Ben Franklin’s Positive Rituals

Regarding the 9th chapter of the Powers book, ‘Hamlet’s Blackberry: Building a good life in the digital age’, titled ‘Inventing Your Life: Ben Franklin on Positive Rituals’. The chapter opened with a claim that the distractions of tech (aka information overload) are causing a decline in workplace productivity, but ‘no-email Fridays’ have been largely unsuccessful because no one wants to fall behind on their work.
I like how the book refers to the  people who have grown up with screens a “new species of human being,  innately incapable of holding a sustained conversation or thought. Homo distractus”(pg.159).
The chapter talks about Benjamin Franklin’s rituals for managing a busy life (which starts with conviction). This philosophical self-denial – is explained as the idea that there’s “more to be gained  by resisting the impulses than giving in” (pg.165). Franklin listed out 13 desirable virtues along with behavioral guides to attaining each one (moral perfection), and carried them around as a reminder, leading him to have a more satisfy life.
The chapter ended with a bit about how Intel implemented a weekly Quiet Time so people could work while disconnected from email/phone/other workplace distractions. And it was largely successful.


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