Hello, My Gorgeous Ones!
If you’re anything like I used to be, you may start each morning half past dead, on your third cup of almond milk latte anxious as all get out to confront the boxes of your never-ending to-do list. Then you may take an extra 20 (mixed-up minutes) to determine what it is you need to tackle first to make it a productive day. The truth is, there really is an easier way. Setting aside 20 minutes each evening to determine our highest priority for the following day, would allow us more free time to do what we love while making real progress to set our goals on fire.
There are various schools of thought for prioritizing our time, but I’d like to share the one method that has made my life so much easier. Let me repeat …sooooooo much easier! Here it goes.
Think of all of the items on your to-do list as little pockets of excess fat stuck to your body. I apologize for the visual, but stay with me. Some of these pockets are fifty pounds of saturated fat, while others are just a measly two or three.Your goal is to identify the two most substantial pockets of fat (your most dreaded, difficult essential tasks) and get that done first thing in the morning before allowing yourself to begin on any other project.
James Clear, author of Atomic Habits and someone I have great respect for, often speaks of The Ivy Lee Method. This is a method formulated in the early 1900s by a successful American publicity expert named Ivy Lee. The story is that one of the richest men in this period, C. Schwab hired Lee to help him increase productivity in his steel corporation. When asked how much he was going to charge him, Lee responded, “nothing, unless it works. Just give me fifteen minutes with each of your executives. If after three months it works, you can pay me what you think it was worth.”
Ivy Lee’s suggestions to the executives for optimal peak productivity was the following:
1. At the end of each workday write down no more than six tasks you need to complete the next day, to achieve your objectives;
2. Rank these in order of importance;
3. Each morning, begin with the most important task and DO NOT MOVE ON TO THE NEXT UNTIL THIS ONE IS COMPLETE;
4. Work your way through the rest of the tasks from the most important to the least;
5. At the end of the day, move any unfinished tasks to a new list for the following day; and
6. Repeat this process daily.
The Ivy Lee Method worked so well that Mr. C. Schwab ended up writing Ivy Lee a check of $25,000 (the equivalent of over $400,000 today).
If You’re Not Sure of What Your Priorities Should Be:
(Answer the following questions and keep them as clear as possible.)
- What are your soul on fire goals personal/business for 2020?
- What are your values (these should align with your goals)?
- What will your future self thank you for accomplishing?
- What are your responsibilities?
Extra Hacks to Succeed:
- Set an evening reminder, so you don’t forget to write your list;
- Do Not Disturb: Put your phone in another room and turn off the pings and digs until your tasks are complete;
- Set Time Blocks: Buy a kitchen timer and set it for an hour before beginning task one. When it rings, take a 10-minute break then repeat timer until you are done. This will provide your brain the break it needs to be diligent;
- Print and track your accomplished tasks on a tracker to satisfy your minds desire for immediate rewards; and
- A small reward at the end of the day if you shed the two most prominent fat pockets is a great way to stay motivated to repeat the following day
My wish for you this week is to utilize the Ivy Lee Method to get your most essential tasks done, so you reach the goals that make you excited to wake up in the morning. Please remember to always integrate self-care or brain breaks throughout the day, so you do not burn out or get sick.
Feel free to email me at irene@happinesswithinreach if you would like me to email you a free Habit Tracker Worksheet to more easily track your successes and feel like you are moving forward.
Irene is the creator of the Happiness Within Reach program, which coaches professional success-driven women to open their hearts to self-love while forming deep and vulnerable relationships with others. She is an ICF, ACC Certified life and business coach who holds certifications from the University of Pennsylvania on Positive Psychology and is trained in the Gottman Method for Couples Therapy. This integrates forty years of scientific research, based on the Sound Relationship House Theory. Irene has helped hundreds of women get reacquainted with their hearts most affirming desires. Her mission is to remind women of their indisputable worthiness and capability of creating the extraordinary soul on fire life that is their birthright.