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Write Your List of Top 6 To-Dos Ready for Today & Every Day

Here’s a true story I came across at one of the many Time Management workshops I attended over the years to understand productivity best practice.

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 with trusted advisor, 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 invited him to write down his top 6 priorities for tomorrow. After Schwab listed his 6 tasks, Lee next instructed, ‘Now number each item in order of priority.’ Schwab numbered his list.

Write Your List of Top 6 To-Dos Ready for Today & Every Day

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Top 6 Method

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 task 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 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 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 6 idea helped Schwab grow Bethlehem Steel into the second largest steel producer in the United States.

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Five Quick Questions

  1. Do you use a to-do or task list?
  2. Do you list items in order of priority?
  3. Do you create a fresh list at end of each day?
  4. Do you start each day working on your top priority?
  5. Do you stay focused and work through your list, in order of priority?

Try these five steps for a week and be amazed at how INDISTRACTIBLE you become, using the power of focus. Then it follows, you’ll get more done in a day; more of the right things.

Nina Sunday
Featured Uplyrn Expert
Nina Sunday
Professional Speaker, C-Suite Network Advisor, Author
Subjects of Expertise: Speed Reading & Memory, People Skills, Time Management
Featured Uplyrn Expert
Nina Sunday
Professional Speaker
C-Suite Network Advisor
Author

Subjects of Expertise

Speed Reading & Memory
People Skills
Time Management

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