The Ivy Lee Method was named after the productivity consultant and public relations expert, Ivy Lee. James Clear, New York Times Best Selling author of the book Atomic Habits, Tiny Changes, Remarkable Results shared the story on his blog.

So here goes. In 1918, Charles M Schwab was one of the richest men in the world. He was the President of Bethlehem Steel Corporation. Schwab, who wanted to get an edge over his competitors, arranged a meeting with Lee.

Schwab wanted Lee to help him get more done. Lee met with his executives but opted not to take an initial fee. However, he asked Schwab to send him after 3 months a cheque for whatever he deemed that the service was worth.

Schwab later remitted a cheque for $25,000 which is the equivalent of about $400,000 in 2015.

Hereunder is the 5 step process that Lee shared with the executives.

The Ivy Lee Process

The Ivy Lee method is a five step process that involves the following:

  •  At the end of each workday, write down six most important tasks that you need to accomplish the following day.
  •  Rank tasks in order of importance.
  •  The next day focus on the first task until it is completed. Then move on to the second task.
  •  Any remaining task is moved to the following day.
  •  Repeat the process at the end of each day.

Advantages of the Ivy Lee Method

The Ivy Lee Method has several advantages:

  • It is simple. Just get a piece of paper and make a list.
  • It forces the individual to plan ahead and prioritise. By thinking about your top six important tasks for the following day, you automatically eliminate the tasks that are not critical.
  • At the beginning of everyday, you are clear on what your focus needs to be as tasks are set the previous day.
  • It allows the individual to focus on one task at a time. While multi-tasking is a popular concept, by focusing on many tasks at the same time, one can end up with several incomplete projects.

If you found this article useful, you may also find the post Eisenhower Decision Matrix: How to Prioritize Urgent and Important Task Effectively valuable. Feel free to click the previous link to explore.

Final Thoughts

Trust this method can be useful perspective to help you be more productive at your workplace.

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How to become more productive at work using the Ivy Lee Method

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