Discovering what life is about

How to focus and prioritize your time


Warren Buffett’s 5/25 strategy


How to focus and prioritize your time


A few years ago, before an airplane takeoff, Warren Buffett walked up to the pilot of his private jet, Mike Flint and jokingly said to him, “The fact that you’re still working for me, tells me I’m not doing my job. You should be out, going after more of your goals and dreams.”


Buffett then walked Flint through a simple, quick process to gain clarity on his priorities and achieve his goals.


Here’s the exact 3-step process (you can follow along and write these down):


Step 1: Write down your top 25 goals.


The first thing Warren Buffett asked Flint to do was to list the most important career goals he wanted to achieve in his lifetime. These would total to 25 goals.


Step 2: Draw a circle around your top 5 goals.


Once Flint compiled his list of 25 career goals, Buffett asked him to draw a circle around his top 5 most important goals. Flint was hesitant because each goal was important to him, but nevertheless, he circled five goals.


Then, Buffett asked, “Are you sure these are the absolute highest priority for you.” Flint replied, “Yes.”


Step 3: Focus on Your Top 5 Goals and Say No to the Rest


After the brief discussion, Flint said to Buffett, “Warren, these are the most important things in my life right now. I’m going to get to work on them right away. I’ll start tomorrow. Actually, no I’ll start tonight.”


Buffett replied, “but what about these other 20 things on your list that you didn’t circle? What is your plan for completing those?” Flint replied swiftly, “Well the top five are my primary focus but the other twenty come in at a close second. They are still important so I’ll work on those intermittently as I see fit as I’m getting through my top 5. They are not as urgent but I still plan to give them dedicated effort.”


After a brief moment of silence, Buffett looked straight into Flint’s eyes and said, “No. You’ve got it wrong Steve. Everything you didn’t circle just became your ‘avoid at all cost list’. No matter what, these things get no attention from you until you’ve succeeded with your top 5.”


How to focus and prioritize your time


The 5/25 strategy in everyday life

Although Buffett’s advice to Flint involved career goals over his lifetime, you can apply the 5/25 strategy for better focus and prioritization of your everyday goals.


Here are some examples …


If your goal is to get fit and stay healthy.


Using the 5/25 strategy, write down your top 25 health goals i.e. to lose 20 pounds, sleep early and wake up early, stop eating junk food etc. Then, circle your top 5 health goals and focus on these only.


If your goal is to grow and scale your business.


Using the 5/25 strategy, write down your top 25 business goals i.e. to create new products and services, hire more staff, invest in marketing. Then, circle your top 5 business goals and focus on these only.


If your goal is to build meaningful relationships.


Using the 5/25 strategy, write your top 25 relationship goals i.e. spend more time with family, spend more time with friends, build business relationships etc. Then, circle your top 5 relationship goals and focus on these only.




Say no to the inessential

We have a limited amount of time and energy to achieve our goals each day. Yet, more times than not, we spread ourselves thin by chasing too many goals at the same time.


As a result, we get easily distracted, lose focus and fail to consistently follow through on our plans.


Warren Buffett’s 5/25 strategy is a simple, effective tool that will help you to focus, prioritize your most important goals and achieve consistent progress in your life.


The 5/25 strategy is a reminder that it’s not what you do, it’s what’s you don’t do, that drives your productivity and performance.


By practicing ruthless elimination—including the things you care about—and focusing on your very few, but truly important goals, you’ll consistently achieve your goals for a lifetime.


What are you choosing to say no to today? Choose wisely.


Ref :




If you want to follow your dreams, you have to say no to all the alternatives


Our brains behave like a beachball filled with bees. Hundreds of conflicting impulses, pushing us in different directions.

How to focus and prioritize your time



The origin of the human brain

People never want to do one thing. We want to do all the things. We simultaneously want to exercise and to learn Spanish and to go out for pizza. Our desires are countless, independent agents, working to nudge our beachball in their own selfish direction.


And so usually, that ball is going nowhere. It’s controlled more by the terrain than by the will of what’s inside it.


How to focus and prioritize your time

Our brain, or a swarm of bees in a beachball


This is how most people live their lives. We feel endlessly conflicted. We never have enough time. And what happens to us is stronger than our ability to combat it.


Let’s fix that.


The curse of the ‘great idea

Imagine if 20 years ago you were a genius who had the idea of starting up Google, and Amazon, and Facebook. You just invented three of the best business ideas of the last century, and if you had started any one of them you could now be worth billions. But if you were determined to do all three simultaneously you’d be absolutely nowhere.


It’s not enough to have great ideas. Lots of people have great ideas. The problem is that too many great ideas cancel each other out.

How to focus and prioritize your time

Three great ideas make a failure


This is why a committee of smart people is called an “idiot”. Leadership doesn’t work in volume. The more directions you’re being pulled in, the less distance you’ll travel.


How people achieve the impossible

Imagine an insanely ambitious goal for yourself. Say you want to write a book, or land on Mars.


If you absolutely had to do that – if your life and the lives of everybody you cared about depended upon it – how would you? How could you?


You’d simply drop everything else. You’d become one giant bumblebee, pushing in one direction, and you’d move very, very quickly:


How to focus and prioritize your time

A giant bumblebee in a beachball


Monomaniacal focus on a single goal is perhaps the ultimate success stratagem. It’s a pattern found in everyone from Edison to Einstein. When you’re able to focus on a single goal, constantly, your achievements reach their theoretical limit:


How to focus and prioritize your time

Achievement = Potential / Directions squared


Most people aren’t failing because of their potential. They’re failing because their potential is spread in too many directions.


How to tame the swarm

You will always want to attempt more than you can achieve.


Unfortunately pulling yourself in too many directions is the single quickest way to ensure failure. And putting your all into a single direction is the quickest way to ensure success.


So try this:


Aim higher. If your ambitions are small, they’re easily overpowered. Big goals are paradoxically more likely to stick because they’re worth ignoring smaller goals for.


Limit to three. Keep up to three lists for different parts of your life – say ‘work’, ‘home’ and ‘weekend’. Each list only gets one objective. If you absolutely must have more, just know that each addition quarters the odds of that area succeeding.


Put it off. Anything which isn’t top priority now can be done optimally later. Mark Zuckerberg was smart to start Facebook first and then learn Chinese. Your goals are the same, you’re just usually too attached to them in the moment to notice.


Beware your idle wants. Watch out for ‘other things that you also want’. They will feel comforting, harmless, and automatic. They are deadly. One new direction will quarter what you can accomplish.


Line up your bumblebees. You may not be able to create the next Google, cure cancer and land on Mars at the same time. But you might be able to simultaneously become, say, a successful and athletic CEO. Success and fitness can be complementary goals: a healthier person can be a better leader. They’re like two bumblebees, pushing in the same direction, and stronger for it.

How to focus and prioritize your time



The few people who have achieved the most staggering, world changing things with their lives didn’t do so by dividing their intentions. They aimed high, got their bumblebees in line, and said no to all the other opportunities that life presented them.


If you want the power to follow your dreams, you have to say no to all the alternatives. It’s not easy, but if that’s for you, at least you know the price.








Categories : Life purpose    Themes : time
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