I have a hard time prioritizing my day, and using time management in my favor. Over the last month I have been trying something new and it has helped me SO much with my productivity. I first read about this method a few months ago in Chet Holmes‘ book, “The Ultimate Sales Machine.” It is an excellent book and I highly recommend it. One piece of advice really stuck out to me, but I didn’t implement it until I was reading the amazing blog of my friend Kristin Call. She shared how she was able to stay on top of everything and be organized, while expecting twins. She relays the origins of this system:
“There is a legendary story that in the 1920′s, Charles Schwab (at the time one of the wealthiest individuals in the United States and founder of Bethlehem steel) wanted to get more done each day for himself and his executive staff. He was approached by Ivy Lee, a public relations expert, who told him a “secret” to increase their productivity.
Mr Lee told Mr Schwab to implement this secret methodology and then, after he had seen the results of the method, to come back and pay him what he thought it was worth. Mr. Schwab and his executives tried the idea for a month and received such amazing results that Mr. Schwab wrote a check to Mr. Lee for $25,000, which at that time was a huge sum of money.
Here’s the trick: At the end of each day, write a list of the six most important things to do for the next day and order them from one to six. In the morning start with number one. Keep working on it until completed, then move to number two. Keep working on this one until completed, and then move to the next item on the list. Continue this way until completing all the priority items on the list.”
After reading her post, I realized that I really needed to implement this in my life. I really encourage you to check out Kristin’s blog, because she has the cutest design for her six list, and she will custom make a design for you if you want one. I haven’t asked her to do this for me yet, though I do plan on it in the future when I decide exactly what I want. But for now, I just use a plain yellow pad of sticky notes.
I keep my sticky notes on my night stand, and every night after I am all ready for bed, I will write the date at the top, and then write down my list of things to do for the next day. I always try to put the items down in order of when they need to be done during the day. For example, if I have homework due tomorrow it would go on the list before homework due next week. I then carry this list around with me throughout the day and check off the things as I finish them. At the end of the day, anything that hasn’t been checked off the list goes back on the list for the next day, and I add anything else that needs to be done, until I am back up to 6 items.
For example, my daily list may look a little like this:
- Finish English Assignment
- Go to work for 4 hours
- Stop at the grocery store and pick up items for dinner
- Run on the treadmill for 30 minutes
- Pay mortgage
- Read 1 chapter of the Marketing 4100 book
Everyone will have a different list, but by prioritizing what you need to get done, you will be able to accomplish more with your time. Since I implemented this system, I have noticed that I am much more productive than I ever was before, and I am more prepared to start my day.