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Time Management – The Ivey Lee Story

Here’s a great story below I thought you might like to read about:

Around 100 years ago, Charles Schwab (not the Schwab we know of
advertised on TV), president of Bethlehem Steel, which was a company
owned by Dale Carnegie, and Charles Schwab wanted to increase his
own efficiency, and of the management team at the steel company. Ivy
Lee, a well-known efficiency expert of the time, approached Mr. Schwab,
and made a proposition Charles Schwab could not refuse:

Ivy Lee: “I can increase your people’s efficiency – and your sales – if
you will allow me to spend fifteen minutes with you.”

Charles Schwab: “I need my people to take more action on projects.  And,
I don’t have fifteen minutes to spend with you, I have about ten minutes
as I’m going to be catching a train in fifteen minutes.”

Ivy Lee: “Okay, that is fine! Take out a small piece of paper like the size
of an index card, write down the five things you need to get taken care
of right away.”

Charles Schwab: “Uh, okay! Just write down the five, right?”

Ivy Lee: “Yes, that’s correct.  Now, mark off those in the order of
importance that need to be accomplished immediately!”

Charles Schwab: “Okay, how much do I owe you for this?”

Ivy Lee: “If my idea works for you, then send me a check for whatever
amount you think this idea was worth to you!”

By the way, Ivy Lee, left Charles Schwab’s office twenty-five minutes
later, and Schwab had to take a later train.

As the story has been told, Schwab implemented these strategies
immediately leaving for his train, and making sure he accomplished
the top 5 most important things on a daily basis.

“Each Bethlehem Steel executive was advised by Schwab to do the same
exact thing, and they all followed Lee’s instructions. Three months later,
Schwab studied the results and was so pleased that he sent Lee a check
for $25,000. At this time in history Schwab paid out a $1,000 a minute,
which the average worker in those days made around $2 a day.  The
information Lee gave to Schwab, and Schwab had his executives do as
well was worth the $25,000.  This information nowadays would be worth
about $250,000 or around $10,000 per minute.

If Schwab, one of the smartest businessmen of his day, was willing to
pay so much money for this advice, I decided I would follow it, too.


Each night, I put together my list for the following day. If I don’t get
something on my list accomplished, it goes on the next day’s list. I put the
hardest or most unappealing task at the top of the list. This way, I tackle
the most difficult item first, and once it’s out of the way, I feel my day is
off to a good start.

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