After leaving my 8 to 5 job to run my business from home, it didn’t take long to discover I needed to boost my daily productivity. There was so much to do! It was overwhelming. My daily task lists were at least 20 to 30 items long. I was overrun with work, and needed a simpler method to stay on track. That’s when I discovered the Ivy Lee Method.
Apparently, sometime in 1918, the wealthy Charles M. Schwab sought the services of productivity consultant Ivy Lee. Even though Schwab was already very successful, he wanted to get even more done. Lee took on the task and came up with a simple (and still effective) five-step productivity hack.
Are you ready? It’s pretty elegant in its simplicity.
- At the end of each day, write down the six most important things you need to get done the next day. Do not write down more than six.
- Prioritize items in order of importance.
- Each morning, focus on the first task. Work until the first item is completed before moving to the second task.
- Approach the rest of the list the same way. Continue moving unfinished tasks to the next day’s list.
- Repeat daily.
I know, I know. Some of you are saying, “I literally have 85 things to do every day.” I get it. Being a small business owner, or a blogger, or a parent, means you wear a lot of different hats. But this method really does work. Has been working for nearly a hundred years.
Why is it so effective? It helps you:
- critically think about your tasks
- cut out extraneous items from your day
- have a ready-made structure for the next morning.
Plus, just because you’re focusing on six top items, doesn’t mean that you won’t have extra time in your day to take on even more. Once you’ve crossed off your “top six” by all means, keep going! But at the very least, you know the most crucial to-do items are getting done.
I designed this printable with the Ivy Lee Method in mind to keep myself focused. It’s simple and easy to use! It has helped me immensely, and I hope it helps you too.