With a net worth of 71.4 billion, Warren Buffett is the second richest man in America (only behind Bill Gates).
Given his success, both professionally and philanthropically, there’s no argument that this man knows how to manage his time effectively.
I read an article not too long ago on James Clear’s blog that explains how he has been able to achieve as much as he has.
He uses a simple 3-step strategy.
Step 1: Write down your top 25 career goals. (These can also be goals that you wish to complete on a shorter timeline — like 25 things you wish to accomplish this year, or even this month — and they also don’t have to be limited to career goals).
Step 2: Review your list and circle your top 5 goals. (If you’re following along at home, pause right now and do these first two steps before reading step 3).
Step 3: You should now have two lists: the 5 things you circled are List A, and the 20 things that you didn’t circle are List B. List B is now your Avoid-At-All-Cost List. No matter what, these things get no attention from you until you’ve succeeded with your top 5.
Eliminate ALL Distractions
Before reading about this 3-step strategy, I had this thing called an Impossible List, which is a cool variation to a bucket list.
Basically, while a bucket list is full of dreams and aspirations you hope to achieve someday, the impossible list is something you actively live out and work towards everyday. Rather than waiting until you’re on your deathbed, the impossible list forces you to start taking action now. This is good.
But the problem with an impossible list, for me at least, was that I had a hard time focusing on my priorities.
Everything on my impossible list was something that I cared about, or I wouldn’t have put it on there in the first place. But that was the issue — I wanted to do it ALL.
Unfortunately, as David Allen, creator of the Getting Things Done (GTD) time management method, says:
“You can do anything, but you can’t do everything.” – Tweet This
It’s easy to recognize and eliminate (or at least minimize) the obvious distractions, like TV and social media. It’s not so easy to eliminate things that are important to you — things that you might consider “second priority items”—when you don’t even recognize them as distractions in the first place.
But if they’re not the MOST important things, that’s exactly what they are—distractions.
James Clear brings up a good point when he says that “even neutral behaviors aren’t really neutral. They take up time, energy, and space that could be put toward better behaviors or more important tasks.”
Anything that’s not directly helping you achieve your most important goals is, directly or indirectly, preventing you from achieving those goals.
So take some time to figure out what your top 5 goals are, focus on those, and stop wasting time on everything else.
Image Source: Flickr: Time is Money