Assembly time wasn’t really something that I looked forward too when I was in middle school. After lunch, every student would have to go to the main hall and sit down, cross-legged, before singing hymns that were projected onto the walls. On the odd occasion, our head master would stand up and give a speech, usually a story from his life. Now, around 7 years later, I’m going to share one of his fictional stories that contains the greatest productivity tip I had ever heard. Before I get right into it, I have to say that I have no idea where this story originates and whether it is well known. I’m sure my way of telling it is quite different to the way I heard it some years ago, but the most important point is that it includes the invaluable message.
The Story (and The Sentence)
John had just finished school with decent, yet unremarkable grades and decided not to further his education. Instead, he decided that he wanted to get into Law, and set himself a challenge to work for the largest Law firm in his city. Due to his lack of qualifications, he understood that he would have to start small and work his way up the ranks. His parents were shocked when one day he informed them that he had managed to secure a job with the global brand. They were less surprised however when he revealed his position: cleaner. For 3 months John worked hard, 6 days per week, mopping and scrubbing to try and impress his seniors in the hope of a better position. On one ordinary Thursday, when he was cleaning the office of the CEO, he noticed that the man at the head of the company appeared to be tired and stressed. “What’s wrong”, John asked hesitantly (he had never spoken to the CEO before). “Ah, just the usual, son” he replied. “Anything I can help with?” John continued. “Not unless you know how I’m supposed to organise all these tasks, I don’t know what to work on first and it’s all coming in quicker then I can process it due to hesitation”. “Ah, no problem” said John as he put down his map and sat in the chair next to the CEO who looked very taken aback. “Here’s the secret…” “All you have to do is put all your tasks in order or priority, and start on the most important one
. Even if you don’t get to finish the task today, there’s no way
you could have been more productive with your time”. Amazed at this simple but logical response, the CEO told John never to pick up his mop again. Instead, he should go pick up a new suit as he has just been promoted to Director of Company Operations. Of course, these 9 tips for adopting the ‘now habit’
will also help.