The Productivity Secret That Will Change Your Life

One of the things I’m constantly struggling with: my plate is incredibly full. I just have way TOO many things on that proverbial plate and it’s constantly weighing me down.

I’m a Marketing Implementer, I help people get things done, and here I am, revealing to you my own challenges with getting things done.  Well, I’ve actually invested good money with experts to help me “organize” my office, my computer, and my life, as well as I got a new desk, bookshelves, and on an on. The interesting thing is after that expert gave me this “system” it wasn’t mine. So I had great difficulty in trying to use it and came across all sorts of obstacles that just reared their ugly heads a few weeks ago.

Before I tell you what happened, I actually would liken it to someone who’s trying to lose weight and just puts the weight back on—it’s because they’re not aligned somewhere with the process, or something just isn’t right.

Well that’s what I felt like, something with my new system just wasn’t jelling with me, it just wasn’t right. And unfortunately I didn’t really see that until the crap hit the fan last week and a few balls I was juggling just crashed—yikes—how did that happen?!

The cool thing is that I did ultimately find a solution, albeit painful to have to do soooo much learning—As Alex Mandossian has taught me—“You’re either winning or you’re learning!” No such thing as losing or making mistakes—my new lingo is “I’m learning.”

After the balls crashed last week, my wonderful client and mentor Alex Mandossian, pulled me aside and saw that I was obviously have some trouble and he got to the root of it very quickly and explained to me about “The Ivy Lee 6.”

In the early 1900’s consultant Ivy Lee approached Charles Schwab, President of Bethlehem Steel (not the investment company) and asked what it’d be worth to him if he could raise the productivity of his managers by at least 20%. Schwab didn’t have an answer but was definitely interested. This is where the “Ivy Lee 6” comes into play.  Ivy Lee taught him and his managers this proven technique.

Here’s THE productivity secret that will change your life:

Before you leave your office for the night, write down the 6 most important things to be done the next day and number them in order of importance. Prioritize.

Do the tasks from the most important to least important. I write these on index cards with the date at the top.  So have the card on your desk for the next day, and once you’ve finished one, take a highlighter (I like green) and highlight through it so that’s your sign it’s complete. Any unfinished tasks are rolled over to the next day.

It may sound incredibly simple, yet for me it was amazingly effective.  After my first week was done—oh my gosh, I had a stack of cards on my desks with lots of green on them. Just being able to visibly “see” what I’d done that week was psychologically empowering. I left my office Friday on a huge high…

The key is picking the 6 that will give you the most results for the day, and write them down very clearly. For example— Don’t say— “Call several people to connect with them about our product launch.”  This is better— “Call Susie to tell her about our product launch” or “Call 3 key people who will promote our product launch…”

Using the “Ivy Lee 6″ also utilizes the power of prioritization and requires you to number your tasks in order of importance with your most important tasks done first.

Don’t wait, try this now— I know you will be amazed at how this works and leave me a comment and let me know how I can support you to be more productive!

8 Responses to The Productivity Secret That Will Change Your Life

  1. Jay says:

    Shannon,
    I love the visual of seeing what’s been accomplished. I going to make doing this No. 1 on my list for tomorrow.
    Here’s a llittle timesaver. Don’t look at your email before 10 a m.
    To prove this works, tomorrow don’t look at it before 9:30 a m and you’ll see you’ve missed next to nothing. Then next day stretch it to 10. You’ll pick up an hour of productivity.
    Regards,
    Jay

  2. Wendy says:

    Great strategy – using cards – the visual aspect really works for me, too. I don’t check emails until mid-day – I use the morning as my productive & creative time – it’s been a real boost to getting things done. Before when I used to do it the other way around, I never had any time left creative work.

    Thanks Shannon,
    Wendy

    • Shannon says:

      Hi Wendy- thanks for your comment– let me know how it works for you– yaay! As far as emails- when I’m doing my Ivy Lee 6 on my list- I turn off the phone, shut down the email, the Skype, etc.- and use that as pure productivity time with NO distractions.

  3. Greg Writer says:

    I use and own an online program called BizPAD and it works fantastic. Never loose an item and I can prioritize tasks, but it does not have the Ivy Lee 6 feature.

    Maybe we will add that to the enhancement list!

    Greg Writer

  4. Thanks Shannon, this is exactly what I have been struggling with this week – going to start using this idea right away.

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