Was this your face this morning? Did you walk into the office and got hit with “emergencies” before you got to your desk? Did you plan to do some writing today, but your mind is blank ever after two cups of coffee?
Welcome to Mondays. Well, actually it can be any day. Last Friday week we talked about getting our life in focus. We talked about taking a minute, stopping everything, and centering ourselves.
We could easily come up with one thing and work on it till it’s done. But what do we do when we have a lot of things and don’t know where to start? I have your solution and it won’t cost you a dime. Just your time.
You ready? Write it down. But not just any type of way. Grab a pen and sheet of paper and prepare to be more productive.
The method we are going to use is called the Ivy Lee Method. Mr. Lee was considered the founder of modern public relations. He is famous for creating successful public relations firms, but most notably for the work he did for Charles M. Swab at Bethlehem Steel Corporation.
Mr. Lee instructed the managers at BSC to write down their top six priorities for the day when they arrived to work. Once they had them listed he told them to list them in order of priority. When they finished that he told them to begin working on the first one. Easy enough right?
Yes, but the key was the managers could not move to the next item on the list until the first one was completed. No matter what. They had to complete all tasks in the order they set and couldn’t move on for any reason.
See, in the Lee Method there was no multitasking. No working on multiple tasks and projects at the same time. Why? Because honestly, multitasking simply doesn’t work. Studies have shown that it slowly lowers your IQ and weakens your ability to focus effectively.
So why do people still like to multitask? Because society tells us it works. In the military I always prided myself as an efficient multitasker but honestly looking back I wasn’t. In hindsight, the projects I worked on never were done with my best ability. Not when I was juggling more than two projects or missions at the same time.
I learned quickly that if I delegated the majority of the tasks to someone else, they could give it their best and then reap the praise for their work. The key was having them give one hundred percent of their attention and effort to one task. And it always worked wonders.
So I want you to try it. Take out a piece of paper grab the writing instrument of your choice. Now list the top six things you want to accomplish today. Now prioritize them on how important they are by labeling them one through six. Done? Good. Now remember that you can’t move on to number two until you are completely finished with the first task.
Do it to today and comment below how it worked for you. What’s on your list?