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Strategy Into The Productivity:The Ivy Lee Method

January 27, 2023
Strategy Into The Productivity:The Ivy Lee Method

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Prioritizing tasks is one of the important steps you should get practice in order to manage your task and your time. As BeforeSunset, we try our best to help you with time management, and we believe that time management comes also with prioritizing. Therefore, Ivy Lee Method is one of the not so time-consuming ways you can use to become more productive. 

Ivy Lee method

The History of Ivy Lee Method

Did you know that Ivy Lee Method was around for 100 years? 

The origin of this method comes from Ivy Lee, a management consultant, who created the Ivy Lee Method in the early 20th century. According to the story, Lee worked for some of his era's most prosperous businesses, including Charles Schwab and the Pennsylvania Railroad.

The president of Bethlehem Steel Corporation, Charles M. Schwab, is said to have been pleased by Lee's work and approached him for advice on how to boost employee productivity. According to reports, Lee advised Schwab that he might boost productivity by having his staff prioritize their duties and concentrate on the most crucial ones first.

After asking Schwab's staff to list their top priorities for the following day in order of importance, Lee allegedly demonstrated the technique by having them concentrate on finishing the first assignment before moving on to the next.

According to reports, after using the technique, Schwab noticed a rise in productivity and was so satisfied that he paid Lee $25,000 for the advice—roughly $700,000 in today's dollars.

Other businesses then adopted the approach, and it is still frequently used today as a straightforward and efficient technique to boost production and concentrate on the most crucial activities.

What is Ivy Lee Method? 

Ivy Lee Method helps you concentrate on a few numbers, but important tasks on a daily basis. This leads to improved productivity while helping you eliminate unnecessary time and attention-consuming tasks. In other words, the Ivy Lee method helps you to be present in the moment without thinking about the future or the past. With this method, you can seize your day and move forward by taking one step at a time!

How does Ivy Lee Method Work? Step by Step Guide

Ivy Lee provided each executive with a step-by-step instructions in just 15 minutes, enabling them to accomplish more in the same amount of time as before.

The method begins with just a scrap of paper or a notecard and is very straightforward.

Step 1: Create A List

At the end of each day, create a list of the most important six tasks to accomplish the next day. It should not be more than six since this method helps you execute important tasks. 

At the end of the day is not a must, but you should find a suitable time of your day to create the list because making the list is the most crucial step of the Ivy Lee Method. Evening or the morning is advised to be more ideal periods of time.

ivy lee method list

Step 2: Make an Order of Your Tasks

You should list them according to their importance. The order of your tasks should start from most important to least important. 

The first task or the “Task 1” should be the most important one, and the last or sixth task should be the least important. 

If you choose to do the list the night before, don’t forget to get a rest since it’s an essential part of productivity and focus. 

Step 3: Begin Working on The Tasks 

According to your list, start your day and begin working on your tasks. We know it is kind of hard but try your best to work until you are finished while trying to reduce the distractions. 

Do not start doing another task without being finished with the task you are working on. This is a must because consistency is crucial for this method. If you manage to focus and work on one task at a time, you will be able to manage your time and tasks in a good way, moreover, you will be able to train yourself into becoming more disciplined.

Step 4: Don’t Forget to Cross Out the Finished Tasks

Doing this gives you a feeling of relief and happiness which will encourage you to do more!

Step 5: Postpone Unfinished Task to The Next Day

You don’t have to worry about unfinished tasks. It’s okay if you cannot accomplish every task on your list. You might be tired that day, have problems focusing, and have lots of distractions. 

If you experience this, you can just simply move the uncompleted task/s to the next day. 


Repeat this method every day and at the end of the week see how many tasks you accomplish compared to before. As you practice Ivy Lee Method, you can be able to monitor yourself, modify your list however you want, and see whether you boost your productivity. 

ivy lee method benefits

What Are the Benefits of the Ivy Lee Method? 

1. Prioritization

Ivy Lee Method assists you in terms of prioritizing your tasks. This way, you can ensure that you are focusing on accomplishing the most important and crucial task of the day as you go with the order of the tasks in your list.

2. Increases Productivity 

You can get more done in less time by completing tasks in the order of their importance. In addition, this method can improve your focus and discipline in the long run.

3. Reduces Stress

Ivy Lee Method enables you to have control over your task by concentrating on one task at a time and having a clear strategy which leads to reduce in your stress level. 

4. Improves Time Management

You can review your progress at the end of each day and make adjustments to your list for the next day to manage your time better. 

5. Clarity

Making a list of your 6 tasks provides a clear vision of the tasks you need to do while making it easier to prioritize and complete them throughout the day.

6. Flexibility

It is a simple method you can use different kinds of tasks that can be adapted to your schedule and specific needs.

what is ivy lee method

The difference between multitasking and the Ivy lee method

The Ivy Lee Method is a strategy that is shaped around the idea of finishing one task at a time while prioritizing the most crucial ones and doing them in that order. This method emphasizes that it is important to put your focus on only one task according to its order of importance. As the opposite of multitasking, it helps to reduce distractions and enhance focus. 

On the other hand, multitasking is the act of doing several things at once. This strategy is based on the assumption that multitasking can boost productivity and that switching between projects can be done effectively. As it can be challenging to retain concentration and keep track of numerous tasks, research has shown that multitasking can reduce productivity and raise stress. Eventually, multi-tasking leads to doing different tasks at the same time while consuming more than necessary time and effort and ending up with unfinished tasks.

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