By this time of the year, you’ve likely polished up your 2019 strategy. It’s either a refinement of your existing plans or a new approach for growth over the course of the year. Regardless of where you are in your business strategy, or how effective you feel you are at designing and delivering on it, there is a simple and effective method you can use to make sure you’re on track. In the spirit of spring cleaning, let’s dust that strategy baby off and take a look.

At Coherence Strategy Group, we like Warren Buffett. We like him a lot. He’s famous for two notable things – being incredibly wealthy and giving good advice. One of his most famous pieces of advice is commonly referred to as the 2-List Strategy or the 25:5 List Strategy. It’s simple but effective. We use it, and so can you. Let’s look at how it works. 

How many goals do you have right now? Please be honest!  You probably don’t have any, or you have too many.  Having 10 goals is a sub-optimal as having no strategy. But, don’t stress. This is where Buffett’s idea fits in. Help is on the way.

You can follow this process to use Warren Buffet’s 2-List Strategy to prioritize your goals and focus your energy (and make sure the rest of your year rocks because of your amazing focus and discipline as a result): 

  • List the top 25 goals you’d like to accomplish in your lifetime. Take all the time you need to compile a long list of goals. Many of them you’ll know right off the top of your head, but many will require more thought. Please put aside the “10 goals is too much” idea right now… this is a starting point, not the end result.
    • It might take a few days to a week to complete this step. Once you get started, you’ll find that additional ideas pop into your head at random moments. Be sure to capture these.
    • Feel free to make the initial list much longer than 25, but ultimately limit yourself to 25.
  • Choose the five most important. This is a little tougher. Choose the five most important goals from your list of 25 goals. Again, you might need some time to complete this step. 
    • Imagine that you only had the opportunity to accomplish five goals. Which would you choose? In what order?
  • Create two lists. Put the five most important goals in one list, and the remaining 20 on another list. Keep both of them handy. Both are useful, just not for the same reasons.

The list of your top five goals now becomes your focus.

The list of 20 items might seem important to you, but they are to be avoided at all costs. They are now just a list of appealing distractions that will keep you from accomplishing the most important five. Keep this list available. Remind yourself regularly of these items. View them as poison to your success. (Insert dramatic music swell… this is serious, folks).

Most of us wouldn’t have the time to complete all 25 items unless the goals are quite small. Spreading yourself too thin is a recipe for disaster. When your attention is scattered, you’ll accomplish little. 

Prioritizing goals, and then limiting yourself to just five at a time, ensures that you’re magnifying the effectiveness of your time and energy. 

Can you ever do any of those 20 items? Yes, but only after the first five have been accomplished.

After you complete your top five, complete the process again. After completing five important goals, you won’t be the same person anymore. Your priorities and interests will likely be different. Start all over again with your existing list or a new list of 25 goals. 

IMPORTANT NOTE: Many of you are thinking, right now, that this is a nice idea, but doesn’t pertain to you. Of COURSE, you can juggle your list, and make progress in all areas. You’ve been doing it for years, or it’s your modus operandi and you wouldn’t have it any other way. I’m sure you’re out there, I used to BE you. 🙂 But, I’d challenge you to ask yourself, is it really that awesome trying to be on all the time and deliver on so many competing for priorities? My bet (and personal experience) is that it’s not as amazing as it’s cracked up to be.

So, just for a month, try it. Avoid the remaining 20 items on your list until you’ve achieved a modicum of success with the primary five. They’ll tempt you – but be strong! Your list is as cool as you are, so the items on it are, I’m sure, very appealing ways of wasting your time and energy. When your list (other than your Focused Five) seems almost alive… calling you, distracting you, enticing you to think about or take steps to pursue it. Don’t! Stay focused. You’ve got this. Focus on Five and you’ll see a dramatic difference in both your productivity and your overall happiness and well-being. The most successful people are focused on a small number of goals. Prioritization and focus are required for success.

Warren Buffett has proven that his advice is worth considering. And, hey, who can argue with his success? Get clear on your goals and focus. Make a list of your 25 most important goals and prioritize them today. Then, get started making your top five goals your reality! We’d love to hear from you about how it’s going. If you’ve completed the exercise, share a comment – how did it go? Did the Focused Five make a difference? Are you feeling more like a rock star than you ever have before? We hope so. Look forward to hearing how it goes.