Benjamin Franklin is remembered for many things, but I loved the fact that he was always trying to improve himself. In fact, he made a chart of the many virtues that he wanted to improve and then kept track of them on a regular basis.
According to FlameBright’s page:
He committed to giving strict attention to one virtue [such as Temperance, Frugality, Industry, etc] each week so after 13 weeks he moved through all 13. After 13 weeks he would start the process over again so in one year he would complete the course a total of 4 times. He tracked his progress by using a little book of 13 charts. At the top of each chart was one of the virtues. The charts had a column for each day of the week and thirteen rows marked with the first letter of each of the 13 virtues. Every evening he would review the day and put a mark (dot) next to each virtue for each fault committed with respect to that virtue for that day.
This is exactly what Everyday Excellence is all about — each day trying to focus on how to better yourself!
Nowadays there are some great ways to regularly track your life without having to resort to pen and paper. Also, I like to focus on tracking more practical things like finances, calories, and runs rather than virtues. Here are the ones programs that I like best and use to track my life:
- Mint: Assuming you can get around the concerns of putting your financial data online, Mint does an amazing job at simplifying your financial life and putting all your data in one dashboard. It got probably 90% of my transactions correct with no changes, and the built-in reporting is gorgeous.
- Calorie Counter:What I love about this site is its online database of food. It makes it trivial to log something like a balance bar correctly without manually entering all the data.
- Log A Run: I use this to track my runs and it has a great community of other runners so you can see how you’re doing in comparison (which is always a good motivator).
- Allnetic Time Tracker:This is a desktop time tracker that I’ve used for many years to track billable work. It’s always running in my taskbar so it’s easy to change time buckets without having to go to a website.
- Public Blog:By writing a blog you are logging your thoughts for a given time. I like the idea of being able to look back and see what I was thinking about and what was important to me on a given day.
Tracking various areas of your life is a great way to improve them. I can’t guarantee you’ll be the next Franklin, but you never know…Maybe you should start working on memorable sayings as well 😉
Lost time is never found again -Benjamin Franklin