I’ve bought my fair share of ‘Productivity’ Books in my time, and I’ve read plenty of tips and tricks when it comes to increasing one’s productivity. (Actually now that I’ve come to think about it, I’ve probably wasted a lot of time reading them when I could have been productive…). My issue/gripe with most of the advice out there is that (honestly) it’s just plain ass boring. Secondly, when any productivity system requires a wall-sized flow-chart and a PhD in Calculus to understand it it totally misses the point of being productive.

Or is it just me.

Who knows what the real cost of non-productiveness actually is? Who cares when the answer is so boring?

The true cost of non productivity is not actually money, even though everyone has probably heard the saying that ‘Time is Money’. The true cost is the diminishing of spirit, a general malaise of unimportance and the constant feeling of drowning under the trivial many over the important few.

Innately I believe that we all feel that our time, on this little spinning planet,  is actually quite precious, and no one wants to feel like they’re not useful, that they’re wasting time or that they’re simply just running on the spot.

To feel great about your day, to feel great about our work and our personal lives we MUST get a grip on how we use our time. Understanding how we can become slightly more productive can help.

I actually stumbled across this productivity tip twice, once was from a good internet marketing friend Lou Hardy and the other was after a coaching session with my business mentors. I think they gave me this story, because a) It works b) it’s simple c) They know I like simple things that work.

“Everything should be made as simple as possible, but not simpler.” – Albert Einstein

Before you read the productivity tip that was reportedly worth a million dollars just know that this story has circulated throughout the ages many times, sometimes the details differ, sometimes the names differ like here  but what stays the same is the effectiveness of the process. So don’t get bogged down by the story, just really understand the steps.

The Story of the Million Dollar Tip

Mr Andrew Carnegie

You’ve probably heard of the Million Dollar Baby but have you ever heard of the million dollar tip? Well, in the early 1900’s, just as Andrew Carnegie was building his fortune, a man came into his office offering to sell his services as a consultant. Carnegie was dubious as to whether a man unknown to him could offer intellectual information worth paying for.

The consultant, believing so fully that he possessed information of great value to Carnegie made him a bold offer. He told Carnegie that if he would just give him 15 minutes, he would provide, at no charge whatsoever, information that would multiply his (Carnegie’s) fortune now and everyday thereafter.

But he held this single stipulation: If Carnegie decided to use the information and in doing so, found it to be worthwhile, he must promise to send whatever he determined to be an appropriate payment to the consultant. Carnegie agreed to hear the man out, so he promptly told the secret that I’m sharing with you here.



  1. Each night before going to bed, take out a small piece of paper and thereon write six things that you can and must accomplish tomorrow that will bring greatest value to your business.
  2. After listing the six things . . . write a number by each one ~ one through six ~ indicating priority.
  3. Upon rising the next morning ~ gather the piece of paper and set immediately to work doing the first thing until it is completed ~ then move on to number 2, 3, and so on. Complete each task in order. Do not allow anything to distract or redirect your efforts until every task on the small piece of paper is completed.(Once these things are done you may work as you please on projects of importance as you decide.)
  4. Repeat this process each night and every day until it becomes your habit.
  5. Teach this same process to all your main people.
  6. Instruct them to do likewise ~ to repeat the process, until it becomes habit. Then they should teach it to their main people.

The Result of the Million Dollar Tip

When finished, he thanked Mr. Carnegie for his time, gathered his things and left. After a few weeks of using the method ~ Carnegie was so impressed with his own productiveness and effectiveness that he sent the man a check for $25,000 (conservatively that amount would equal $1,000,000 today).

Carnegie developed the habit completely ~ then set about to teach it to his main people. Productivity, moral, attitude and profitability from this single, simple activity was so remarkable that he continued to use the process the rest of his life and considered it to be among the most valuable advice he ever received.

How To Get The Most Out Of This Productivity Tip

So was that tip useful to you? Was it worth a million dollars? Was it worth 10 dollars? Well if it was worth anything to you then you can send me a check, payable to yours truly to my home address lol.

In all seriousness though this one tip could be invaluable. How do I know?

Obviously because I use it!

But like all productivity tips, it only works if you work it.

I recommend doing exactly what the first four steps are and do it just for one week. Experiment with this tip on yourself and your own productivity.

Out of all the step what separates itself from other productivity hacks is Step 2. Perhaps you’ve got plenty of ‘To Do’ list. We’re all drowning under To Do Lists! That’s not what we need. We need a system to prioritize what we intend to do. This is the important part. This is the clincher.

Now obviously for Andrew Carnegie the most important things related to his business, but for you it could be about work, or you might have a side project, or it could be about duties at home and for the family.

Limiting it to six requires you to not go on a tangent of ‘to-do’ (or is that just me?) and then further prioritizing that list of 6 into numbers of importance helps you get clear of whats most important.

I hope this little story about a one million dollar tip was of value to you. If you have any questions or productivity tips that work for you please don’t hesitate to share them below.