Time is your most valuable resource and until you realize this, you will continue to wonder where all your time goes!!! If you consider those times in your life where you've experienced disappointments - e.g. the lost sale, the breakdown of a relationship, etc. - and ask yourself "If I'd had more time to prepare, to talk, etc. would the outcome have been different?" - the answer almost certainly will be YES!
Introducing the Ivy Lee System
In the early 1900′s, Ivy Lee, a management consultant, visited Charles Schwab, then president of Bethlehem Steel Company.
Ivy asked, "If I could increase the productivity of your managers by at least 20 percent, what would it be worth to you?"
Schwab said he didn't know but it would be definitely worth a lot.
Ivy Lee then taught Schwab a time management skill that took 10 minutes to learn and increased productivity by at least 20 percent.
Lee didn't want to be paid upfront...Schwab could decide for himself and send a check later.
There are many time management systems around, they usually involve attendance on training courses and the purchase of a vast amount of specially designed documentation. However, The Ivy Lee System, like all good ideas, is very simple and yet effective. It could find you an extra hour a day, which is equivalent to an extra twenty hours a month - resulting in an extra month per year!
You must commit yourself to trying this system for a minimum of 30 days - thereafter, I am confident you will never look back!
Write down all the tasks you need to complete the next day (rather like a "to do" list). It is advisable to do the next day's list at the end of each day.
Then priorities those tasks, but be careful not to give tasks a higher priority because you enjoy doing them (from experience, it is often best to get those tasks you are less keen on completed first, then you have the most pleasant tasks left as an incentive).
At the end of each day, you may be left with tasks that you have not completed and the temptation (as with a "to do" list) is to automatically carry them over to the next day. A lot can happen in a day and tasks that are important today are not necessarily so tomorrow.
During any normal working day, there will be an element of the unexpected - so what you need to do, in the first week, is make a note of how much of your time was taken up with the unexpected tasks.
Build in times for the unexpected - i.e. continue as for week one, but also allocate time to handle the unexpected. How much time can be calculated from your first week's activities? In addition, during the day, make a note of how long it took you to complete each task.
Make a habit of allocating a time target against each task. You will now have a fair indication of what you can achieve each day - including coping with the unexpected - and how long it should take you. By allocating time targets to each task, you'll be more likely to complete all of them.
When you have written your task list and set time targets, but before you prioritize them, ask yourself three questions:
• Do I need to do this? If the answer is 'no', then consider delegating it.
• Do I need to do this today (i.e. what will happen if I don't do it?). If the answer is 'no', why is it on your list?
• Does doing this task add value to the company or me? If the answer is 'no', then why are you even considering it?
Remember: By following the Ivy Lee System, you now have 13 months to reach your annual target!
Schwab taught this technique to his staff, and after one month he was so impressed that he sent Ivy Lee a check for $25,000.
Not bad for ten minutes work!
I have been using this system for thirty years, and I really don't know how I would manage without it.