Here’s the story:
In the early 1900s, Charles Schwab was President of Bethlehem Steel. He was frustrated that his staff seemed to be extremely busy but got very little accomplished (sound familiar?). In 1903, he called one of the leading productivity experts of his day for a consultation. That consultant was named Ivy Lee, and his advice was simple:
1. At the end of each day, take a piece of paper and write down the six most important things you need to accomplish. Number them in order of importance.
2. Tomorrow morning, begin working on #1. Work on it until it’s completed.
3. Next, do the same with items 2-6 on your list. Work until you’re done or until the day is over.
4. Don’t worry if you don’t complete them all. At least you’ve finished the most important, and you can add any remaining items to your list for the next day.
Lee spent 20 minutes with Schwab and gave him this information. At the time, Lee suggested that Schwab try it for a few weeks, and then he could pay Lee any amount that he saw fit. Within two weeks, Schwab sent a check to Lee for $25,000 (a fortune in 1903)!
Later in life, after Schwab had grown Bethlehem Steel from a small, local business to one of the largest in the world (worth $100 Million), he was asked the secret to his success. Schwab credited this tip as being the most important piece of advice he’d ever received.
For the next week, I challenge you to write down your daily priorities. In fact, pull out a piece of paper and write down the six most important tasks for you to complete tomorrow. Go ahead…I’ll wait while you get a piece of paper.
Are you back? Now go ahead with your list.
Next, put them in order of importance.
Tomorrow morning, begin with #1 and work on it (and no others) until you’ve completed it.
If you had a hard time determining your top priorities, EOS® can help. Your company's vision and 1-year plan should be clearly outlined on your V/TO™ (Vision Traction Organizer™). Once you have your V/TO ready, you can break your big goals into more manageable chunks (quarterly goals called rocks). These rocks are your top priorities for the next quarter. When you spend time every day on your rocks, then you're making progress that most business leaders can only dream of.