us document interruptions. Try it sometime. Write down when you start doing something and when something stops you cold. Scary how it looks in writing. Ben was smart enough to isolate two separate four-hour blocks into “work.”
3) Is there clear recap time on your to do list?
4) Do you self-monitor activities vs. results?
5) Are you thinking past today, tomorrow and the end of the next 30 days? Most of the Founding Fathers had farms. Farmers always had to think ahead, especially before current technology. How about your next growth opportunity? Are stuck on making the month?

Look at it this way. These brave men were the original disruptors who were relentless in their pursuit of their ultimate goals. No computers, phones, cars or airplanes. Just pure commitment to making it happen… and here we are!

Steve Lapa is the president of Lapcom Communications Corp. based in Palm Beach Gardens, FL. Lapcom is a media sales, marketing, and development consultancy. Contact Steve Lapa via email at: