In a world ruled by technology where there’s an app for everything, it’s easy to get caught up in looking for the newest productivity strategies to increase your output. But sometimes it’s the tried and true methods from a century ago that provide just the motivation you need to breeze through your to-do list. That’s the case with the Ivy Lee method, which provides a very simple way to get things done.
History of the Ivy Lee Method
The origins of the Ivy Lee method stretch back to 1918. Charles M. Schwab, already successful by that time, turned to businessman and productivity expert Ivy Lee to find ways to increase the productivity of the Bethlehem Steel Corporation. Lee met with with each executive for 15 minutes and explained his productivity method. Schwab and his executives found this method to be hugely successful.
Basics of the Ivy Lee Method
You may already use to-do lists to help guide your work day. Sometimes they work, but sometimes they can feel overwhelming, especially if you have too many items on your list. The Ivy Lee method helps you limit the items on your to-do list and prioritize them to make sure you get the most important things done first. It emphasizes working on just one task at a time so you don’t get overwhelmed or waste time trying to decide what to do during work time.
How to Use the Ivy Lee Method
The Ivy Lee method still works today. It’s something that anyone can implement. You can use it as the owner of the business, and you can teach it to your employees to help them increase productivity. You don’t need any special productivity apps or tools to use this time-tested productivity hack.
The steps are:
- Write down the six most important items you need to get done the next day. Do this at the end of the day, and include exactly six items on your list.
- Rank your six tasks in order based on their importance. In other words, prioritize your list.
- Start with just the first task when you get to work the next day. Complete it before moving onto the second task. Continue through your list, focusing on just one task at a time.
- Move any unfinished items to the next day’s list if you don’t finish all six by the end of your workday.
- Create a new list of six items, including any you don’t finish on your current list, at the end of each day in preparation for the next day.
Why Use the Ivy Lee Method?
Creating your list the day before sets you up for success as soon as you start working. Instead of trying to decide how to spend your time or where to start, you already have a plan laid out in front of you prioritized by importance. This can save you time, allow you to start working right away, and increase your productivity throughout the day. Since you only have six items on your list, it isn’t so overwhelming that you can’t get started. And this method focuses on just one task at a time, so you don’t lose concentration by trying to juggle multiple tasks at once. Creating your list at the end of the day makes it easier to continue the flow the next day. You know where you’re leaving off, so you can include tasks on the list that keep that workflow going. If you wait until the morning to make your list, you may forget where you are in a project and what you need to do next.
Having a productivity strategy in place that helps you make the best use of your day helps you increase your profits. You can track those profits and all of your financials in QuickBooks programs that fit your needs. The QuickBooks Self-Employed app helps freelancers, contractors, and sole proprietors track and manage their businesses on the go. Download the app now.