Steve Jobs once said that “the most precious resource we all have is time”.
So it’s no wonder that so many of us are obsessed with managing time more effectively by adopting the perfect time management system.
But how can any time management system be worth $2.9m?
I first came across this story in the book Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill.
Think and Grow Rich is a motivational personal development book first published in 1937 and although many people think it’s about getting rich, the philosophies taught in the book have led countless people from all walks of life to succeed.
In fact, the former American sports writer for the LA Times, Jim Murray, once wrote that Think and Grow Rich was credited with Ken Norton’s defeat of Mohammed Ali back in 1973.
It’s a powerful book, with powerful stories.
Enter Charles M. Schwab
This particular time management system story has had a major impact on helping me become more productive, and it simplifies everything about the way you should approach delivering projects on a daily basis.
Back in 1903, Charles M. Schwab left US Steel to run the Bethlehem Shipbuilding and Steel company, located in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania.
One day a management consultant by the name of Ivy Lee called upon the steel magnate and outlined his firm’s services.
Ending his pitch with the statement: “with our service, you’ll know how to manage better”
Schwab said “I’m not managing as well now as I know how. What we need around here is not more “knowing” but more “doing”, not “knowledge”, but “action”.
If you can give us something to pep us up to do the things we already know how to do, I’ll gladly listen to you and pay you anything you ask”.
“Fine”, said Lee “I can give you something in 20 minutes that will step up you action and doing by at least 50 percent”.
“Okay”, said Schwab. “I have just about that much time before I must leave to catch a train. What’s your idea?”
The 3″x 5″ Card
Lee pulled out a blank 3”x5” card out of his pocket and handed it to Schwab and said: “write on this sheet the 6 most important tasks you must do tomorrow”.
That took Schwab about 3 minutes.
[The beauty of using a small piece of card of course is that you have to be concise.]
Next he told Schwab to “number the tasks in the order of their importance”.
5 more minutes passed.
Keep Looking At The Card
Next Lee told Schwab to put the card in his pocket and the first thing in the morning to look at item number one and start working on it.
Then, pull the card out of his pocket every 15 minutes and look at item one on the must do list was done.
When item one is complete, tackle item two in the same way, then three etc until quitting time.
Of course it doesn’t matter if you only finish a couple of tasks on your must do list, but they will be the most important ones. The others can wait.
If you can’t finish all the tasks on the list then you wouldn’t be able to do it with any other time management system either.
Without some sort of time management system you wouldn’t be able to decide which were the most important tasks.
Lee went on to tell Schwab that he should “spend the last 5 minutes of every working day making out a “must do” list for the next day’s tasks. After you’ve convinced yourself of the worth of this system, have your men try it. Try it for as long as you wish then send a cheque for what you think it’s worth”.
$1,000 A Minute
The whole meeting lasted about 25 minutes.
Two weeks later Schwab sent Lee a cheque for $25,000, a $1,000 a minute for teaching him the time management system. That would be around $2.9m in today’s money.
Was The System Worth It?
Apparently Schwab included a note saying the lesson was the most profitable he had ever learned.
And as to whether it worked, in the 5 years after learning of the time management system, Schwab was able to turn the unknown Bethlehem steel Company into the 2nd biggest in the US and made Schwab a huge fortune.
If Schwab was willing to pay almost $3m, don’t you think it would be worth checking out?
Interested in how to implement this?
With all the money you make from following this system you could afford a Business Breakthrough Coaching session.
Its an excellent way for an in depth 1:1 business propelling consultation.
This is how It works:
You bring your biggest issue, or your roadblock, or just the thing you need advice on, and I give it my undivided attention for 30 minutes.
What are you waiting for?