How To Get More Of The Right Things Done

How To Get More Of The Right Things Done

by Nina Sunday ©
July 26, 2022

Your job is to get things done. Focus on achieving the top 20% of tasks that lead to 80% of your results. And here’s a way to do it.

Steel magnate, Charles Schwab, President of Bethlehem Steel from 1903, was the first American to earn over a million dollars a year. As the story goes, in 1918, when Schwab met efficiency expert, Ivy Lee, he challenged Lee with, ‘What can you teach me about productivity, Ivy, that I don’t already know?

Accepting the dare, Lee handed Schwab a blank piece of paper and instructed him to write down his top six priorities for tomorrow. After Schwab listed his six items, Lee next instructed, ‘Now number each item in order of priority.’ Schwab numbered his list.

Lee explained, ‘When you arrive at your desk, start working on your number one item. Stay with it until it’s complete or you’ve taken it as far as you can go. Only then start on your number two item, until it’s complete or you’ve taken it as far as you can go; then your number three item, and so on‘.

Cross off each task as it is accomplished, then move to the next to-do on your list. ‘As each new action turns up throughout the day, add it to your list according to its priority, while staying focused on your current task, unless that new item is of higher importance than the one you are currently working on. ‘At end of every business day, create a fresh list of your top six to-dos, in order of priority, ready for the next day, including anything unfinished or new things you’ve added during the course of the day.

Lee continued, ‘Teach your managers to do a Top Six list at end of every day, ready for the next day. And oh, by the way, Charles, don’t pay me now for this idea. When you are convinced of the value of this system, send me a cheque for whatever you think this idea is worth’.

Five weeks later Schwab invited Lee to his office. ‘You remember, Ivy, that efficiency tip you gave me? That’s the single most useful piece of advice I’ve ever had in business. Here’s my thank you.’ Schwab handed Lee a cheque for $25,000.

This simple Top Six idea helped Schwab grow Bethlehem Steel into the second largest steel producer in the United States.

Five Quick Questions:
1. Do you use a to-do list?
2. Do you prioritise your top six items?
3. Do you create a fresh Top Six list at end of each day?
4. Do you start each day working on your top priority?
5. Do you complete each priority one at a time?

Try these five steps for a week and be amazed at how many more things you can get done in a day; more of the right things.

Want to ignite your team’s ability to manage priorities and boost productivity? Are you looking for an inspiring, entertaining and transformational Time Management course for your team or speaker for your next event? Call 0452 089 323 to discuss how we can tailor an onsite workshop to suit your specific needs or visit our Time Management training web page.