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.
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.
When we are trying to be better, we usually focus on the decisions that we make. We hope that if we can just make better decisions, then we could be better people.
Habits, however, define much more of our day than our decisions do. The power of habit is part of the reason that changing our lives can be so hard. However, if we can understand how to change our habits, the power of habit can make change much more powerful and permanent.
Every habit you have has a
- Routine, and
You can take advantage of this to learn how to change the habits that shape your life. Start by looking at the habits that you have — analyze it. What is the reminder, the routine, and the reward? Once we identify the habit, we can start to think about how to change it.
You can take advantage of this to learn how to change the habits that shape your life.