Thriving During Tough Times Survival Tip #13 -
Set the Right Daily Priorities With This Process

"I learned that we can do anything, but we can't do everything… at least not at the same time. So think of your priorities not in terms of what activities you do, but when you do them. Timing is everything." -- Dan Millman

About 100 years ago, Charles Schwab, president of Bethlehem Steel, was looking to improve his effectiveness and the effectiveness of his management team at the Bethlehem Steel Company when he received an irresistible proposition from Ivy Lee, a well-known efficiency expert of the time.

Ivy Lee told Charles Schwab that he could increase his people's efficiency - and the company's sales - if he allowed him to spend just fifteen minutes with each of his executives. When Charles Schwab asked how much it would cost, Ivy Lee told him "Nothing, unless it works." He went on to say that Charles Schwab could send him a check for whatever he felt it was worth after applying his advice for three months.

The two men struck a deal and Ivy Lee went on to meet with Charles Schwab's management executives for just fifteen minutes to tell them about the critical need for the right daily priorities. He asked them to promise him that that they would make a list of the six most important things they had to do the next day and number them in their order of importance before leaving the office at the end of the day.

Each executive was astonished and very skeptical about this simple advice. But Ivy Lee reinforced this simple advice and told them to apply it and scratch off each item after finishing it. Then, he instructed them to go on to the next one on their list. If something didn't get done in any given day, he told them to put it on the following day's list.

"Procrastination is one of the most common and deadliest of diseases and its toll on success and happiness is heavy." -- Wayne W Dyer

So, what was this simple advice worth? After three months of steady and persistent application of this advice, Charles Schwab studied the results and sent Ivy Lee a check for $25,000. At the time, the average U.S. worker was being paid $2 per day. That's a pretty valuable piece of advice!

Apply this simple process each day and you will soon be thriving in these uncertain times. To help you identify the right daily priorities in uncertain times, I recommend you ask these following four questions:

  • What three things could I do today to improve my situation, address my key issues, or simply become better at what I do?
  • What is the biggest constraint in my life and work that I must remove?
  • What one action can I take today to improve the chances of generating a breakthrough in the next 90 days?
  • Where and how can I invest in an important relationship today?

So, what are your top 6 daily priorities for tomorrow?

Copyright 2009 Jon L. Iveson, Ph.D.

About the Author: Jon L. Iveson, Ph.D., The Champion's Coach, is a Gazelles Certified Coach who helps individuals and companies survive and thrive in tough times. Access Jon's FREE 21-page e-Book on "The 8 Steps to Thriving during Tough Times" and other valuable resources at Stay informed on new resources and information by JOINING the "Surviving and Thriving in Tough Times" Group on LinkedIn.

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