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The Science of Productivity


The Science of Productivity


"He who every morning plans the transaction of the day and follows out that plan, carries a thread that will guide him through the maze of the most busy life. But where no plan is laid, where the disposal of time is surrendered merely to the chance of incidence, chaos will soon reign."  -Victor Hugo

Around 100 years ago, Charles Schwab was the president of president of Bethlehem Steel. Ivy Lee, a well-known efficiency expert of the time, approached Mr. Schwab, and made this proposition to Mr. Schwab:

Ivy Lee: "I can increase your people's efficiency – and your sales – if you will allow me to spend fifteen minutes with each of your executives."

Charles Schwab: "How much will it cost me?"

Ivy Lee: "Nothing, unless it works. After three months, you can send me a check for whatever you feel it's worth to you."

Charles Schwab: "It's a deal."

The following day, Ivy Lee met with Charles Schwab's management executives, spending only ten minutes. He told each of them the same thing:

Ivy Lee: "I want you to promise me that for the next ninety days, before leaving your office at the end of the day, you will make a list of the six most important things you have to do the next day and number them in their order of importance."

Astonished Executives: "That's  it?"

Ivy Lee: "That's it. Scratch off each item after finishing it, and go on to the next one on your list. If something doesn't get done, place it on the following day's list."

"Each executive consented to follow Lee's instructions. Three months later, Schwab studied the results and was so pleased that he sent Lee a check for $35,000. (At this time the average workers income in the US was $2 per day!)

If Schwab, who was one of the smartest businessmen of his day, was willing to pay so much for this one idea, how much could this same advice be worth to you?

Each night, put together your own list for the following day. If you don't accomplish an action item on your list, move it to 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."

"You will either tell your day what to do or you will wonder where it went."  -Dave Ramsey

"Always do first that which will create your future."  -Terry Gogna