Multitasking has become normalized in the age where everyone is trying to juggle a million different things in a day. We equate having a jam-packed schedule with being productive when it could be a futile effort to yield results. Doing too much at once may well lead to burn out, which is why many people still prefer the Ivy Lee method.
Who is Ivy Lee?
Ivy Lee worked in Public Relations as a consultant and was brought on board Bethlehem Steel Corporation in 1918. The president of the company, Charles M. Schwab, endorsed him to the executives to help boost the team’s productivity at work. After 3 months of testing the 5-step method Lee had taught the executives, it was proven effective and he got a payout of $25,000 (the equivalent to $400,000 in this economy).
The 5-step Method
It shouldn’t be baffling how simply making a list can be so remarkable when it comes to productivity. But it works because it’s easy to follow, it sets your priorities and helps you focus on the tasks at hand.
- List the six most crucial tasks that need to get done tomorrow. This is recommended at the end of each day and should not exceed six tasks.
- Rearrange the tasks by importance. Prioritize the hardest tasks so that the workload gets lighter throughout the day.
- On the next day, focus solely on the first task. Don’t go down the list unless you check off the most important item.
- Go through the rest of the tasks in order. Complete the consecutive items and move the unfinished tasks to the next day’s list.
- Rinse and repeat. Make it a habit to create a list at the end of the working day.
The fact that the Ivy Lee method is over 100 years old and still being applied to date just shows how effective it is. Try out this simple system and see how much more you can accomplish.