Imagine with me….
- Six things. Not sixty, not thirty-six. Six things.
- Important things. Not urgent things. Not someone else’s things. Things important to you.
- Each “thing” is a task you can finish today. Break bigger things down into smaller steps that you can do today.
- At the end of the day. Not at the beginning when you’re optimistic. At the end of the day when you can be realistic.
- Do item 1 the first thing in the morning. Don’t check email first. Don’t rehash priorities. Start at 1 and finish it.
- Daily. Every day. Every single day.
The Mary Kay organization believes in this enough that they make space for it at the top of their consultant date books.
Maybe you’ve heard the back story about the six list before, but I think it’s worth my re-telling it.
Back in the early 1900’s, Charles Schwab was the head of the Bethlehem Steel Corporation. Consultant Ivy Lee offered to increase the productivity of Schwab’s people, and Lee would let Schwab decide what the results were worth. Schwab agreed.
Lee taught each executive to sit down at the end of each day, and create a list. The list must contain only the six most important things to be completed the next day. Each morning, they should start the day by working on the first item on that list, and not move on until it is completed. That was it. Lee left, and let Schwab watch what happened.
After a few months of seeing results, Schwab sent a check to Lee for $25,000. That’s over $500,000 in today’s dollars.
If Charles Schwab found a simple list of six things to be worth half a million dollars, maybe it can work for you, too.
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