In the early 1900s, Ivy lee, a management consultant once approached Charles Schwab, then president of Bethlehem Steel Company.
He claimed he had an idea that would help them do productive work. He said he won’t charge Schwab any fee – he simply wanted him to try the idea, and then pay him what he thought it was worth. After only three weeks Schwab sent Ivy Lee a cheque for $25,000. That’s worth more than $750,000 in today’s money.
This is what he told Schwab:
Before the day is over, make a list of all the things you need to work on the following day. Don’t leave anything out. The order does not matter. Then decide what are the first three things you need to work on, and write the numbers 1, 2, 3 beside them. Don’t go any further than that.
The Next day: Start on number one. Do not start on number two until you have finished number one!
It all seems so simple yet there is wisdom in applying numbers to tasks according to their importance. But in today’s world, work has changed drastically. It’s tough to carry out a to do list because we are faced with tasks that grows and grows.
Here’s a simple method I use that applies Schwab’s tool that fits our work setting today.