The easiest way to increase your productivity today

The best ideas are often the simplest.

Ivy Lee was a consultant to the big industrial companies many years ago. He went to visit Charles M. Schwab, President of Bethlehem Steel Company. During their meeting, Lee promised increased productivity with a simple method. He offered his counsel to Schwab for free, and asked that Charles simply pay him what he felt it was worth after using it for a month.

Charles Schwab did just that and paid him $25,000. In today’s dollars that would be approximately one million dollars.

The advice? Take a 3×5 card and write, in priority order, up to six things that you need to get done the next day. Then, multiple times throughout the day, look at that card.

HERE’S THE KEY: Focus first on number 1 and, when done, out a line through it, marking it done. Do the most important thing first. Keep it in focus and in front of you until it is done.

Do as many of the items, in order, as you can that day. Repeat the process in the evening, preparing for the next day.

Even if you don’t get all 6 items done, you will accomplish the most important things.

And, before you close out your day, define the 3×5 card for the next day.

How well did the strategy work? In five years Bethlehem Steel Company grew into the biggest independent steel producer in the world. Charles Schwab made over $100 million. (If $25,000 was one million in today’s dollars, you can see just how big his fortune truly was!)

What’s on your list?

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