Thomas Carlyle once said, “Our main business is not to see what lies dimly at a distance, but to do what lies clearly at hand.”
The Most Practical Lesson Charles Schwab Ever Learned
I read a story that Joe Griffith tells about a surprisingly practical lesson that Charles Schwab once learned…
He says, “Charles M. Schwab, the famous past-president of Bethlehem Steel Company, made it a practice to invest five minutes analyzing the various problems he should tackle the next day.
“He would write down those tasks in the order of their priority. When he arrived at the office the next morning, he would start with task number 1 as soon as he got in.
“When he had completed that task, he would move on to tasks 2, 3, 4, and 5 in order.
“The multimillionaire said, ‘This is the most practical lesson I’ve learned.’ He gave this example to prove his point: ‘I had put off a phone call for nine months, so I decided to list it as my number one task on my next day’s agenda. That call netted us a $2 million dollar order.'”
I think all of us realize the importance of prioritizing our work and personal lives.
We all want to do it, but we don’t end up doing it.
Why? I think that we feel too overwhelmed to do it effectively anymore.
We have so much to do – so many responsibilities calling out to us – that we don’t know what to focus on, so we focus on the thing that’s screaming at us the loudest.
And that’s not the best way to live.
There’s No Extra Time Left
Robert Ringer said something interesting about trying to find more time to do things in a blog post he wrote on October 15, 2013.
Ringer said, “Forget about trying to find time. In an active life, there’s none of that stuff lying around unused. If something is important enough to you, make the time to do it.”
In other words, the only way you are going to find time for things is
by prioritizing them and designating time for them.
The Origin of the Word “Priority”
The word “priority” comes from the Latin word “prior” meaning “former” denoting precedence in time or rank.
To make something a priority therefore means to “give something precedence over other things.”
This simple task of prioritizing is the thing that is needed more than ever in this A.D.D.-causing, non-stop, never-sleep, information-flooded world.
Priority: The Secret of Effectiveness
Priority is the secret of effectiveness in any arena of life.
- The most effective people in the spiritual arena of life are the ones who make the spiritual area of their life a priority.
- The people who are in the best physical shape tend to be the people who make exercise and healthy eating a priority.
- Those who have great family relationships are usually the people who make family a priority.
- Those who succeed in business are those who make their business a priority.
Pick any area and the same principle will ring true: The things that you prioritize will become the things you are the most effective at.
That means that if there is any area of your personal life (or business life) that you want to become more effective in, then you must prioritize that area of your life.
You must give that area of your life “precedence over other things”. Other things must take 2nd place to this particular area.
But you must not only prioritize that area of your life, you must also prioritize the most important tasks related to that area.
And that leads me to a warning.
A Warning About Priorities
Prioritizing seems like a simple process, but it’s not something you should do casually.
Why? Because many times the initial tasks that we prioritize are not the things we really should be giving precedence to.
Two different business owners in the exact same situation and exact same type of business might both prioritize business in their life, but ONE becomes more effective and the other doesn’t.
It’s because one prioritized the right business tasks and one prioritized the wrong business tasks – ones that only appeared to be important.
(NOTE: There can be many other factors that can cause one business to succeed and another to fail. But the things they focus on and prioritize have a major impact.)
That means that you need to take prioritizing seriously.
Don’t laugh at this, but I’d say it like this, “You need to make prioritizing a priority.” (<– Click here to tweet this quote.)
You need to commit time and thought to it.
Because the fact is this…
What you prioritize in your life will grow and what you neglect will slowly die. (<– Click here to tweet this italicized quote.)
3 Questions to Get You Started
Here are a few questions to help to begin to prioritize:
- In what areas of my life am I struggling or failing?
Have I prioritized this area of my life?
- If you have prioritized this area, but you’re still struggling, then you should ask yourself: Am I prioritizing the right tasks in this area of my life?
- In what areas of my life do I want to improve or see change? How should I re-prioritize things to focus more on this area?
*If you’d like more ideas about how to prioritize more effectively, then check out the “3 Keys” below.
Share Your results
I love to hear any new results you see from applying what you learned in this post! Please come back and leave a comment below or feel free to contact me instead.
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These three simple things can help you to become better at prioritizing and provide you with some commonly overlooked ways to your reschedule your life to fit in the things that matter.
And just so you understand, these “3 keys” are NOT just something I made up.
I discovered them.
1. The first key is something that many of the “Greats” from the past implemented daily in their lives.
2. The second key is based on an ancient concept which was unknowingly implemented by one of the greatest thinkers of the 20th century.
3. The third key is based on a mindset that both modern productivity experts and an ancient group of people agree upon.
NOTE: At the link above you’ll find:
- A video describing who the “3 keys” can help the most
- 2 testimonials from people who have tried them
- What Henry Ford said is the weakness of us all
- And more
Photo by Style: Raw
IMPORTANT: I always use Amazon affiliate links when I link to any books on Amazon. The Joe Griffith link above is no different.
- Everything Should Be Made As Simple As Possible, But Not Simpler (baybusinesshelp.com)