Ivy Lee Method
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The Ivy Lee method is a genius productivity method that will help you get more done!

I use this method frequently to help me stay productive when running my blog and business

If you’re not productively using your time your business will go nowhere. That’s why productivity methods are so popular!

According to this article, the Ivy Lee method was created by a man named Charles Schwab in 1918 (Yes, really that long ago!)

He was hired by another businessman to help the staff be more productive.

It worked so well, the method has stuck around for many years!

How does the Ivy Lee Method work?

The Ivy Lee method is only 5 simple steps:

  1. At the end of your workday, write down six tasks you want to achieve for the next day. Do not write down more than six.
  2. Prioritize those 6 tasks, ordering them from most important to least
  3. When you come to work tomorrow, only focus on the first task. Do not work on anything else until you’ve finished it.
  4. Then move to the second task, finish it, and so on. Move any unfinished tasks to a list of six new tasks for tomorrow.
  5. Repeat this process every day you work.

Yes, it really is that simple!

Why does this method work?

This is clearly a really simple process that is easy to repeat. But why does it work so well?

It forces you to focus on prioritization 

Only setting 6 tasks you need to do for the day forces you to focus on prioritization.

You have to decide which 6 tasks are the most important, and no more than that.

This gives you no room to procrastinate or work on “busy work” that won’t actually help you reach your goals.

Many people think multitasking is a good idea when in reality it is not.

And with only 6 tasks you can do for the day, prioritized correctly, you have no choice but to focus on what’s most important.

Personally, if I don’t have a clear plan of what to do and I have tons of ideas or tasks I want to get done, it makes my head spin.

I get so frustrated with what to do first and where to start, that I end up staying on the couch, too overwhelmed to even begin.

But this method makes things simple. You only have 6 things to do.

The Ivy Lee Method makes things simple

Your methods for getting work done don’t always have to be super complicated with a ton of steps. Sometimes simpler is better.

Come up with 6 important tasks, finish one before moving on to another, and repeat!

Plus, this simple method makes it easier to get back on track when you’ve been met with daily distractions.

How to hack your productivity to get more done with the Ivy Lee Method!

Start the next day with less thought

Less time being wasted is more time to be productive, right?

When you end your day with a plan for tomorrow, you’ll have an easier time starting the day.

Sometimes creating a plan and starting on it is the hardest thing to do. This method takes away the hard part.

Plus you may go to bed with a little bit more confidence and sleep better knowing exactly what you’ll be doing when you wake up! (I know I do!)

On top of that, trying to make your to-do list in the morning could be a little tricky.

You’ve had quite a few hours away from your desk, in which you’ve had to sleep, make dinner, deal with the kids, or whatever home-life distractions you may have.

This break away from your desk could make you remember less about the things you accomplished yesterday, leaving you unsure about where you left off.

Whereas, if you create your to-do list the night before, everything you’ve done for the day is fresh in your mind.

You’ll be more likely to make informed decisions about the steps you need to take today to reach your goals.

The Ivy Lee Method leaves no room for multitasking

Lots of people love multitasking because they think it will help them get more done, when in reality that’s not the case.

So this method may be hard for some who get distracted often. (Like me!)

But, research has proven that our brains can not reliably focus on a bunch of things at once.

If you end up switching between tasks often, it will take you longer to get everything done because your brain needs to focus back on the tasks at each and every switch.

Then, you’ll end up with a bunch of half-finished projects, or finished projects that aren’t your best work

If you liked the Ivy Lee Method, check out some other posts I have on productivity!

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  1. We think multitasking helps better utilize our time.
    But believe me that’s not really true! Instead multitasking takes a lot of effort and time than if that work is done individually. It only creates the pressure of work. For me this is most important point to worth noting.

    Thanks for sharing this productivity post.

    1. Multi-tasking is definitely not the way to go!

  2. Since you put them in order from least important to most important, it sounds like the first task of the day is the least important one. Then if you don’t complete all six tasks, the most important ones don’t get done. That doesn’t make sense to me. Am I misunderstanding? Thanks.

    1. I never really thought about it like that! I guess it would make more sense to order it the other way, I’ll have to change that to make it more clear! Thanks for pointing it out.

  3. I’d never heard of this, but I do a couple of bits from it anyway. I might give this a try when I come back from holiday, great post.

  4. I’ve never heard of this method before. It sounds like a good method to be more productive as it eliminates multitasking, which is something I sometimes struggle with! Thank you for this post!
    – Pixie | Productive Pixie

    1. It has really helped me focus! I hope it helps you as well!

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