The Ivy Lee Method is based on prioritizing your daily tasks and the peculiarity of the method lies in limiting
their number to no more than 6 tasks.
The founder of this method is the publicity expert Ivy Lee (July 16, 1877 – November 9, 1934), which is also
recognized as the founder of modern public relations.
The method appears to have emerged as a result of the collaboration between his public relations firm Ivy Lee &
Associates and Bethlehem Steel Company.
How was created the Ivy Lee Method
The american company was at the time one of the world's largest steel producers and shipbuilders and had
invested a lot to increase the production of armor plates used in the building of war vessels. Some problems
aroused when the Congress passed a bill authorizing the government to build similar facilities. What Ivy Lee did
was to orchestrate a large public relations campaign to stop the government plant as a waste of taxpayer money.
Their collaboration was not limited to this situation. It seems that Charles M. Schwab, the president of the
Bethlehem Steel Corporation, was constantly seeking to increase the efficiency of his team. In this regard Ivy
Lee was asked for help and the solution offered was prioritizing tasks, exactly what now is known as the Ivy Lee
method Apparently, this simple solution is so efficient that Charles M. Schwab referred to it as the most
profitable advice he had received.
The basic principles of the Ivy Lee Method
The basic principles and rules of applying the Ivy Lee method are extremely simple. Most probably this is also
why the method is very efficient and continues to be applied to this day.
- Choose 6 tasks that you want to work on
- Approach them in the established order
- Finish the already started task and only then start next one
- Move any unfinished items to the list for the next day
Although at first glance it may seem superficial, let's consider the fact that it had extraordinary results,
from the very beginning. Moreover, the fact that those results appeared in one of the largest steel and
shipbuilding companies of the 20th century.
Applying the Ivy Lee method step by step
The Ivy Lee method can be applied by anyone and for an increased efficiency the following steps are recommended:
Make a general list in which to write down everything you have to do in order of importance
Write down in order of their importance all the activities you need or want to carry out in the next period.
consider both short-term and long-term activities. In time, as you come up with ideas, add them all to this
list. The balance will be kept because as you work on them they will become completed activities and you
delete them from this list.
Each evening, analyze the list and choose 6 important tasks to perform the next day
Reserve at the end of each day a few minutes to analyze the general list and make your planning for the next
day. Choose from the general list the 6 activities you want to do the next day and plan them in order of
importance. If the activities can be divided into several smaller tasks then do so. Includes the amount of
you assign to each task.
Start your day by working on the first planned task in the order of importance
Respect the planning done the night before and start working on the first planned task. If you do things in
order established one night before, you avoid wasting time in the morning trying to decide what to do first.
know exactly what to do so you can start working right away.
Finish what you are working on and only then start the next one
First of all you have to finish the activity and only later can you move on to the next one. Do not leave
unfinished because you will have to return to them and resume the work. Thus, you risk wasting precious time
juggling between tasks.
If unfinished tasks remain, move them to the list for the next day
There is also the possibility that the planned activities will take longer than you anticipated, or
unforeseen may occur that will mess up your planning. Even in this case, you continue to follow the planned
order and what has not been completed you may reschedule for the next day.
Resume and apply this process daily
Consistency is one of the factors that positively influence the results you get by applying this method. By
working like this daily, you make sure that in time you'll complete all the activities you have proposed.
Benefits of using Ivy Lee method
PlanArty time tracking solution
- You start your day relaxed, without having to make decisions first thing in the morning, because you have
already done this the previous evening
- You do your activity without stressing because you know both what you have to do at the present moment,
to do next
- You work more focused precisely because the method is based on single-tasking and all your attention can
directed to the activity performed
- It motivates you to keep going because you notice your achievements daily
gives you the opportunity to apply the
principles of the Ivy Lee method and at
the same time offers you more functionalities that can help you improve your efficiency and increase your