Joony and the Ivy Lee Method of Productivity

Joony gives you room for 7 tasks a day, with a special spot for your hardest task. Seven tasks might seem random or limiting, but it's inspired by a tried and true form of productivity: the Ivy Lee method.

Created by businessman Ivy Lee at the request of American steel magnate Charles M. Schwab, the method goes like this:

  • At the end of the day, write down your six most important tasks for the next day, starting with the hardest task first.
  • The next day, begin with your hardest task, and work down from there.
  • If any tasks remain unfinished, move them over to the next day's list.

That's it.

This method increased the productivity of Schwab's employees so much that Schwab wrote Ivy Lee a check for $25,000. Not too shabby, considering that the year was 1918 and $25,000 equates to about $400,000 today.

It's a fascinating story that you can read about more on James Clear's blog here.

The Ivy Lee method and Joony

Joony Journal days and notes

From the Ivy Lee method, Joony incorporates and builds on:

  • A special place for your hardest task.
  • A concise list of tasks (Joony providing one extra slot for 7 addressable tasks).
  • A simple system for managing tasks.

You can follow the Ivy Lee method exactly while using Joony, but we also designed the journal to give you some freedom to develop a system that works for you. Let's take a look at the three tenets inspired by the Ivy Lee method and how they can be used in Joony:

A special place for your hardest task

Joony Journal hardest task first

Keeping your hardest task separate and clearly defined elevates its importance. Accomplishing this task first will make the rest of your todos feel even more achievable.

A concise list of tasks (Joony providing one extra slot for 7 addressable tasks)

Joony Journal task list

Ivy Lee settled on six as the magic number of tasks. We give you space for seven. Either way, history and research suggests your task list shouldn't get much longer, or you risk overwhelming yourself.

You also aren't required to fill in every space. If you're just getting started trying to stay organized, try out one, two, or even three tasks at most. Baby steps, young padawan.

A simple system for managing tasks

Joony Journal task management

Ivy Lee recommended moving your unfinished tasks to the next day's list. If that works for you, great - keep doing that. However, we recognize that not every task needs to get done, and that life can get in the way. And if life gets in the way, that's okay - live your life.

Joony has four symbols for ticking off a task:

  • (—) "Waiting For" for when a task has external dependencies
  • (+) "Done" - task complete; good work!
  • (→) "Defer" - move it to the next day, or maybe defer it to someone else.
  • (X) "Delete" - the task is no longer relevant - less to do!

 These symbols work in harmony too - if a task moves from "Waiting For" to "Done", simply draw a line down the middle to form a "Done" symbol (+).

If that "Done" task goes back to incomplete and you need to defer it, draw two lines and fill them in to make a "Defer" arrow (→).

Joony and you

We made Joony for you - to adapt and make your own. From the plain front cover that you can leave in its simplicity or decorate to the nines, to the way you use it to improve your days, Joony is meant to be the sidekick you've always needed.

If you've developed your own methods to get things done with Joony, share them in the comments below. We'd love to hear from you.

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