The Ivy Lee Method

Every entrepreneur or business owner, regardless of how successful he is, looks for ways to be more productive. And very few of them can find the right way to do so. If you are a person looking for ways to be more productive and successful in your industry, this article is dedicated to you.

So what is this method that can be highly effective for you? 

The Ivy Lee Method

Ivy Lee was the pioneer publicity expert of America and a founder of modern public relations. He started the use of internal magazines to maintain the morale of employees, as well as stockholder reports, media news releases, and the management of newsletters. 

He also worked with Bethlehem Steel Corporation, where he advised the manager and other employees to work in a manner that can increase the productivity of employees and the overall organization. This suggestion leads the company to achieve an unbelievable goal in a matter of three months. 

But the question remains: What had he suggested that can be used to peak your productivity? Let’s get into this. 

 A typical to-do list involves writing down everything you need to get done and work until you complete everything mentioned in it. 

The Ivy method, however, is a 4-step process that upgrades the typical to-do lists. 

Step 1: List the 6 Most Crucial Things in the List

The first step here is to write down the essential tasks you need to get done the following day. They should be the most important six things. 

Then enlist those important things in the order of importance. The more crucial task should be number 1 while the least important should be number 6. If you find it difficult to align the task in this order try checking their urgency and importance before proceeding.

Step 2: Start with #1

Next, you should entirely focus on the #1 task at hand, only after finishing it moves to the second and so on. 

Multitasking is good but working on a single task helps you stay focused, increasing the quality and speed of the work.

Step 3: Transfer Remaining Tasks To Next Day

In the parallel world, we might be able to finish all the tasks in a day. But the imperfections in this world, some days we easily finish the list while on other days fail miserably at it. 

So anything on the list that isn’t finished is put on the list for the next day. If there’s a task that keeps repeating itself in every list, pause and ask yourself is it essential enough to be on the list. Something that’s not getting done for days or weeks may not be important to do. 

Step 4: Repeat

At the end of the day, again start with the first step. This is the simplest yet important step. Keep in mind that progress will happen at a slow pace but with consistency, you will see the outcome.

How Does It Work?

You might think how just a modification in the to-do list can work? 

  1. Simplicity

Multiple other complex methods work better in theories than reality due to the level of fidelity to the plan. The complexity in the plan can result in more imperfect results than a perfect one. 

The biggest strength of this method is its simplicity as sometimes developing a new habit can be difficult. It can take weeks to months to memorize all the steps and make it a habit. However, this method is entirely different from others as it is so simple to remember. 

  1. Focus

Studies have found that multitasking makes our brain constantly switch gears back and forth between tasks and if any task is complex and requires complete attention – we are most likely to become less efficient while making more mistakes. So keeping the focus on a particular task can make you more productive and efficient than you were ever before.

  1. Push You To Make Tough Decisions

I personally don’t think that there’s anything special or magical about the 6 important tasks to do in a day. It could be just 3-5 tasks per day. But the single best thing that I found magical here is imposing limits upon yourself. The idea of being able to trim your ideas and remove everything that is not necessary is another best thing on the list. This method pushes you to focus on 5 critical tasks while ignoring everything else. Only committing to tasks can make you highly productive while multitasking can create more distraction.


Theories are great when everything works according to your plan but sometimes you will need a few adjustments. 

Firstly, as mentioned before it’s not required that the list must have 6 tasks. It can be anywhere between 3-8 tasks that depend on the time you will be working on that day, how long each of them might take and if the work can be done solo or require teammates. But remember to keep the list challenging but realistic so neither you are spending a lot of spare time nor carrying over the work to the following day. 

Secondly, in this digital era where everything can be done online, you can easily hire developers for designing an app for your company and employees that not only keep track of all their work but also help to determine their task priority. 


Only being more productive can help you achieve your goals easily. This method is undoubtedly simple and easier to adopt. All you need to do is focus on one task at a time while neglecting any multitasking and prioritizing the most critical tasks on the top of your to-do list.