Living the Virtuous Life Task List

Virtues Task Planner Ben Franklin

I’ve always struggled with time management and prioritization of tasks, as a full time employee, part time graduate student, editor for this website, freelancer, husband, friend, and soon to be father time management is very, very important. During a recent trip I made it a point to read Benjamin Franklin’s Autobiography. I can certainly say that the text has provided me with a different perspective a new awareness for the need of constant self improvement and the need to make the most of my time.

I’ve been an ad-hoc task list that I created using the Franklin Covey planning system, until recently it worked, but since my encounter with Franklin’s 13 virtues its layout does not suffice. I then have gone through about 5 revisions and still could not produce something that would put everything onto 1 page, then I ran into David Seah’s Day Grid Balancer and it all changed.

I downloaded his version of the task list and used for a couple of weeks and really liked the layout and simplicity. I also noticed that he provided a link with an editable file so that users could modify the wonderful task list he created. Since then I’ve been taking notes for ideas to incorporate my desire to fulfill the 13 virtues, keep track of job tasks, freelance work, my blog posts, and health related tasks. Earlier this week I completed Draft1 of the modified task list and have been using it for the past couple of days. So far I am happy with the results and have a couple of tweaks to make so that it fits nicely with my needs. Like David’s willingness to share and per his requirements, I am making the modified form available for all to download.

If you find this form useful please download and enjoy it. If you have any ideas or comments, please post them below.

I urge you to subscribe to this blog as I will be updating this task list in the near future.

Note: If you wish to modify the form you need adhere to David’s wishes per the Creative Commons License. Please refer to his website for more details.

Virtues Task Planner Ben Franklin

David’s Original Task List (pictured above)

Virtues Task Planner Ben Franklin

Benjamin’s 13 Virtues Per His Autobiography One of Franklin’s most memorable practices is that of trying to live, what he defined a virtuous life. The way it works is simple, you choose a virtue (in the order above) and attempt to keep yourself from breaking the rule associated with that virtue, if you did then you add a dot next to the virtue. If you went a week without accumulating dots for a virtue then you could move on to the next and repeat for all the virtues until eventually there are no dots. Sounds confusing? Here’s an example;

Week 1 I want to ensure that I can temper my eating and drinking, in other words, don’t drink (alcohol) a lot or eat a lot…seems kind of logical. He contended that if you can control your primal instinct, that is, eat, then you could satisfy the other virtues. If I’m able to keep myself from overeating or drinking to "elation" as he would put it, for a week, then I can move on to the next virtue for the following week (Week 2), silence. The key is that while you are working on silence you have to maintain the temperance you developed in the prior week, so it gets harder as the weeks progress. Continue through virtue 13.

Was he able to stick to all of these? Not really, he admitted to having a little trouble with silence and humility, but he felt that he was a better person because he strived to live a virtuous life. History tells his story and it agrees that he was one of the most influential individuals during the founding of the United States of America. If you would like to learn more about Benjamin Franklin’s virtues you have to check out The Art of Manliness for a detailed and modern view of Franklin’s virtues. I used their list as well as my notes as guidance when embarking on this virtuous path. Good Luck.

Virtues Task Planner Ben Franklin

Blog Post Planning As a blogger I need a way of planning and listing the articles that I’m going to publish in a given week. In this list I have designated for slots for required posts (minimum of 4/week) and optional posts, which are mostly things that come up during the week or guest posts. This section gives me a nice overview of what’s going on and helps me add these to the daily task list.

Virtues Task Planner Ben Franklin

One of Franklin’s Fundamental Ideas At the beginning of each day he would ask himself, "What good will I do today?" and at the end of the day he would ask himself, "What good did I do today?" Great concept, but in my case time for reflection is limited to the weekend, I may think about it while running during the week, but in this specific section I’m taking the time to actually write it down, what good have I done this week?

Virtues Task Planner Ben Franklin

The Virtuous Task List Inspired by Franklin’s 13 virtues and David’s beautifully designed task list, The Virtuous Task List is here for you to download and use for your improvement.

Click on The Virtuous Task List image above to download. You will need Adobe Acrobat 5 or above in order to open the file.

I would like to take a moment to thank David Seah for providing these wonderful productivity tools for free and for allowing people like me to modify them and further his cause. Thank you.