Tuesday, June 25, 2019

Productivity Hack • The Ivy Lee Method

At the end of May, I fell into a rut and somehow lost all my creative motivation. I wanted to play, eat, drink, and sleep -- I was happy and enjoying life, but I could never fully relax, because I felt like I was wasting time. I knew there were things I wanted to accomplish, but I couldn't seem to focus on any one thing long enough to actually get it done.

A couple of weeks ago, when I was going through my emails, I came across a newsletter from James Clear that I had parked for another day. He wrote about using The Ivy Lee Method to increase productivity, and I was intrigued enough to leave it in my inbox to implement "one day." Upon re-reading the newsletter, I noticed that I had received it on my birthday, which was right around the time I initially fell into my creative rut. After feeling unmotivated for what seemed like forever (in actuality, it was only three weeks), I decided, spur of the moment and with gusto, to give the Ivy Lee method a try. "One day" had finally arrived.

The Ivy Lee method is essentially a daily to-do list. It was developed as a way to prioritize and complete work tasks, but I'm using it every weekday to further my creative pursuits. The method is super simple and entails the following:

Step 1: At the end of every day, make a list of 1 to 6 tasks you want to accomplish the next day.

Step 2: Prioritize each task on your list (1 = the most important task).

Step 3: The next day, start with your highest priority item and complete it in full before moving on to the next one.

That's it!!

A few tips to get the most of this method:

1) Break down a large project into manageable tasks. Identify tasks you can complete in a reasonable amount of time that will (a) contribute to your overall goals and (b) keep you motivated without feeling overwhelmed.

2) Refer to your list multiple times throughout the day to keep yourself on track.

3) If you have the time and inclination, you can leverage your momentum to accomplish additional tasks that are above and beyond your list.

This method is beautiful in its simplicity and has also proven to be highly effective for me. Since implementing the method on Jun 12/19, I've recorded four YouTube videos (three have been completed and posted), written three short memoirs (one is still in draft), started reading two books, shared a bunch on IG, and journalled consistently -- these were all creative pursuits that I couldn't seem to get done when I was deep in my rut. I'm so pleased with this method that I'll continue to use it until I no longer feel I need a daily to-do list to keep motivated.

Do you use daily to-do lists? Have you heard of or experimented with the Ivy Lee method?

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