A while back when I was during research on how to put together a press release, I came across the name Ivy Lee. A turn of the century public relations specialist and distant relative to William Burroughs, he apparently wrote the very first press release. Not the most exciting story in the world, but if you’re a public relations person I suppose it’s interesting. The takeaway from my brief internet research that I personally found more interesting was the method of productivity that he developed. Developed almost sounds like an overstatement actually. It’s just five steps: 


  1. Write down six things you need to accomplish tomorrow.
  2. Put those six items in the order of their priority.
  3. When you show up at work the next day, concentrate on the first item and don’t move on to each next item until you finish the item before it.
  4. If you have any unfinished items, move them to a new list of six tasks to take care of the next day.
  5. Repeat this process every day.


The story goes that Ivy Lee gave this method to some turn of the century millionaire as a piece of advice, and told him to send him a check for what he thought it was worth a month down the line. Apparently, this millionaire was so pleased that he sent Ivy Lee a check for what would now be an insane amount of money. Of course, this particular millionaire was also well known for throwing around money every which way. That being said, even though I’m usually weary of so-called “life hacks”, this productivity method is actually a useful addition to the workday.