Warren Buffett is the most successful investor in the world, and he has been mega successful for over 60 years.
As we write this article, Buffett turned 90 years old, and he is the 7th wealthiest person in the world.
But what’s interesting is that Buffett has achieved all of his success not by doing more than his competitors… but by doing LESS!
For example, he doesn’t even have a computer in his office; his meetings calendar is nearly empty; he spends most of his day reading; and he prefers to focus on a few big opportunities and say “no” to all the other ones...
One of our favorite methods for focusing our attention on what matters and eliminating what doesn't - is based on Warren Buffett's 5/25 strategy.
Here's a story that demonstrates how Buffett's 5/25 rule works…
One day, Buffett asked his personal pilot, Mike Flint, to go through the 3-step exercise.
Step 1 - your 25 goals:
Buffett started by asking the pilot to write down the top 25 things that Flint wanted to accomplish in his life in the foreseeable future.
So, Flint took some time and wrote them down.
Step 2 - your "Big Five":
Then, Buffett asked Flint to review his list and rank these items in order of importance and circle the top five. Prioritizing his goals was more challenging than listing them, but Flint eventually decided on his five most important goals.
Step 3 - the 5/25 rule:
At this point, Flint had two lists:
- The five items he had circled were List A;
- and the 20 items he had not circled were List B.
Flint committed to his boss to start working on his top five goals right away.
And that’s when Buffett asked him, “And what about the second list - the items you didn’t circle?”
Flint replied, “Well, the top five are my primary focus, but the other 20 come in a close second. They are still important so I’ll work on those whenever I have some extra time. They are not as urgent, but I still plan to give them a dedicated effort.”
To which Buffett replied, “No. You’ve got it wrong, Mike. 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 accomplished your top five.
The importance of focus
Today, most people suffer from what we call “FDD - Focus Deficit Disorder”.
Life became all about jumping on opportunities, being flexible, moving quickly, embracing change and being scared of missing out.
No wonder we often feel overwhelmed...
FDD is the number one reason why most people will never reach the level of success they truly deserve and capable of.
Each time you focus on “List B” goals - it takes time, focus and attention away from the things that are most important to you - your "Big Five".
But isn’t there more to life?
Buffett’s 5/25 strategy doesn’t mean that you will only focus on your “Big Five” for the rest of your life.
As soon as you complete one of the “Big Five”, you can add any of the goals from "List B" to the top five and start working on it.
Think about all the things you have wanted to do... Maybe:
- Learn another language or play a musical instrument;
- Write a novel or sing in a musical;
- Start your own business or retire early;
- Travel around the world or move to live in another country...
But if until now you didn’t make real progress in accomplishing these goals - it’s a sign that these items on the list aren’t in your “Big Five”.
You probably picked these because they sound nice, exciting or they promise some form of benefit. But nice, exciting or beneficial is not enough to motivate you to actually accomplish them.
Do more of what matters
Time and attention are your most limited resources.
Over your lifetime, you will have more good opportunities than you realistically have time for. But it doesn’t matter how good an opportunity is, if all it does is advance a goal from your “List B“.
That’s why we love Buffett's 5/25 strategy... because it forces you to make hard decisions and eliminate things that might be GOOD uses of your time, but aren't GREAT uses of your time.
How to develop a laser-sharp focus... FAST!
Buffett’s 5/25 rule is relevant to your career and business goals, just as much as it applies to your health, relationships, and personal goals.
So if developing a laser-sharp focus is what made Warren Buffett so successful - how do you get your FDD under control and become totally focused?
We are excited to help you do just that with...
The Focus and Clarity Advantage Course
Right now... you can get the Focus and Clarity Advantage for a special introductory price.
During the Focus and Clarity Advantage Course you complete the assignments (each takes 10-15 minutes to do) and repeat the 13-minute audio recording twice a day to reprogram your subconscious mind to become laser-focused and gain total clarity.
Give yourself this precious gift and see how your life changes for the better.
Implement and Win
Let us know in the comment box below if you (sometimes) suffer from FDD and in what area(s) and you can win a Personalized Affirmation for Focus and Clarity Bundle Package (value: €47)
Sometimes, if you would be great, law, contract, and ethics many demand focus on a single goal. It may cost treasure and community, without bringing fame, and yet one can look back and say, “I did something great”. I did something no rich person ever took the time to do, and it makes life better for many people.
Good people include goals related to health, family, community, and country in their must do goals. This may dilute their focus, so they do not get as dollar rich, but they are richer in family, community, and country – all more valuable than money. Just being rich does not make one a “good person”.
My broad interest and curiosity for the world around me sometimes makes me lose focus, or at least that’s how it feels. A ‘kick in the butt’ would help take steps forward. This exercise is a great help to focus my energy! Thank you.
1. I live from inner peace, am radiant, fit and healthy, in harmony and balance.
2. I co-create with Earth and a variety of stakeholders, in ease and fun, contributing to ecological intelligence and a regenerative world.
3. I live in financial freedom.
4. I have a thriving inspiring relationship build on love, personal freedom and equality. We bring out the best in each other and have lots of fun.
5. We live self-sufficient in a house with a large garden, in nature, close to water. It is a pleasant, fertile and inspiring place where I can recharge myself every day.
Looking forward to next excercises.
I totally can understand you Natascha, our wide interests do tend to pull us in becoming FDD, but it doesn’t have to be this way…
Thanks for sharing with us your TOP 5 items in your list.
Curious to know what would be the ACTIONS that you would take towards then THIS WEEK?
1. I get old in good Health (Subs: sport, eat healthy, stress-free, being outdoor)
2. I have a Company that provides me now and in the future enough income to live in Financial Freedom.(subs: numbers of what is needed)
3. I have a thriving inspiring relationship With my husband and my daughter. We bring out the best in each other
4. I can support my Child of what she needs mentally and financially.
5. I have all I Need to be happy if Ihave all that.
Thanks for this your open and honest sharing with this list Marieke.
It takes courage to share it and it inspires others to do the same. Thanks.
To make this list to a more powerful one so you could work with it – add some numbers to it to make it more CONCRETE and SPECIFIC.
Ah this just woke me up (literally and figuratively spoken -lol). Inspired to get started right away. Ánd implement for my students (200), for their ‘time-management’ assignment next week.
It makes the technique of the Eisenhower matrix a lot more sensible because this is connected to your inner purpose and personal guidance.
Just send my colleague a note: please list your 25 top things you want to accomplish in life… and will pick it up this afternoon.
big hug for the both of you. stay awesome..;-)
Happy to hear this helped you to focus better on your goals.
Amazing to see how immediately you’ve implemented this and more important SHARED it with others
Curious to know what are YOUR 5 TOP items in your list Nana?
First I thought great, a tactic to find laser-focus in life, but now I’m stuck again.
Does it mean 5/25 in each area of life or in Total?
Because to use it for each area, then it is getting complicated/overwhelming, becoming a list of 30-40 goals again.
Too much to review daily.
How do you advice to manage priorities?
However I am motivated to find more clarity and simplicity, the ability to set the priorities/to choose is were I often go wrong.
Hey Didi… Good question.
The way we use the 5/25 method is for our life in general (not for each area)…
So… the 25 can include health goals, career, financial, relationships, etc…
Then we pick those that are most important for us (full disclosure: we use the “Big 7” as opposed to the “Big 5” that Warren Buffett uses).
We also try to make sure that our top goals are not all in the same area (so we never focus only on one or two areas of our life).
Hope that helps…
Great article! It encourages me in the right time.
Thank you for being inspirational!
Great to hear George that the article helps you.
Curious to know what would be YOUR 5 TOP items in your list
Focus is getting better. Halfway the blogpost text I knew what the 5 remaining goals were. Although maybe not specific enough.
1. Creating a new future! New beginning, new house with opportunities and garden.
2. Creating new work.
3. The house and garden as source of income.
4. Living easy, guesthouse, museum garden. A pleasure to visit and enjoy with tea garden.
Great to read this Jur.
Next step to make this happen phrase these items as goals. That should follow the following 4 rules:
1. Include yourself in it – “I have/am/be…”
2. State in the PRESENT tense – your mind only understand present tense
3. Phrase it in the positive
4. Always put the end result you wish for, not the process or step on the way
I encounter the FDD sometimes when I need to make a (big) step towards my goals such as contacting a recruiter for a better job opportunity. It feels much like procrastination and I can’t find enough motivation to push myself into it.
Thanks for the important input Jason. Procrastination is definitely one way that FDD shows up.
Curious to hear what would be your TOP 5 items once you do this process
I encounter FDD when I am not been pressed to get to my goals. When not pressed I just become distracted and do a lot of thinks what I do not need to do and at the end i forgot what i should have done. Luckily the next day I can still do them, however I cannot do other things at the same time.
Thanks for your valuable input Menno.
So, you’re one of those people that goals and deadlines make you more effective and focused, that’s great!
Curious to know what would be your TOP 5 items in your list.
Ah, so good to read about the 5/25…. I definitely suffer from FDD sometimes. I am pretty good at focusing on stuff and I am also persistent. But usually, my list is so long that I get overwhelmed and I become scattered all over the place. And then I loose momentum and also motivation – because frustration sets in – and then I start again, but it is as if I have to pull myself out of the frost-mud again – and then I start again….. So I will definitely try the 5/25 and see what happens. I can imagine that that will change things. I already feel the motivation – one part coming out of the rule that I cannot work on the 20 items on the B-list, as long as I did not finish at least one item on the A-list. That makes me antsy just to think about it! 🙂
Great to hear this Cora.
Let us know what are your TOP 5 items on your list, once you’ve done the process
Yes… I do encounter FDD on a daily basis and the strategy you offer sounds clarifying already in itself.
What I do to overcome the FDD is assigning time for a task and setting a timer. It’s marking my time. But this is task-oriented not so much goal-oriented. Which I want to experience. Thanks
Thanks for your valuable contribution Mirjam.
Curious to know what are your TOP 5 items on your list?
Here they are!
Thanks Mirjam, was good to read them
My top 5 goals are, actually 6.. but since 4 are so related I decided to keep it, please let me know if you have suggestions of clearing it.
1.having created my own method. (I’ve already created a part of it but am refining it now)
2.having created a brand around it and having loaded it.
3.building a daily fitness routine that supports me and my understanding of the method.
4. Being in a constant state of ‘Lightness’ and creativity
5. Having my own ‘ school’ of this work and running regular offline and online events. It’s leading in my subject.
6. Making enough money in an easy way with the things I already do, so I can spend my effort mainly in the new area
I love reading those TOP items on your list Mirjam.
Best way to make them happen is when you phrase them into a goal – meaning Starting with “I”
Stating it in the present, stating it in positive and stating the end result not the process
I sure suffer from FDD. And searching, working to find a way out…..
Thanks Paul for your honest comment.
Curious to know what is your way of overcoming FDD.
Try this process and let us know what are your top 5 items on your list
I suffer from FDD every day…
Thanks for your honest input Stef. Curious to know what is your way of focusing and going beyond FDD?
This was harder than I thought… to get to 25 goals:)
1: I’m having a wonderful, warm, thriving, fulfilling relationship with my children
2: I’m making/ having enough money to be able to live wherever I want, and do whatever I want (it is more concrete in my words but that is for me, not for the public)
3: My relationship is fulfilling, growing, thriving and challenging me
4: I am a successful YouTube influencer and I make a difference in people’s relationships
5: I wrote a bestseller and it’s inspiring thousands of people
What I find hard, is for instance- one of the points on my list is that I want to take care of my dad/ my dad’s wife whenever that comes to place. I don’t want to take that off the list. But I guess lists can change (right now they don’t need care).
But…I love this exercise because it makes it so clear what to choose for whenever I have to.
Thanks for your honest and open contribution Gerdy.
Obviously lists change… Like we say in the Blog post, once you achieved one of the items on your top 5, you can always add the next one on your list.
This way your list is always ALIVE!
Wow, before reading this email I Just made A kind of 25 item focuslist/ mindmap. Which came to me as a result from listening to your focus affirmations and having done A deep breath meditation (Quantum Light).
I was processing on how to shorten the list and then I read your email about Warren Buffett’s strategy. AWESOME. ?
My list is about New work and business opportunities.
That’s so great to read Alma. Curious to know what are your TOP 5 items in your list?