What is the Ivy Lee method?
The Ivy Lee method has been around for a century and continues to remain relevant even today. Its most distinguishing feature is its simplicity and effectiveness, which allows you to eliminate all clutter from your to-do list and achieve peak productivity levels.
At a glance, this method seems extremely simple. All you need to do is to pick out 6 tasks from your to-do list according to their priority and solely focus on them. Turn this into a habit and you’ll quickly see the difference in your overall productivity. All you’ll need to do is to follow a simple 5-step process to get started.
- At the end of day 0, write down the 6 most important tasks for the next day
- Assign the numbers 1-6 to your selected tasks based on their importance
- Start day 1 by concentrating only on the first task. Once completed proceed to task number 2 and so on
- At the end of the day, select another set of 6 tasks for the next day
- Ensure that you repeat the process every workday without any breaks
But wait, it doesn’t sound that special. Then how has the Ivy Lee method has managed to stay effective and relevant for such a long time?
Why does the Ivy Lee method work?
Today, the Ivy Lee method stands as one of the most popular productivity enhancement techniques that actually create a lot of difference. There’s a long list of valid reasons behind its success, but the following 4 have the largest impact.
1. It is extremely simple
Simplicity is one of the biggest strengths of the Ivy Lee method. You don’t need to make any huge changes in your schedule or start learning some elaborate tools. All you’ll need is to set aside a few minutes to plan the next day’s task and follow through.
No complexities and no imperfect executions. The only thing you’ll see is the improvement in your performance.
2. It can help you focus
Being a multitasker is often coveted, but most situations demand your absolute focus. Juggling too many things at once will almost always end badly. Focus is one of the most important aspects to getting work done properly.
The Ivy Lee method ensures that you remain 100% focused on the most important tasks of the day. Distractions are bound to happen as it’s unrealistic to completely avoid multitasking on any day. However, by the time something else comes up, you’ll be completely focused and will probably be done with most of the things that actually matter.
3. It reduces decision fatigue
It’s a fact that decision-making takes a toll on you. Many famous personalities, known for excellence in their field, actively tried to reduce the decisions they had to make.
Albert Einstein, for instance, used to buy several variations of the same suit to avoid making a decision of what to wear. More recently, Mark Zuckerberg and Steve Jobs followed a similar style. All of it to ensure that they retain maximum brainpower for the most important tasks.
The Ivy Lee method takes decision fatigue out of the equation. You’ll take all the decisions at the end of your workday. During work time, won’t have to go through the process of sorting through your priorities or taking any decisions. Everything will already be decided for you and all you’ll need to do is to focus on the task at hand.
4. It ensures that you always complete the most important task
The Ivy Lee method operates under the assumption that you’ll complete all your six tasks every day. However, it’s easier said than done. You are likely to struggle while trying to maintain consistency. This method ensures that you’ll always complete the most important task each day. So, even if you are having a bad day, you’ll still be somewhat productive.