Every day we have tasks that need to be completed and some have priority over others for one reason or the other but they have to be done in a timely manner for the work to be completed to meet deadlines but all too many times many people will not sit down and take a few minutes to prioritize the task in order of importance and this can lead to longer work completion times and many times deadlines being missed.
I have a story that I would like to tell you, one that I came across some time ago about Charles Schwab, no not the one that use to be on the television in the commercials, but the President of Bethlehem Steel which was owned by Dale Carnegie and Charles was wanting to increase his own productivity as well as his management team.
About this time a well known efficiency and public relations expert named Ivy Lee called upon Charles and ended up making him an offer he could not refuse.
Lee briefed Charles on his firm’s services and stated to Charles “with our service, you will know how to manage better.”
Charles told Lee “I’m not managing as well now as I know how. What we need around here is not more knowing but more doing, not knowledge but action. If you can give us something to pep us up to do things we already know we ought to do, I’ll gladly listen to you and pay you anything you ask.”
Lee said, “fine, I can give you something in twenty minutes that will step up your action and doing at least 50 percent.”
Charles stated “OK, I have just about that much time before I must leave to catch a train. What is your idea?”
Lee pull a blank 3×5 note sheet out of his pocket and handed it to Charles and stated, “write on this sheet the six most important task you have to do tomorrow.”
This took Charles about 3 minutes to complete.
Lee stated, “now, number them in the order of their importance.” This took another 5 minutes for Charles to complete.
Lee stated, “now put this sheet in your pocket and the first thing tomorrow morning look at item one and start working on it. Pull the sheet out of your pocket every 15 minutes and look at item one until it is finished. Then tackle item two in the same way, then item three and do this until quitting time. Do not be concerned if you only finish two or three or even if you only finish one item, you will be working on the important ones. The others can wait. If you can’t finish them all by this method you could not with another method either, and without some system you would probably not even decide which are the most important.”
Lee continued, “spend the last five minutes of every working day making out a “must” list for the next day’s tasks. After you have convinced yourself of the worth of this system have your men try it. Try it out as long as you wish and then send me a check for what YOU think it is worth.”
Then entire meeting lasted about 25 minutes and Charles advised each executive to implement the lessons that he learned. Three months later Charles reviewed the results and was so pleased with the results that he sent Lee a check for $25,000 with a note stating “the lesson was the most profitable from a money standpoint he had ever learned. Broken down that is $1,000 for each minute.
Now remember, this meeting took place around 100 years ago. This was a time when the average working barely made $2 a day for work. This information nowadays would be worth about $200-$250k or $10,000 per minute.
In just 5 short years Bethlehem Steel Company went from an unknown steel company to the biggest independent steel producer in the world and made Charles a $100 million dollar fortune and known as the best steel man alive at the time.
This lesson still holds true today. Every night before going to bed put together your list for the next day and prioritize them from the most important must get done to the least important and if something does not get done it moves to the next day list.
Always put the most difficult and the must have to get done project first, that way if it is the only thing you get done that day you feel you have still had a good day by getting your most important item off your must do list.
Delton Doucet is a father, grandfather and the publisher of The Ruthless Success Chronicles blog as well as numerous articles and an online/offline marketer. Drop by the RSC Blog at RuthlessSuccess.com [http://ruthlesssuccess.com]