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.