Back to Blog

The Ivy Lee Method

Published by Ivy Team on
The Ivy Lee Method

In the early 1900s, Charles M. Schwab, President of Bethlehem Steel Corporation, wanted to increase the efficiency of his management team.

Schwab met with a man named Ivy Lee (our namesake)—a well respected productivity expert.

As the story goes, Lee told Schwab and his management team to follow his intentionally simple routine for peak productivity.

The routine was something like this:

  • Write down your six most important to-dos for the day. Fewer than six is fine.
  • Write them down in order of importance.
  • Don’t move onto a new to-do until the current one is complete.
  • At the end of the day, anything you didn’t get done you can move to the following day – or start fresh.

Simple enough, right?

Schwab and his team gave it a try. After three months, Schwab called Lee into his office and wrote him a check for $25,000.

So why does it work so well?

  • It’s six things. So you’re never really biting off more than you can chew. No more endless to-do lists to work through every day.
  • It encourages optimism. With only six things every day, you can look forward to getting all (or most) of the things on your list done.
  • It encourages you to get things done sooner. Because you’ll be thinking about how great it will feel to get all six tasks complete by the end of the day.
  • It’s simple! The simpler the method is, the more likely you’ll be to stick with it.

Ivy is committed to bringing the best productivity software to the world with products that empower everyone to live happier, healthier, and more productive lives.

Back to Blog