Journal blog

The one thing you can do tonight to dramatically increase your productivity tomorrow. HINT: It has nothing to do with food or sleep.

This is something that I have done FOR YEARS to keep my family and house running, grow my business, help with getting ready for big events, and absolutely grow my personal life.  This helps with being productive, not busy.

I have shared before that a big part of how I start my day is by journaling.  I will get really specific another time, but in a nutshell, it is me and my water ( boring alert: I start with the water and lemon) with a blanket and my journal.  This is MY journal.  I am not concerned with another person reading it, so I SCRIBBLE every part of my morning time.  I may or may not go back to read it and penmanship is of zero concern to me.  This is my time to get mentally ready for the day, so I focus on these 3 things.

Part #1: What I am ridiculously grateful for.  I site things like batteries and light bulbs. They seem to remind me to be humble and that they are a luxury item.

Part #2: I recite my top 10 goals that I am working toward.  Some are SMART goals and time-specific, some are long game goals and act as a moral compass for me.

Part #3: The intentions and mantras I need to dwell on all day. “It’s happening for me, not to me”,  “I am in charge of my emotions, my feelings are not in charge”, “What does how I feel about it have to do with anything?”

That is the morning.

The other is the night. This is what I want to share.

(I am told that it is fine to do in the morning if you are that kind of person, I tend to need to know ahead of time what I am excited to be working on and where to start). I don’t like the stumped feeling of  “What should I do today?” I always come up with something, but it feels like I am responding when I am asking that question rather than being proactive.

Turns out that this is called the IVY method.

In 1918 Charles M. Schwab was one of the wealthiest men in the world.

Schwab was president of the Bethlehem Steel Corporation, the largest shipbuilder and the second largest steel producer, at that time, in America.  Thomas Edison once referred to Schwab as a “ master hustler”. He was constantly scaling upwards, with the edge over the competition.

In 1918, he was on a quest to increase the efficiency of his team and establish a better way of getting things done, so Schwab set up a meeting with a highly respected productivity consultant  named Ivy Lee.

Lee was a successful businessman and is known today as a pioneer in public relations.  The story says that Schwab brought Lee into his office and said, “Please show me a way to get more things done.”

Lee replied, “Give me 15 minutes with each of your executives.”

Schwab, “How much will it cost?”

Lee, “Nothing, unless it works.  After three months, you can send me a check for whatever you feel it is worth to you.”

So, during each of the 15 minutes with each executive, Lee explained his simple daily routine for peak productivity.

  1. At the end of each workday, write down the 6 most important things you need to accomplish tomorrow.  Do not write down more than 6.
  2. Rank the 6 in order of importance.
  3. When you arrive tomorrow, only focus on the first task and work on it until it is finished before moving on to the second.
  4. Tackle the rest of your list the same way. At the end of the day, move any unfinished items to a new list of six for the following day.
  5. Repeat every day.

The strategy sounded simple and Schwab and his executive team at Bethlehem Steel implemented it.  In 3 months, Schwab was so pleased with the progress of his company that he called Lee back to his office and wrote him a $25,000 check.  This was in 1918, that check would be $400,000 in 2020.

This is the type of  time blocking, where you focus on one task at a time.  If you have not tried it, it is time. This method allows you to focus your priorities on what is IMPORTANT (not the riff-raff or what is URGENT to someone else).

I follow this method, but limit myself to 3 tasks.  I have my top 3. I seem to do better with 3. I write down my 3 tasks every night.

  •  It is simple and all you need is paper and pen (in my case my Michael Hyatt journal/calendar).
  • This makes you prioritize.  Choose 3 or 6, either one a magic number because you won’t be overwhelmed with a list of 20 things.
  • This takes the guesswork out of where to start (I mentioned that earlier).  If you think about it, it’s easy to waste a lot of time “thinking” about where to start. This is when scrolling can be a deadly time sucker.
  • It turns you into a single-tasker rather than a multi-tasker.  Focusing your energy like a laser on ONE THING to completion gives you a sense of accomplishment and pride!

To wrap this up. This is a productivity tip that helps with productivity, concentration, organization, and allows your brain to focus on what needs to be done.

Did this post add value to you?  It has CHANGED MY life…

Copy of XO,

Originally posted 2020-03-15 12:26:37.

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