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Tuesday, October 12, 2010

History of the To-Do Lists

Today, the most widely used and suggested tip for efficient time management is - to maintain a perfect To-Do list. Few people seriously follow this and the few, like me, prefer to have a To-Do list something like this :-)

well jokes apart, here is an interesting story about how these To-Do lists started off:

Once, almost an hundred years ago, an industrialist called Charles M Schwab, who was the President of the Bethlehem Steel company in USA felt that things aren't going that smoothly for him and the company. So in order to improve his own efficiency and of the management team at the steel company, he sought the help of Ivy Lee, who was a famous efficiency expert then.

Mr. Lee agreed to improve the people's efficiency and when he was asked about the cost, Ivy said, "Nothing, unless this works. After 3 months you can send me any amount for whatever you feel it is worth to your company" .

Ivy Lee spent about 15 minutes with each member of the management team and asked them to follow the below instructions:
  1. At the end of each day, write down the six most important tasks to be done on the next day
  2. Prioritize the list.
  3. Next day, start working on the first task and when that task gets completed, start working on the second task and so on.
  4. At the end of the day again, create the list for the next day, adding the unfinished tasks for that day to the top of the list.
  5. Do this for the next 3 months and check the results.
At first, all executives were surprised with this but interestingly, this idea, which looked very simple did wonders in the steel company and after 3 months, it is said that Mr. Charles Schwab sent Lee, a check for $25000!!!!!!

$25000 in those 1900s is indeed an huge amount - what an idea sir ji !!!

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