How To Increase Your Productivity By 50 Percent

19 replies
There is a method by which you can separate your important tasks from the unimportant that will increase your productivity by at least 50 percent. This method is best illustrated by a story I heard from the late Earl Nightingale, one of the founders of the Nightingale Conant Corporation. This method is commonly referred to as The $25,000 Idea.


This story began when a president of a big steel company granted an interview to an productivity expert named Ivy Lee. Mr. Lee explained to this president that he could help him to a better job of managing his company. The president realized that he needed to take more action on what he knew. The president explained further that if you, Mr. Lee, could show us a better way of getting things done, we would listen to you and pay you anything you ask for within reason.


Lee went on to explain a simple, but very effective strategy that would take approximately 20 minutes a day. Lee gave the executive a blank sheet of paper and asked him to write down the six important tasks you want to accomplish tomorrow.



The next step that Lee explained was that you must then order those tasks by their importance to you and/or your company.


Now, once tomorrow arrives review that task list and focus on completing task number one. Don't bother looking at the others and just start working on the most important task. Do so until that item is completed. Then, you can move onto number two and work with that in the same manner to complete it. Continue in this manner with the rest of the items till you have to quit for the day.


Further more, don't worry if you only finish one or two items. The others can be added to your list for the next day. Continue to do this strategy for every working day. Lee then offered the executive to try this strategy for as long as he liked until he convinced himself of the value that it gives him and his company. Lee than asked the company executive to send him a check for whatever he thought the idea was worth.


A few short works after this meeting, the executive presented Ivy Lee a check for $25,000 with a letter stating "the lesson was the most profitable, from a money standpoint, he'd ever learned in his life." It was later discovered that within five years this was the plan that was largely responsible for turning this small steel company into one of the biggest independent steel producers in the world.


So, over the next 7 days I challenge you to take this one idea, the idea of taking things one at a time in order of their importance and sticking with the one task until it is successfully completed before moving on to the next task.



I feel if you challenged yourself to utilize this strategy for the rest of your life, you will be astonished at the order it will bring into your life, plus the speed at which you'll be able to accomplish more tasks that need to be accomplished in order of their importance.


So what are your thoughts? Was this post helpful for you? I'd love to hear your comments.
#increase #percent #productivity
  • Profile picture of the author keithclean
    Great post, it's really valuable! I will implement it for sure
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  • Profile picture of the author Lilwarrior
    I just read the opposite a couple of days ago, how you should move on to something new if you get stuck too long doing any one task
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    • Profile picture of the author HorseStall
      Originally Posted by Lilwarrior View Post

      I just read the opposite a couple of days ago, how you should move on to something new if you get stuck too long doing any one task
      I subscribe to this way of thinking. No sense beating your head against the wall, if your not making progress change it up.

      I think the point the person is trying to make is that if you divide your attention between too many tasks nothing will get accomplished.
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  • Profile picture of the author tobyR
    I think its all about what works for you as an individual. Hence thats where the opposites come in. For some having a break from say writers block works for others by persevering they work through it - horses for courses - find what suits you
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  • Profile picture of the author scortillion
    Great post, I read this before someplace. Might be worth trying for a few weeks to see what result I get. Thanks for the post.
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  • Profile picture of the author Brian Kerr
    Nice post, I forgot about this story until now.
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  • Profile picture of the author PaulMark
    Love Nightingale's training. I listen to "The Strangest Secret" at least once a month. POWERFUL.
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    • Profile picture of the author Carol_A
      Yep, had read this in Mary Kay's biography.

      I had started to implement it, but instead printed out a list of main things to focus on and just start at the top and work my way down in order of priority.

      Thanks for the reminder!
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  • Profile picture of the author titookello
    [DELETED]
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  • Profile picture of the author IMoptimizer
    I agree with everything you listed, fantastic way of scheduling time.

    I schedule my work during the morning hours and my 'me' time after I finish my work. When you get your work done early, you'll have the rest of the day to enjoy.
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    • Profile picture of the author USGTMauthor
      Being in the time management niche I can say there are dozens of complicated time management schemes, methods and gadgets out there, but the this simple advice will will take you further than many of the techniques the so called gurus push. Why, because of the focus it gives you by putting a few important things in the forefront and also by removing the distractions of the others. Thanks for posting it.
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  • Profile picture of the author reboot38
    Great approach but it seems to eliminate multitasking completely. I like to focus on a "large" project with several unrelated tasks sitting in waiting. That way if I hit a stopping point or just get bored at the moment, I can switch gears and tend to other smaller unrelated tasks. Then go back to the larger project. Call it adult ADD but I can't focus on anything for hours at a time
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    • Profile picture of the author MrMatts
      Thats a really nice story. As said here earlier there is a abundance of time management tools out there. But in the end of the day the more complicated things get the less you tend to use them.

      The most simplest thing I have found is The Pomodro technique, since I always have hard time focusing. You basically have this same list as explained here and then you work 25 minutes at time and take 3 minute rest between every 25 minute. Just use a standard egg timer to count down the time. It might not fit in all work enviroments but for IM i find it works very well. I think Pomodro is awesome for people like me that have hard time focusing on one thing at time.
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  • Profile picture of the author Intermission
    I have heard this story before, but I sure did need to hear it again right now! Very timely.

    Thanks.
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  • Profile picture of the author gman2010
    Originally Posted by keithaul View Post

    There is a method by which you can separate your important tasks from the unimportant that will increase your productivity by at least 50 percent. This method is best illustrated by a story I heard from the late Earl Nightingale, one of the founders of the Nightingale Conant Corporation. This method is commonly referred to as The $25,000 Idea.


    This story began when a president of a big steel company granted an interview to an productivity expert named Ivy Lee. Mr. Lee explained to this president that he could help him to a better job of managing his company. The president realized that he needed to take more action on what he knew. The president explained further that if you, Mr. Lee, could show us a better way of getting things done, we would listen to you and pay you anything you ask for within reason.


    Lee went on to explain a simple, but very effective strategy that would take approximately 20 minutes a day. Lee gave the executive a blank sheet of paper and asked him to write down the six important tasks you want to accomplish tomorrow.



    The next step that Lee explained was that you must then order those tasks by their importance to you and/or your company.


    Now, once tomorrow arrives review that task list and focus on completing task number one. Don't bother looking at the others and just start working on the most important task. Do so until that item is completed. Then, you can move onto number two and work with that in the same manner to complete it. Continue in this manner with the rest of the items till you have to quit for the day.


    Further more, don't worry if you only finish one or two items. The others can be added to your list for the next day. Continue to do this strategy for every working day. Lee then offered the executive to try this strategy for as long as he liked until he convinced himself of the value that it gives him and his company. Lee than asked the company executive to send him a check for whatever he thought the idea was worth.


    A few short works after this meeting, the executive presented Ivy Lee a check for $25,000 with a letter stating "the lesson was the most profitable, from a money standpoint, he'd ever learned in his life." It was later discovered that within five years this was the plan that was largely responsible for turning this small steel company into one of the biggest independent steel producers in the world.


    So, over the next 7 days I challenge you to take this one idea, the idea of taking things one at a time in order of their importance and sticking with the one task until it is successfully completed before moving on to the next task.



    I feel if you challenged yourself to utilize this strategy for the rest of your life, you will be astonished at the order it will bring into your life, plus the speed at which you'll be able to accomplish more tasks that need to be accomplished in order of their importance.


    So what are your thoughts? Was this post helpful for you? I'd love to hear your comments.
    This is great! Exactly what I need at the moment. I have that many things that I'm trying to achieve and feel as though I'm not geting anywhere as I'm trying to do them all at once.

    It's usually the simple things that make a big difference..

    Thanks
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  • Profile picture of the author paulie888
    Thanks for sharing this. I had read about this before, but had pretty much forgotten about it until coming across your post. This process of organization will work wonders, especially in IM, since there are typically so many tasks to attend to, and information overload is a very real issue that everyone encounters to a certain extent.

    I think that keeping it manageable (to 6 tasks) simplifies things and keeps you thinking too far ahead, which complicates things unnecessarily and keeps you from focusing on the tasks which will yield the most benefit right now.

    Paul
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  • Profile picture of the author MissLizzie
    Thanks so much for the story! Its really lovely.

    For me, part of the problem is that as marketers, we're always on the internet and that means there's always something else to do and worry about - it's just natural procrastination. This is a great reminder that we should occasionally turn off the email and get on with the work that we need to do!
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