How to be more Productive – The Ivy Lee Productivity System

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Productivity is one of the greatest challenges to overcome whether you are a busy Mum or a wannabe Entrepreneur trying to balance many things at one time and I know personally something that I have always struggled with.

On this blog, I want to help you achieve your dream life and give you back 80% of your time currently to do that –  in saying that, one of my absolute favourite ways to focus on the “one thing” that will make a difference in my day and week is to use a fantastically simply but effective method called the Ivy Lee Method.

It’s all about trying to seperate the “nice to do”s from the “must do”s and here I will show you how you can test it and apply it in your own life too.

I have a little small notebook exclusively for my today tasks using this method, where I start a new page each day with my new Ivy Lee method list, and feel free to do the rest and test it out for yourself.

// Where did the method come from?

Ivy Lee, an efficiency expert, helped Charles M. Schwab, one of the richest men of his time at the turn of last centry, increased the productivity of his executives and the income of U.S. Steel Corporation which was the largest steel company in world at the time.

Mr Schwab wanted a way to make his managers more efficient to increase productivity, and he made a deal with Ivy Lee if he could help him increase their productivity he would give Ivy Lee anything he wanted.

Some time after that meeting, Ivy Lee received a cheque in the post for $25,000 (worth around $400k in today’s money) with a note saying that it was the best piece of advice he had ever heard and put into practice with his sales force.

The Ivy Lee Method How to Achieve more with less time #productivity #mindset #balancedlife

// What is the Ivy Lee Method exactly?

The method was and is still very simple.

Write down 5 things you want to do the next day/that day, and ideally do the list before you go to bed at night for the next day so you can awake ready to attack it with full energy and excitement.  You also will find that you wake up inspired and less likely to hit the snooze button, as you have things to do that you care about.

Remember how easy it is to get ready and up out of bed when you have an early flight on holiday? 

You can’t seem to sleep the night before with excitement? 

That is exactly the feeling you will be recreating with your Ivy Lee method list. 

Next label the items on your list 1 -5 in terms of importance and really consider what truly would help you move forward towards your ideal life.

Label that item as number 1 and so on down the list of 5 items.

With this list, and I usually add at the very bottom any errands and reminders for school or meals that would be good to remember (such as take out a meal from freezer etc) start at number 1 the next day, commit to doing it completely with a quick fire 15 minute session if necessary, and don’t more on until you have completed it.

If you don’t get through to number 5 then ideally you shouldn’t carry it over to the next day as the point is to know how much you can get through in one day and plan only for that.


Interested in finding out more about financial freedom, check out these other posts:

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// Why does it work?

Our Ivy Lee method list is exactly based on what we know we can achieve and not a wish list to make us feel bad when we run out of time, or make us feel overwhelmed.

You start on a blank page for the next day and 5 things you want to achieve and rough estimates of time

If you are consistently not achieving all 5 things – we know what to do, ask smarter questions and figure out why that is.

Are we spending too much time distracted by our phone or other attentions? 

Is the time allocated to short and need to spread it out over a few HIIT sessions a day or week? 

Do we need to try and make the activity more fun in some way by adding music, moving about, dancing, involving others?

// Time to tweak and play around with your ideal number of tasks based on your day ahead

Play around with this method to find your best number of tasks per day also.

Perhaps drop down to 4 tasks per day, or increase to 7 if you are free from tasks too soon.

If the school run gets in your way, you know you need to drop down a task or two to fit it all in.

Lots of room for excellent questions to really make a difference to how you view your time and day.

And of course remember, our daily tasks shape our future and efforts determine what we become.


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