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Productivity Hack…A Simple, Tiny Change That Will Make All The Difference In Your Day

THIS is a method that I’ve kinda been doing for as long as I can remember. I feel like it’s really helped me grow my business, & it’s also helped me turn my house into a home, helped with wedding planning & even helped aspects of my personal life.

The other day I posted my morning routine on Instagram Stories ( it’s in highlights ) & lot of you guys were intrigued with The Ivy Lee Method.

You should know that this method is one you’re supposed to do at night ( Michael does it at night so he can sleep on it ), but I do it in the morning. Either way works, it just depends on what type of person you are. Michael is a super early riser so that works better for him.

Ok so, here’s the story: { via }

By 1918, Charles M. Schwab was one of the richest men in the world.

Schwab was the president of the Bethlehem Steel Corporation, the largest shipbuilder and the second-largest steel producer in America at the time. The famous inventor Thomas Edison once referred to Schwab as the “master hustler.” He was constantly seeking an edge over the competition.

One day in 1918, in his quest to increase the efficiency of his team and discover better ways to get things done, Schwab arranged a meeting with a highly-respected productivity consultant named Ivy Lee.

Lee was a successful businessman in his own right and is widely remembered as a pioneer in the field of public relations. As the story goes, Schwab brought Lee into his office and said, “Show me a way to get more things done.”

“Give me 15 minutes with each of your executives,” Lee replied.

“How much will it cost me,” Schwab asked.

“Nothing,” Lee said. “Unless it works. After three months, you can send me a check for whatever you feel it’s worth to you.”

During his 15 minutes with each executive, Ivy Lee explained his simple daily routine for achieving peak productivity:

  1. At the end of each work day, write down the six most important things you need to accomplish tomorrow. Do not write down more than six tasks.
  2. Prioritize those six items in order of their true importance.
  3. When you arrive tomorrow, concentrate only on the first task. Work until the first task is finished before moving on to the second task.
  4. Approach the rest of your list in the same fashion. At the end of the day, move any unfinished items to a new list of six tasks for the following day.
  5. Repeat this process every working day.

The strategy sounded simple, but Schwab and his executive team at Bethlehem Steel gave it a try. After three months, Schwab was so delighted with the progress his company had made that he called Lee into his office and wrote him a check for $25,000.

A $25,000 check written in 1918 is the equivalent of a $400,000 check in 2015.

That’s in 1918, guys!

The benefit of The Ivy Lee Method is kind of like time-blocking. You focus on one task ( if you haven’t tried time-blocking, get on board ), & it allows you to focus on your priorities so you don’t get caught up in the riff raff.

I write down my 6 tasks in this notebook & you know I’m writing this out with my favorite pen in the world. Anyways, these are other major benefits of The Ivy Lee Method:

♡ It’s simple, so it actually works. All you need is paper & a pen.

♡ Makes you prioritize. 6 is the magic number here. Don’t overwhelm yourself with 20 tasks- only write down 6.

♡ Takes the guesswork out of ‘starting.’ How much time do you waste ‘thinking’ about what you should do first? When you have a prioritized list, it’s clearly laid out in front of you.

♡ It makes you SINGLE-TASK. You guys know I’m all about multitasking, but focussing energy on one thing at a time is also hugely important.

♡ It can encourage a healthier work-life balance. As an entrepreneur this can be really tricky so anything that helps is welcome to be honest.

To sum it up, this productivity hack helps with concentration, productivity, keeps you organized, & allows your brain to marinate on what you’ve done.

And if you don’t have the pen to go with it, you’re missing out on life. You have to get this pen, I’m telling you. It glides across your paper, it doesn’t catch, it’s smudge-proof, it’s white & it’s super cute.

Fun fact: You can use the Ivy Lee method when writing in your HOT MINUTE PLANNER. As you know from my love of planners & notebooks, creating this planner for the community (& myself) was a no brainer. It’s filled with prompts to help you run your day, instead of the day running you. Think – skincare routine, daily intentions, gratefuls, meditation, podcast, to-do list, micro-goals, & more. Complete with fun stickers & a note from me, this planner is just SO fucking efficient. So ya, it sets the whole vibe of your day, but you can also jot down your MUSTS, aka Ivy Lee method. It’s the perfect, buttery pink planner really.

Please let me know if you got value out of this post because this Charles Schwab thing has been life changing for me.

x, lauryn

+ If you like the sound of this method, you’ll love The Morning Pages.

++ Wake up with me: My AM Routine.

Get Your Hustle On

  1. ok I seriously love this idea! I just bought a “goals journal” as inspired from your productivity podcast so I will absolutely incorporate this in it – especially since I haven’t been as productive as I’d like lately. Have a great weekend! x Shannon •

  2. I have never heard of this before, but I really like it! I try to implement time blocking as best I can but sometimes I fall in the bad habit of letting my brain remember everything instead of writing it down. Thanks for sharing, have a great weekend!


  3. Such a great method! I make a list of daily priorities as well, but it’s such a good idea to start on them right away the first thing in the morning so that feeling of productivity motives the rest of your day.

  4. Um, YES! I think I need to start writing down my tasks. I try to remember them in my head but I always get distracted or forget or prioritize the wrong thing! Definitely keen to give this a go and see how it works for me 🙂

    xo, Victoria

  5. This is so helpful! Biggest takeaway is focusing on ONE task at a time. I’ve been noticing that it takes me awhile to get some tasks done bc I’m trying to do multiple tasks at the same time. You always have the best productivity advise. ?

  6. I’m obsessed with this! I’ve been doing it every day since I heard it on the podcast. It gives you so much to think about and I actually find it fun to do. It’s added a ton of value to my life!

  7. I’ve started this for about 2 weeks now after listening to one of your podcasts mention it, and let me tell you/ I LOVE it. I feel accomplished at the end of the day and level headed. Thank you!!!

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