I saw this book John C. Maxwell’s “Today Matters” at the public library last week and had to take it home again.
This book came out in 2004 and I read it 4-5 years ago but have to admit that it actually changed some of my habits. The chapters visit different areas of your life forcing you to think about what you have going on in that area, your goals and how you plan on getting there. So it was definitely worth another read. Like all of Maxwell’s very good books, it is filled with wisdom and stories collected from thousands of people over the year but I have printed one of my favorites here –
Early in the twentieth century, Charles Schwab, the president of Bethlehem Steel, hired a consultant and said to him. “If you’ll show me how I and other top managers in our company can use our time better, I will pay you a fee of whatever you ask within reason.”
The man said, “All right.” He then gave Schwab a blank sheet of paper and said, “I want you to write on this sheet of paper all the important things you need to do tomorrow and list them in order of their priority. As number one, put the most important thing you should do tomorrow. As number two, put the second most important thing you should do, and so forth. Then when you go into work tomorrow morning, start with the first thing on your list and stick with it until you finish it. Then move on to number two, and so forth. You more than likely will not be able to accomplish all the things on your list in a given day, but you will have accomplished the most important thing on your list or at least made a major effort regarding it. Then tomorrow night, make a new list for the upcoming day. Do this for several weeks and let me know what happens.”
In a few weeks, Schwab sent Lee a check for $25,000 along with a letter saying that it was the most profitable lesson he had ever learned. Not long after that, Bethlehem Steel became the largest independent steel producer of its day.
Seems far too simplistic to really make a difference – doesn’t it? Well after reading this, I actually put this into action with my whiteboards in my office – one whiteboard has the major milestones & goals for the next 6-8 months, while my other board next to my desk is for my daily list – each morning, I write the Top 5 Priorities I need to do that day, and then cross them off throughout the way, many mornings I start with the ones left from yesterday or the ones that are still in progress – and I have to admit – it works – it works for me anyway and I have been doing this for going on 4 years now.
Such a simple thing that makes a big difference but its ironic how that is usually the case in life with so many things. But this reminds me – I need to get back onto that Information radiator idea I was reading about – that entry was back here. As much as I use my whiteboards, I can’t wait to have something abit more dramatic and visible as far as measuring our teams progress.
Have a great week – its incredible here today and I am thinking that even after playing a few sets of tennis last night I may be able to squeeze in a few more matches this week