With all the success Warren Buffet has had in his life, it is easy to believe he understands how best to use time. There is this story of Mike Flint, Buffet’s personal pilot ✈️for over a decade.
The two people were talking about Flint’s career goals when Buffet took a pause and asked Flint to jot down his top 25 career goals. 25 is a big number for career goals but the question was posed by a “real pedigree” and Flint understood it was best to follow advice.
Once Flint was done with Step 1, Buffet asked him to circle his top 5 goals. After some thinking, Flint did this too. ✅This was Step 2.
We gather that by this time Flint had two lists. The First one had 5 circled items and the second one had 20 uncircled ones.
Flint conveyed to Buffet that he would hit the ground running with the 5 immediate goals he had circled. It is at this point that Buffet questioned, “and what about the ones you did not circle?”
Flint answered that the 20 uncircled goals were also part of his plan but came behind the circled ‘5’ in priority. He would take them up once he was done with the top 5.
He thought he was speaking sense till Buffet stopped him short with the wisdom that only an acute reader of human psychology is capable of. He said, “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 succeeded with your top 5.”
So you see, it is not that the 20 uncircled items have no meaning or no place in our lives. But, looking from the vantage point of the 5 top goals, they are at best distractions. They take a lot of our time and end up giving us nothing in return except 20 half-baked projects. Eliminating them, thus, becomes so crucial. And it is this that makes Buffet’s 3-step prioritizing so brilliant. 😎
I think we should consciously weave routines around our high-value tasks. Once we have a routine in place, we will do such tasks more frequently, and with time, more effectively, too.