/ 20.6.11 / 16 Comments /
The SIX Things List….will Change Your Life!
At least that’s true….according to Ivy Lee, who told Charles Schwab, a steel baron, over a hundred years ago to do this. I was so intrigued by this story which I just ran across while reading 31 Days to Clean: Having a Martha House the Mary Way (I highly recommend it!).
I can’t remember which chapter now, but I was intrigued by her mention of this story.
So of course, I clicked on the link.
I LOVE lists! I don’t necessarily like doing what is on the lists..but I love making them. (Yes..I know..unproductive.) In fact, I told you all about my idea of the BIG list…garnered from Don Aslet’s “How to Have a 48 Hour Day” only last Monday.
This idea..of doing the BIG job first and letting the smaller tasks work themselves into the schedule in the ‘blank’ time slots of the bigger job, definitely WORKS. No question.
But it does get a little bit discouraging to have a whole list of nothing but BIG jobs. Item no. one on my list, took two whole days. Item no. 2 took a day. One of the items, quilting Aunt Joan’s quilt, could easily take a week!
It’s great to have a list of the BIG jobs for reference as your long term goals for the month, but as far as getting everything organized for the day..and sticking to the tasks at hand, it’s not quite as helpful.
Lee told Schwab that he could GUARANTEE a dramatic increase in the efficiency of Schwab’s company by having only a fifteen minute meeting with each of the department heads of his company. He told Schwab to pay him whatever he thought the idea was worth at the end of three months.
What was this amazing secret?
Ivy Lee: "I want you to promise me that for the next ninety days, before leaving your office at the end of the day, you will make a list of the six most important things you have to do the next day and number them in their order of importance."
Three months later, Schwab gave Lee a check for $35,000.00 dollars! This, at a time when the average worker was making $2.00 per day! You can read the rest of this story..here.
Would this work for me? I hoped so! I’ve been plagued with a tendency to procrastinate for several years now…and I was so tired of it. These tasks weren’t mindless unimportant things like sweep the floor or sort the mail.
They were things like write your mother-in-law, send a graduation gift to a niece, pay an important bill, protest my property taxes, get a child registered for college classes—important stuff--things that matter!
Not doing these things…letters, birthday gifts, thank you notes, cards…all affected relationships in my life. They mattered a LOT and I wanted to change this.
The Sin of OmissionIt isn't the things you do, dear, It's the things you leave undone…. That gives you a bit of a heartache at setting of the sun.The letter you did not write. The flowers you did not send, dear, Are your haunting ghosts at night.The stone you might have lifted out of a brother's way, The bit of heartsome counsel You were hurried too much to say.The loving touch of the hand, dear, The gentle, winning tone Which you had not time nor thought for with troubles enough of your own.Those little acts of kindness So easily out of mind .Those chances to be angels Which we poor mortals find-They come in night and silence, Each sad, reproachful wraith When hope is faint and flagging And a chill has fallen on faithFor life is all to short, dear, And sorrow is all too geat, To suffer our slow compassion That tarries until too late;And it isn't the thing you do, dear,It's the thing you leave undoneWhich gives you a bit of a heartacheAt the setting of the sun."Margaret E. Sangster
I don’t know how busy your life is..but mine gets positively frantic…at times and other times..I just get in the ‘don’t wanna do it’ mood! I needed a way to stay focused and on track without losing sight of the ‘big picture’. After experimenting with this method for the last week, I’m convinced that this is life changing!
I feel so much more light hearted and cheerful! Things I’ve been putting off for way too long, and that have caused needless guilt, and even undermined relationships…are getting done left and right.
It’s wonderful! I feel like a new woman with all of these ‘tasks’ cleared off my plate. And the feeling of being able to bless my friends and relatives is even more rewarding. I want to be faithful in these supposedly ‘little’ things.
I finished almost everything on my ‘big list’ from last week, and handled several unexpected crisis.Today, I’m looking forward to a productive and guilt free week of getting things done…in an orderly manner. It feels great! I’ve still got some big tasks ahead of me..but everything that involved people is done for the most party. I can’t remember feeling so good about life as I do now.
I’ve sent gifts, cards, letters, packages, paid all the bills, got the laundry caught up (got behind while hosting company), and got some decluttering done.
I also made a big yummy meal for hubby for Father’s Day and had company. Plus we spent Saturday in Galveston and had a great family outing.
Every day, I wrote down the six most important things I needed to get done…then ordered them in terms of importance. Here’s my list for today….
SIX THINGS LIST
- See if we have pint size jars in the shed for a friend’s project. #3
- Ship packages and cards (Bdays, Father’s Day, Graduation). #1
- Drop by Wachovia to discuss Dad’s financial records. #5
- Take car by AutoZone to pinpoint reason for ‘check engine light’ (Needs inspection!) #4
- Call DILs and get birthdates and locations for their children..to pass on to MIL for genealogical records. #6
- Research Tapestry program for home school meeting on Tuesday. #2
Most jobs make it to the top of the list because they relate to MONEY or they are URGENT…or they matter to PEOPLE. You don’t see laundry, start supper, hang the large picture in my bedroom, or water the hydrangea on this list. Those things can be done in ‘little bits’ of time. :o) (Unless the laundry is WAY behind of course.)
I’ve been doing this for days..and now I feel weird. Nothing is ‘shouting’ at me. This is good! We want to live in a peaceful and orderly manner don’t we? Of course.
For the first time, I actually feel like I’m getting ‘ahead’ of the eight ball instead of running frantically away from it. I can face my kids and friends with peace in my heart. I’ve done the things they were relying on me to do (or expecting me to do.)
I hope this idea helps you be a more successful homemaker. There’s no reason our work should be stressful…nor fill us with guilt. Doing what we ‘ought’ to do when we ought to do it can give us a whole new outlook on life.
Try this ‘Six things list’ this week, and see if it doesn’t help you get over the hump of those ‘undone’ tasks that are gnawing at you like a burr under your saddle. :o)
Next week, I’ll talk more about the 31 Days to Clean ebook…a must have for any homemaker! (I won this in their giveaway! Thanks Sarah Mae!)
Let me know if you decide to try this list out… Are you a list maker? Or not…