Alright. I am a big fan of making lists. I love working my way through a to-do list – crossing out all the things that need to be done just makes me feel good about myself.
I even sometimes make myself guilty of adding an item on the list that I forgot to put up there in the first place, just to be able to check it off again 3 seconds later (I know, it’s gotten out of hand).
Everything is right in the world until the list starts to become a never ending story or something happens, and I can’t finish checking my to-do’s, which will be staring at me the entire time they’re unchecked.
Sure, it’s not the end of the world, but when I’m missing time-sensitive things on my list like birthday wishes, I’m not a happy camper.
So here comes “the Ivy Lee method”
When I heard about “the Ivy Lee method” my initial thought was, ‘but I have so much more to do’, but let’s give it a go.
So here’s what it’s all about, Ivy Lee was invited by the president of a large industrial steel company, asking him to help improve his executive team’s productivity.
Lee explained to them a simple method and when asked what he charged for his services he said he didn’t want anything unless it worked after three months and you can send me a check of whatever you think it’s worth to you.
The 5 steps
- At the end of each work day, write down the 6 most important things you need to do the next day. Don’t write down more than that.
- Prioritize those 6 items in order of their true importance. Not in order of how much fun they are.
- When you start working the next day, concentrate only on the first task. Work until the first task is finished before moving on to the next.
- At the end of the day, move any unfinished items to a new list of 6 tasks for the following day.
- Repeat this process every day.
The man was reportedly so ecstatic with the results of Lee’s method, he wrote Lee a check for $25,000. To give you some perspective, that would be around $400,000 today!
After actually trying it
First of all, prioritizing my list and choosing 6 of the most important tasks, I found harder than I thought. I was so attached to having everything organized in front of me, but when I had made my short list, I felt calm.
It actually felt really good to just have 6 very concise tasks ahead of me for the next day. Even though some tasks were harder or took longer to complete, I felt way more focused and productive than I had with my mile long lists.
At the end of the day, I feel I can stop working. I can let go and enjoy some free time because I know I’ve taken care of my most important tasks. I realized that I would often start with a less-important task first thing in the morning, as a kind of warm-up.
A lot of the time, I’d go from that low-priority project to my Facebook feed, then reply to some texts… and before I knew it, it was lunchtime and I hadn’t done a thing about my most important task of the day!
Absolutely love this subtle tweak that makes a big difference! And that often is just what you need, a system that takes away the chaos and helps you focus your time and attention to the truly important tasks. That’s what my mentors have taught me and they have provided me with the most important system I work with today to make sure that I have a short to-do list filled with income producing activities.
What’s your way?
Have you tried the Ivy Lee method? Would you? Or how do you like to get work done?
Don’t forget that comments are always appreciated – I’d love to hear your thoughts on this.
P.S Do you also want a short to-do list filled with income producing activities? To create financial, time and location freedom in your life, here is a link to my mentors. If you want to stop feeling like you wasting your twenties, look them up! They are so experienced and can help you exchange that energy draining job, for a business and a life that you actually love.