Writing out a to-do list seems like a pretty efficient way to make sure you get stuff done—but in practice, it isn’t always flawless. Could that be because we’re making them wrong?
According to a 100-year-old productivity trick, maybe.
The Ivy Lee Method was invented in 1918, and outlines how to make the perfect to-do list: At the end of each day, write down the six most important things you have to do the next day and prioritize them. In the morning, start at the top of the list and complete each task before moving on to the next.
This trick works for a few reasons: It forces you to prioritize (by limiting the number to six, you must make decisions about what really needs your attention). It gives you a clear starting point, making it harder to dillydally around getting started. And finally, it emphasizes doing one thing at a time instead of multitasking, which has been proven to slow progress.
Consider your to-do list to-done.