Six Most Important

Mary Kay Ash told a story in her autobiography that sticks with me to this day. She called it the $35,000 List and it had a long-lasting effect on her career and her daily work ethic.

Ivy Lee, a leading efficiency expert called on Charles Schwab and said to him, "I can increase your efficiency - and your sales - if you will allow me to spend fifteen minutes with each of your executives."
Naturally, Schwab asked, "What will it cost me?"
"Nothing," Lee said, "unless it works. In three months, you can send me a check for whatever you think it's worth to you."
Schwab agreed and Lee spent fifteen minutes with executives from the struggling young steel company and asked them to complete a single task. Every evening for the next three months, each executive was to make a list of the six most important things he had to do the next day. Finally, the executive was to rank the items in their order of importance. 
"Each morning, begin with the first item on your list, " she told them, "and scratch it off when it's finished. Just work your way right down those six items. If you don't get something finished, it goes on the next day's list."
At the end of the three-month trial, efficiency and sales had increased to such an extent that Schwab sent Lee a check for $35,000. Now that's still a lot of cash for such a small amount of work, but in today's money, $35,000 would probably be the equivalent of $350,000!

I admit that I've always been a list maker. In my dorm room in college I would list my plan of attack and when I would attack it on a post-it note and stick it to the side of desk each night. Every morning, when I rolled over to turn off my alarm, I'd see those to-dos on that little pink square and be motivated to lift my head off the pillow and get my body out the door.

Nowadays, my post-it note has transformed into an app.  Each week I write out my master tasks. Each day, I take a few of those tasks, combine them with a few appointment-type tasks and create my own six most important list. Here is my list today:

  • write blog article: SMI
  • Lydia: gift
  • CONNECT: one word journal 
  • grocery order and pickup 
  • contact Richard
  • draft YDubTriClub newsletter
I have learned that this tip from a world-renowned leader in business will not only make over your daily life, it will make over your long-term goals, too. Imagine what could happen if you were clear on where you needed to grow physically, professionally, spiritually, relationally, and personally!

Create your SMI list tonight. Make one of those tasks your ONE WORD and work on it tomorrow. Imagine what could happen if you did six tasks each day connected to your goal!