The Ivy Lee method has been explained as
- At the end of each work day, write down the six most important things you need to accomplish tomorrow. Do not write down more than six tasks.
- Prioritize those six items in order of their true importance.
- When you arrive tomorrow, concentrate only on the first task. Work until the first task is finished before moving on to the second task.
- Approach the rest of your list in the same fashion. At the end of the day, move any unfinished items to a new list of six tasks for the following day.
- Repeat this process every working day.
James Clear explains this here.
This is similar to the Warren Buffett 25/5 method for longer term planning.
- List the 25 most important things to you.
- Select the top 5.
- Avoid doing anything in the other 20 until you’ve succeeded at the top 5.
Both force you to make hard decisions and focus on what’s really important to you.
Here’s what you need to know.
You can change your habits, your mindset, and your grit. Most people don’t tend to change, but you need to know that you can.
“We sow our thoughts, and we reap our actions; we sow our actions, and we reap our habits; we sow our habits, and we reap our characters; we sow our characters, and we reap our destiny.”
It strikes me that two major determinants of success, habits and grit, are accessible to most people. Certainly, talent and intelligence will play a role in success, but I suspect they play more of a role in where we succeed, not whether we succeed. Those who succeed the most, I think, pursue their areas of special ability with good habits and grit. They recognize their strengths and follow them, but continuing to work on their weaknesses.
Much like the tortoise and the hare, those who continue to move forward may succeed despite an apparent lack of native ability. Fortunately, habits and grit can change, even if we can’t change your native ability. This is how we develop skills.
I injured myself today doing a deadlift where I didn’t realize how much of a jump in weight I was doing. I have worked hard to avoid injury in CrossFit, but I learned today that I will need to be more careful. I see the potential for learning a lot from this injury and how I might’ve avoided it. Injury can slow progress. We need to learn from these experiences and then carry on.
Two books to review:
The power of habit.
Doctrine and Covenants 88:118
Are my decisions strongest when I am making them in the moment? … or when I have carefully considered and planned them?
Often, I get distracted from goals and plans because I make a different decision in the moment than I did when I carefully considered it. This doesn’t seem like the strongest strategy. I think that I need to have more confidence in my planning and then follow through.
The idea of changing habits with a checklist is a powerful one for both individuals and organizations.
For individuals …
For organizations …
I need to have enough confidence in the checklist to trust it enough to discount my feelings in the moment in order to stick to my plan (that I have carefully thought through).
Why do people like Mark Zuckerberg, Steve Jobs, and Barack Obama wear almost the same thing every day? Decision fatigue.
Here’s an article on what it is and how to avoid it.
Good habits and routines can be a powerful way to avoid decision fatigue.
Where possible, I like to summarize useful information with helpful pointers and links to relevant articles. In this case, James Clear has done this for us.
I think that the comments on mental errors, mental models, and procrastination are very helpful. Read on …