Work Time Management··6 min read

The Ivy Lee Method Will Surprise You With Its Simplicity & Effects

The Ivy Lee Method Will Surprise You With Its Simplicity & Effects

It was developed by Ivy Lee, an efficiency consultant who worked with some of the biggest companies of his time, including Charles Schwab and the American Tobacco Company.

The Ivy Lee Method involves writing down a list of the most important tasks you need to accomplish each day, and then working on each one for a set period of time.

This method can help you focus on the most important tasks first, and will stop you from getting bogged down in less important tasks. It can also help you break down large tasks into smaller, more manageable pieces.

What is the Ivy Lee Method?

This method is simple. ‘Ivy One Day' works like this:

At the end of each day, write down six things that you need to do the next day, in order of importance. Then, when you start your day, simply work through the IvyLee list, starting with the most important task.

What's surprising about the Ivy Lee Method is its simplicity. By breaking down your tasks into just six, you're able to focus on what's truly important and get more done in a day.

And, because you're starting with the most important task, you're more likely to complete it, which can give you a sense of accomplishment and motivation to keep going.

Ivy Lee Method 6-Step Checklist

Define Your Purpose

The Ivy Lee Method is a great tool for any business or organization that wants to better understand its audience.

By using this method, you can develop a clear and concise plan for addressing the needs of your audience. This will help you to better serve your customers and clients, and to build a stronger relationship with them.

Make a List of Your Goals

To make a list of your goals using the Ivy Lee Method, start by brainstorming a list of all the goals you want to achieve. Once you have your list, prioritize the goals in the order of their importance.

Then, start working on one goal at a time, giving it your all until it is accomplished. Repeat this process for each goal on your list until all of your goals are achieved.

Do Your Research

One of the benefits of the Ivy Lee Method is that it forces you to be mindful of how many tasks per day are truly important, and which can be put off or delegated to someone else.

This can help you to focus your time and energy on the things that matter most, and to get them done quickly and efficiently.

Another advantage of this method is that it is very flexible and can be easily adapted to different situations. Whether you have a busy day at work or a free afternoon at home, the Ivy Lee Method can help you make the most of your time.

Choose Your Topics

This involves listing out your ideas in the order of their importance, and then choosing the most important ones to focus on. This ensures that you are always working on the most important tasks, and that your time is spent effectively.

Write Your Posts

Here's how the Ivy Lee Method works:

  • Write down your main idea in one sentence.
  • Write down three supporting points for your main idea.
  • Write down two or three examples for each supporting point.
  • Write a concluding sentence for your post.

Edit and Proofread Your Work

The Ivy Lee Method is a great way to edit and proofread your work. This method involves reading your work aloud, sentence by sentence, and making the necessary corrections. This is an effective way to catch any errors that you may have missed when reading silently.


Additionally, reading aloud will help you to hear how your sentences sound, and to make sure that they are clear and concise.

How to Use the Ivy Method?

The Ivy Method is a time-tested approach to productivity that helps you focus on what truly matters. Below are detailed steps to effectively implement this method in your daily routine.

Identify Critical Tasks for the Day

Start your day by defining the most critical tasks that need to be completed. This aligns with the original source of the Ivy Lee Method, which emphasizes focusing on what's most important. Knowing your critical tasks can set the tone for a productive day and help you avoid decision fatigue later on.

Prioritize Tasks in Order of Importance

Once you've identified your tasks, arrange them in order of their importance. This simple method helps you allocate your valuable time effectively, reducing decision fatigue. Prioritization is key to effective productivity systems and can make or break your day's success.

Tackle the Most Important Task First

Work on the most demanding task first and don't stop until it's complete. This approach minimizes context switching and maximizes peak productivity. Completing the most important task first gives you a sense of accomplishment and sets a positive tone for the rest of the day.

Use Time Blocks for Remaining Tasks

For the remaining tasks on your list, consider using blocks of time to work on each one. Time batching can be an effective productivity method to keep you focused. This technique can also help you manage your time more efficiently, allowing for buffer time between tasks.

Review Unfinished Tasks

At the end of the day, review any unfinished tasks. This practice is essential for effective productivity systems and helps you plan for the next day. Reflecting on unfinished tasks allows you to re-prioritize and make adjustments for the following day.

Avoid Email Distractions

Set boundaries around emails and other alerts that can pull you into a rabbit hole. Managing email responses in a separate block can help you maintain peak performance. This practice can also free up mental space, allowing you to focus on more critical tasks.

Utilize Productivity Tools

Make use of productivity apps or task management apps to keep track of your daily tasks. These essential tools can help you stay organized and reduce the chances of overlooking important tasks. They can also sync with your other devices, ensuring that your task list is always up-to-date.

Reflect and Plan for the Next Day

Take some time to reflect on what you've accomplished and what needs to be done the next day. Use a bullet journal or a 3-minute journal to jot down your thoughts and prioritization strategies. This reflection time can serve as a mental reset, preparing you for the challenges of the next day.

Consult Credible Sources for Further Improvement

If you're looking to enhance your productivity methods, consult books, blogs of companies, or advice from productivity consultants like James Clear who offer valuable insights. Continuous learning and adaptation are crucial for maintaining high levels of productivity and effectiveness.

How Can You Increase Productivity by Using the Ivy Lee Method?

There are a few different ways to implement the Ivy Lee Method.

  • One way is to create a to-do list at the end of each day, listing the most important tasks to be completed first.
  • Another way is to prioritize tasks based on their importance, and then schedule them into your day accordingly.


The Ivy Lee Method can be an effective way to increase productivity, but it is not the only way. There are other time management methods that may work better for you, depending on your individual needs and preferences. However, the Ivy Lee Method is a good place to start if you are looking for a way to get more done in less time.

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