Ivy Lee was an efficiency expert early in the eighteenth century. in 1918, he was contacted Charles Schwab, owner of Bethlehem Steel Corporation, and asked to help "get more things done". Lee asked for 15 minutes with each of Bethlehem's executives, and promised immediate gains. "How much will it cost me?" asked Schwab. "Nothing" replied Lee, explaining that Schwab could pay him whatever he thought was fair after he saw the results after three months.
During the 15 minute meetings, Lee told each executive to write down the six things that were most important to complete the next day, in priority order. He told them when they get in the next day to only focus on the first task, until it is complete. Go down the list, one at a time. At the end of the day, carry over unfinished items. Do this every day.
Three months later, Schwab sent Lee a check for $25,000 (more than $400,000 in today's dollars). The efficiency of his team had improved dramatically, and their success and profitability followed.
Are you as efficient as you want to be? Do you accomplish the things you hope to each day? Each month? Each year?
The tools you choose to keep organized can have a significant effect on your efficiency and effectiveness. When your career started they may have meant a yellow pad with a to do list, a well maintained day timer and a briefcase full with lots to read and work on.
All of these tools have been improved with technology, and improved dramatically with apps that help you to maximize these activities. You might want to test drive:
Wunderlist. Available on your computer, via the web and on your mobile devices, this is a to do list on steroids. Create multiple lists, add deadlines and reminders, share tasks with others and include notes, documents and images in your list.
Evernote. Never again will you find yourself in need of a bit of information that is written down in your office. This electronic notebook allows you to have all of your notes available to you all of the time, and includes powerful tools to organize them into "notebooks", add documents, images, links, etc. and share with others.
Pocket. This "electronic clipper" allows you to keep copies of every article you want to read, with a permanent copy on your computer/device available even when you are not connected. With your organized, archived and searchable library of articles, you can use even small amounts of downtime to stay productive.
There are many more, but these seem to be the ones my attorney clients enjoy the best. Consider giving one or all of them a try. I'll let you decide what you want to pay me for this advice after you see the results.
David DePietto is the founder and CEO of NexFirm. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org