How to make millions by writing in a journal

This is the simplest way I’ve heard of getting more done.

Note that I said simple, not easy. Those are two very different things. But a friend shared this story with me a few days ago, and I loved it so much that I wanted to share it here.

Firstly, it shows that working hard works. There’s no such thing as a free lunch in this world: you get out what you put in.

Secondly, I love the idea of slowing but surely working towards a goal. Just improving slightly every day — that’s what the Daily Practice Journal is all about. And over time, those gains compound, and the result is incredible.

So without further ado, I give you the story of how Charles Schwab made milliions of dollars by journaling:

One day a management consultant, Ivy Lee, called on Charles Schwab of the Bethlehem Steel Company. Lee briefly outlined his firm’s services, ending with the statement: “With our service, you’ll know how to manage better.”
The indignant 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 we ought to do, I’ll gladly listen to you and pay you anything you ask.”
“Fine,” said Lee. “I can give you something in twenty minutes that will step up your action and doing at least fifty percent.”
“Okay,” said Schwab. “I have just about that much time before I must leave to catch a train. What’s your idea?”
Lee pulled a blank 3” x 5” note sheet out of his pocket, handed it to Schwab and said: “Write on this sheet the five most important tasks you have to do tomorrow.” That took about three minutes. The beauty of using a small piece of paper is that you have to be concise.
“Now,” said Lee, “Number them in the order of their importance.” Five more minutes passed.
“Now,” said Lee, “Put this sheet in your pocket and the first thing tomorrow morning, look at item one and start working on it. Pull the sheet out of your pocket every fifteen minutes and look at item one until it is finished. Then tackle item two in the same way, then item three. Do this until quitting time. Don’t be concerned if you only finished two or three, or even if you only finish one item. You’ll be working on the important ones. The others can wait. If you can’t finish them all by this method, you couldn’t with another method either, and without some system you’d probably not even decide which are most important.”
He went on, “Spend the last five 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 out as long as you wish and then send me a check for what YOU think it’s worth.”
The whole interview lasted about 25 minutes. In two weeks, Schwab sent Lee a check for $25,000 — a thousand dollars a minute. He added a note saying the lesson was the most profitable he had ever learned. Did it work? In five years it turned the unknown Bethlehem Steel Company into the biggest independent steel producer in the world, and made Schwab a hundred-million-dollar fortune, and the best-known steel man alive at that time.

It’s amazing what you can accomplish if you just make a little progress every day — get a few things done, get a little smarter, a little fitter, a little healthier. I created the Daily Practice Journal to help me do exactly that.

This post originally appeared on TheDailyPracticeJournal.com.

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