Add Oomph to your To Do List

I just came across an old story about Charles Schwab when he was chairman of Bethlehem Steel in the 1920s.  Supposedly, he was concerned about his own lack of productivity and that of his management team.  So he met with a consultant to ask for advice.

The consultant told him every evening before he left the office to write down the six most important things he needed to do the next day and to list them in order of importance.  And if it worked for him, then have his management team try it.  When Schwab asked the consultant how much he owed him for this advice, he just said, “Send me a check for whatever you think the advice is worth.”

Two months later, Schwab sent a check for $25,000 (and keep in mind this was the 1920s!).  Schwab felt that listing items in order of priority helped him and his team stay focused on what was most important and this resulted in an increase in productivity and cost savings for the company.


Try this with your “To Do” list.  First make sure each item is broken down into tasks that take less than two hours.  Then look the list over and see what can be delegated.  Do you really have to do it – or can someone else do it just as well?  (Paying someone else to do a task can increase the time you spend on the really important stuff.)


Next, give each item on the list a priority rating (say 1-5 with 1 being the most important).  Now you can reorganize the list in order of importance – or just get to work on all the 1s!

But remember to do this every day.  For some people, doing it before they leave the office at the end of the day works best but for others, doing it first thing in the morning works better.  Look at your list from the day before and move things to your new list and reprioritize.  Each day is different and priorities change!


This task should only take 10 minutes each day, but could result in a big increase in productivity and profit.   And I won’t even ask you to send me a check for this piece of advice!


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