Simple Wisdom Tip #127: Do the Most Important Things First

Some 100 years ago, Charles Schwab, president of Bethlehem Steel, wanted to increase his own and his team’s efficiency.  Ivy Lee, a well-known efficiency expert, made a proposition: "Let me spend fifteen minutes with each of your executives and I’ll increase their efficiency and your sales.”  Schwab asked about the cost and Lee said nothing, unless it works.  If so, send him a check after three months, for whatever it's worth.  Schwab agreed.


The following day, Ivy Lee met with Charles Schwab's management executives and told them: “For the next 90 days, before leaving your office for the day, make a list of the six most important things you have to do the next day and rank them in the order of importance.  Start with #1 and cross it off when completed, then go on to #2 and so on.  If all of them don’t get done, put them on the following day's list."


The executives followed Lee's instructions. Three months later, Schwab studied the results and was so pleased that he sent Lee a check for $35,000. At the time, the average worker in the U.S. was being paid $2 per day.  It worked for them.…it might work for you!