The Ivy Lee Method - A Daily Routine That Charles M. Schwab and His Team Used to Achieve Their Peak Productivity Every Day

Today, we’re diving into the Ivy Lee Method, a simple yet powerful tool that’s been helping leaders conquer mountains of work for over a century.

In today’s episode we’ll give you the history of how this method’s origin dates back to the American Business Tycoon Charles M. Schwab, explain how you can start implementing this today with 4 simple steps, and give you a quick summary of research that shows this method works.

Charles M. Schwab was a steel tycoon who ruled Wall Street in the early 1900s. And while he was a master of business, even he and his team struggled with achieving their peak productivity. 

As all great business people do, he hired someone smarter than himself, a subject expert. Enter Ivy Lee. Lee was a successful businessman, public relations mastermind and a well respected productivity consultant.

The story goes that Schwab asked Lee to tell him how his team could get more done in their workday.

Lee said done. Give me 15 minutes with each of your senior executives. 

Schwab replied, How much will this cost?

Lee said, nothing. But if it works in three months’ time, you send me a check for what you think the consulting was worth to you and your business.

Three months later Schwab wrote Lee a check for $25,000. Mind you this was in 1918 and that’s worth about $475,000  in today’s currency.

Here’s how to put The Ivy Lee Method into practice in 4 simple steps.

  1. At the end of your workday, in your notebook list down your six most important tasks for the next day.
    Be brutally honest. No room for fluff here.

  2. Now, rank those six tasks. Ask yourself,

    “What must absolutely get done tomorrow, no matter what?” Sequence them accordingly.

  3. Start your day by tackling the highest-priority task on your list. Not checking email, not reading social media…Give it your undivided attention, silencing distractions and ignoring everything else until it’s complete.

  4. Once you finish that first task Rinse and Repeat: Be sure to take short break re-set your mind and then after your break move on to the next task on your list, using the same laser focus you used on the last one. Keep going until your six crucial tasks are conquered.

If you don’t get those six tasks completed, move what’s left to your next day’s list at the end of the day.

Sounds deceptively simple, right? But there’s power in that simplicity and research backs it up.

A study published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology found that focusing on a single task at a time significantly improves performance and reduces procrastination. This perfectly aligns with the core principle of the Ivy Lee Method.

This method isn’t about squeezing in more tasks. It’s about squeezing the most out of your focus and effort. By prioritizing ruthlessly and tackling one task at a time, you’ll see your productivity soar and to-do lists shrink faster than your morning coffee.

So, ditch the overwhelm, embrace the simplicity, and give the Ivy Lee Method a try. You might just surprise yourself with how much you can accomplish in a single day.

Your move.

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