Productivity Hack: The Ivy Method

Look at your to-do list. What’s the oldest item?

  • 6 months?
  • 1 year?
  • 3 years?

If you haven’t done it by now – why is it still there?

Reign it in with The Ivy Method. Aptly named after Ivy Lee, a 20th century productivity consultant.

Here’s how you do it
  1. At the end of the day, write down the most important items you need to do the next day. You may write down up to 6 – no more.
  2. Order them in terms of their true importance, not their perceived importance.
  3. When starting your next day, look at the list. Begin working on #1. Do not move to #2 until you’ve completed #1.
  4. Upon completion of the day, move any uncompleted items to the next day’s list.
  5. Repeat each day.
First Things First (book) - Wikipedia
From First Things First by Stephen Covey

The most important step is #2: Determine a task’s true importance. The picture here is a simple guide.

It’s also important to ask yourself. Is this task important to me or to someone else?

We all have tasks that are requested by others. We cannot escape them all. However, we can prioritize accordingly.

Why does the Ivy Method work?

It is simple.

It forces you to do the most important thing first (true importance).

It forces you to focus (single task vs multi-task).

Try it!

For more than a century, The Ivy Method has been successfully implemented by some of the world’s most successful people, so why not give it a try?