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ivy lee method

As a creative I find that getting into a “routine” for lack of a better word can feel hard sometimes. I like to chalk it up to the fact that creativity doesn’t like boundaries. It doesn’t like to be corralled. I find times when my creativity suffers the most is when I have put too many restrictions on it. When I “should” all over myself. I “should” be working a stable, normal 9-5 schedule, I “should” be working from my home office desk every damn day, I “should“, I “should“, I “should“. It’s enough to make a person hate what they do. Yes I have been there- a thousand-and-one-times.

Now the CEO in me knows that some structure is needed to make things tick properly. That’s just how life goes they say, but after a decent amount of mindset work & really leaning in and listening to who I am at my core. I now know that I need to learn tricks-of-the-trade that allow my creativity to overflow, but that also give me some structure & guidance.

That’s when I came across a blog post from one of my favorite bloggers who shared her secret sauce to some organization. It’s called the Ivy Lee Method. Now I had never heard of this method before, but I thought “what the hell” – I will give it go. Buttt before sharing about it I wanted to make sure it worked & made sense for a creative like me. I guess you can probably guess it worked out well since I am blogging about it.

So I wanted to read more about this method & learn the history of it, because I am a little nerdy like that. If you just want to know the juicy deets about this method you can skip here.

The man behind the method

So we’re gonna venture back to the year 1918 when a man by the name of Charles M. Schwab who was the president of Bethlehem Steel Company & was described by Thomas Edison as the “master hustler”, because he was always trying to seek the edge over his competition.

With his desire to increase efficiency & find a better way to do things he hired a well respected productivity consultant named Ivy Lee. Schwab is said to have called Lee into his office one day saying, “Show me a better way to get things done.” To which Lee replied “Give me 15 minutes with each of your executives.” The original deal was Lee offering Schwab his method for FREE, but after a 3 months the method was so successful Schwab offered Lee $25,000.00 which is about the equivalent of $400,000.00 today.

ivy lee method

Ok – here’s the good part. The actual method steps. It’s so easy that it might seem rather dumb, but trust me – if you implement this it really does work & doesn’t take any special set up or time added to your plate.

+ At the end of each work day write down 6 tasks to accomplish the next day, but no more than 6

+ Prioritize those items in their true importance

+ When you start the next day- start with the first task & don’t move on until that task is complete

+ Approach the rest of the list in the same way until it’s completed – then work on the remaining items from the previous day

+ Repeat this process everyday

why it’s effective

It’s Simple

Listen – complicated things complicate things. Keeping it simple allows for life to happen & then picking right back up where you left off, plus it really only requires a pen & paper.

decisions made easy

I do know that not even having a place to start is a bad idea, but also making unrealistic lists of 30 things to do for the day is too – so I like the idea of 6 things.

less pressure = more focus

It’s written in the rules that if you don’t complete your list you can carry it over to the next day. This takes alot of pressure off, plus the list is arranged in priority so if the tasks don’t get completed at least you know you have the MOST important things completed.

I hope this helps you sort out some things in your business. I am really happy to have adopted this method into my own schedule. It helped me gain clarity around my day-to-day without crushing my creative soul.

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