If you're going to take wealth advice from anyone… (other than me of course), Warren Buffet is probably the next best person to go to.
After all, he's probably the most successful investor of all time and is consistently ranked as one of the wealthiest people alive with an estimated worth of $76.8 Billion.
Obviously, he's MUCH wealthier than me but he can't surf to save his life, eats McDonald's for breakfast and works all the time (even Saturdays!)…
I know I didn't spend the last 40 years building wealth so I could go hog-wild and eat a McCrap Burger for breakfast every morning on my way to the office.
Jeez… Get a life! …Although I hear he's a dab-hand at the Ukulele when he wants to unwind… So that's something I guess.
One thing I do respect though is how much the man gets done, and still find time to play his Ukulele… He's achieved some incredible things over the years.
But did you know that it all comes down to his unique, special, patented “Two list strategy for maximum focus”?
The list strategy got out there because of a conversation Buffet had with his longtime personal pilot… (yeah… He's got a personal pilot… He hasn't got time to fly his own jet!)
His pilot Mike Flynt was talking to Warren about his career priorities and Buffet stopped him mid-sentence to guide his through this 3step process…
(I don't know that he'd ever articulated it before then)
Want to know how it goes?
1. Write down your top 25 career goals… Or to get even more precise, the top 25 things you want to achieve in the next 12 months.
Done that? …Good!
2. Take a long hard look at those items and circle the 5 most important items… The most urgent, or the ones that will make the biggest difference to your life.
3. Start a second list and put those 5 whitings in that list … Which we'll call “List – A”. Then mark up the original list as List B (and cross off the 5 things that you've moved across to list A.
Back to our story…
Flynt told buffet that he would start working on the top 5 things straight away and make them his biggest priority.
Then he told old Wazza that he'd use his weekends and spare time to chip away at the other 20 goals… The things that are on List B. That way they wouldn't eat into his “focus time”. Because, after all, they are still important… Just not in the top 5.
Buffet came back with “No Mike, you've got it all wrong. Everything you didn't circle and kept on List B just became your “Avoid at all costs” list. No matter what don't touch or even think about these things until List A is fully achieved.”
I've written about reducing clutter and keeping it simple before but this is a useful tool for radically clearing mental clutter that takes up your valuable time.
James Clear from TIME Magazine states it perfectly “Spending time on secondary priorities is the reason you have 20 half-finished projects instead of 5 completed ones”
If you can't complete a task in a certain amount of time either outsource it or kill it.
I'd take it one step further actually…
Add to List B all the negative people in your life. The people who take up your time and suck you dry of your energy and joy (You know how they are right?… I'll bet someone would have come to mind when I said that… And add them to List B too.
Add the jobs you hate doing… either kill those tasks to outsource them. And what not go all the way and write down the bad habits you want gone too… Add those pesky annoyances to LIST B…
Then pin those two lists up somewhere visible and start focusing on the BIG 5…
Typically when you complete one thing from List A – you'll already know what the next thing you want to put on there is.
So then you just get on with LIST A knowing that everything else is on list B… You can get back to those when you've completely cleared List A. (Which is never – Cause you're always updating it).
The most dangerous distractions are the ones you love, but that don't love you back.