The Ivy Lee Method: how effective is it?

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Productivity is a very challenging topic that is understood in various ways. Over the years, it has become surrounded by many unusual, sometimes strange beliefs and stereotypes. Nevertheless, the truth is that increasing productivity can be relatively simple, although it requires time and self-discipline. Is the Ivy Lee method effective, and how can one benefit from it?

What is the Ivy Lee method?

The Ivy Lee method involves planning the 6 most important tasks to be accomplished the next day in advance.

These tasks should be executed one after another, disregarding all others. It is an effective method for improving work efficiency.

This allows for increased productivity, enabling you to enjoy a well-utilized day. In this case, focus is crucial.

Although it is extremely challenging to maintain the same level of concentration for 8 hours straight, it is worth applying a few simple principles to achieve significantly better results at work. The Ivy Lee method is a straightforward practice that helps you manage your time better.

By using the Ivy Lee method, you make the decision about the first task to be performed the day before, which is highly important. This way, the next day, you come to work and immediately engage in a specific task, which saves you a significant amount of time.

The method was developed by Ivy Lee, an advertising specialist who lived from 1877 to 1934 and is now recognized as the founder of modern public relations.

What is the Ivy Lee method?

The Ivy Lee method is simple and can be applied immediately without any preparation. Here are the guidelines to consider when aiming to increase your productivity at work:

  1. The last task of each workday should be to create a list of 6 tasks for the next day.
  2. The task list must be prioritized in descending order of importance.
  3. Start your workday with the task that is at the top of the list. Do not move on to the next task until you have completed the previous one.
  4. If you were unable to complete all the tasks on the list, carry over the unfinished tasks to the next day’s list.

By following these steps, you can effectively manage your tasks and enhance your productivity.

Is the Ivy Lee method effective?

Sometimes, the simplest solutions turn out to be the most effective, and the Ivy Lee method is no exception. It can be implemented in just 15 minutes, requiring only a piece of paper and a pen.

Creating a task list the day before makes sense because it allows you to jump into action immediately instead of wasting your morning pondering what should be done first.

By having the most important professional responsibilities at the top of the list, you will dedicate the most time to crucial tasks that will yield good results and satisfaction. This approach also helps you meet deadlines, reducing frustration and effectively combating procrastination.

Due to the fact that the Ivy Lee method involves working on one task at a time, without multitasking or jumping between tasks, you can maintain better focus, which undoubtedly has a positive impact on your productivity.

Will the Ivy Lee productivity method work for everyone? It’s challenging to provide a definitive answer to this question, as it depends on individual preferences, requirements, personality, and the nature of the work being done. However, the method will certainly be a beneficial approach for individuals seeking to increase their work efficiency.

It is a good choice because it doesn’t require special preparation or a lot of time, though it does demand self-discipline. Even if you find it difficult at the beginning, remember not to give up after initial setbacks, as productivity is something that can be learned.


  • The Ivy Lee method is an effective way to increase productivity at work. It was developed by Ivy Lee, an advertising specialist.
  • The Ivy Lee method is simple and doesn’t require any special preparation; all you need is a piece of paper and a pen.
  • The productivity practice involves creating a list of 6 tasks and prioritizing them in descending order.
  • It is important to create the list the day before the planned workday.

Owen Mantz

Owen Mantz is a freelance copywriter and the COO of Content Writer USA. He has worked with both startups and Fortune 500 companies, helping them increase leads, sales, and customer retention rates.

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