Thank you to Forbes.com for the image.
If there is anyone who knows how to manage his time, it’s Warren Buffett. Because he knows how to make billions of dollars over and over again, people keep asking him to lead companies, investment groups, and at one point even America.
He once disclosed his productivity secret to his pilot, the guy who flew the plane Buffett traveled around in. Mike Flint (the pilot) flew US Presidents too in his career. But Buffett, and what he told Flint, is what we are here for today.
Flint has told this story a few times now, and it begins with Buffett asking Flint about his career priorities.
That’s when the Buffett productivity secret appeared.
Buffett asked Flint to write down his top 25 career goals. So Flint did just that. He took some time doing it too. It’s not easy thinking of the top 25 career goals in your life.
The next part was more difficult. Buffett asked Flint to circle his top 5 goals out of that 25. Flint took some time over this. Eventually, he had his top 5 career goals in front of him.
Flint made two lists then. By circling his top 5, he now had his 5 most important goals as List A and the other 20 as List B.
He told Buffett that he had his two lists and Buffett responded with ‘So what about the other 20?’ Flint told Buffett that they obviously weren’t as important as the top 5, so he’d focus on them here and there, when he could.
Buffett told him he was wrong. The other 20 were not to be touched or tackled in any way at all. He called this list the ‘avoid at all cost list’. Flint was not to even look at this list until that top 5 was taken care of.
Why the method works
If you have created a list of top 25 career priorities, you’ve created a list of things that you care about. If you narrowed that down to 5 and 20, you still care about the 20. That hasn’t changed.
Buffett, however, says you avoid distraction. You don’t even look at the 20 until you have fully completed the top 5.
That’s how he became someone who is worth $84 billion as of 2019.
You can apply this same method to the next month, the next week, the next hour. It’s versatile like that, because what you’re doing is true prioritisation. You’re clearing your mind of distraction and focusing only on the 5 most important things to do or complete.
Imagine having that laser focus for a week.
Go for it.