3. “Plan ahead”—advice for which Charles Schwab paid $25,000
Here’s another cool story of how to-do lists evolved in the workplace:
Almost 100 years ago, the president of the Bethlehem Steel company in the USA was Charles M. Schwab. His company was struggling with inefficiency and Schwab didn’t know how to improve it, so he called in Ivy Lee, a well-known efficiency expert at the time.
Lee agreed to help the company, with his fee being whatever Schwab felt the results were worth after three months.
Lee’s advice to each member of the company’s management team was to write a to-do list at the end of each day, which consisted of the six most important tasks to be done the following day. Then they were told to organize the list based on the highest priority tasks.
The next day, the employes worked through the list from top to bottom, focusing on a single task at a time. At the end of the day, anything left on the list would get added to the top of tomorrow’s list when the employees once again planned for the following day.
As the story goes, the company was so much more efficient after three months that Schwab sent a check to Lee for $25,000.
In your own planning, you can take Lee’s advice for free and use the night before to plan your workday. Setting out the most important tasks you want to complete the following day will help you to avoid time-wasters and distractions by knowing what to work on immediately.
belle beth cooper,
The Amazing History of the To-Do List, step #3
Food for thought. Maybe this will help me first year out?