Warren Buffett’s 5/25 Rule Will Help You Focus On What Really Matters

I’d like to share with you a simple method that can help to prioritize your goals and move your career forward.

Why prioritizing is so important?

Here’s an example. I am the CEO of a SaaS startup. We help companies increase conversion rates by creating different versions of their website.

If you’d like to optimize the performance of an e-commerce site, there are a lot of elements that you should pay attention to, and they all require a different skill set.

You need to understand how Google operates, and how to rank for important keywords. You have to be familiar with every social media site that your potential customers are using. Web development, copywriting, and photo editing skills can also help you in achieving outstanding results.

You might think that learning as much as you can about each of those fields is your best chance to become a great marketer.

Well, that’s obviously not going to work. It could take years to master any one of them. On top of that, every area in online marketing is changing rapidly, and if you don’t keep your knowledge up to date about a certain topic, it’s going to be worthless in a couple of years.

You can get much further by prioritizing and finding out which career fields are the most promising for you.

Of course, that doesn’t mean that you should pursue only one goal, but having too many can discourage you from doing what is necessary to become truly successful. Sooner or later you will feel like there are just too many skills that you need to improve, which will most certainly hold back your progress.

To avoid a situation like this, you need to decide where to focus your energies.

Warren Buffett’s 5/25 Rule

Warren Buffett, the American investor, is regularly ranked among the world’s most influential and wealthiest people. Mike Flint, who has piloted for several U.S. presidents, was his personal airplane pilot for 10 years. Once they talked about setting career goals, and Buffett advised Flint to go through the following two steps:

  1. Write down 25 goals that you’d like to accomplish in your career.
  2. Review your list and circle five goals, the ones that are the most important to you.

If you think deeply about the things that matter to you the most and create a list like this, you’ll be able to see clearly what your top five priorities and 20 secondary goals are.

But what’s really interesting about this story is Buffett’s advice about the secondary goals. He didn’t tell the pilot to concentrate less on them, or to only pay attention to them when he has more free time for some reason. He told him to avoid them at all costs and don’t even think about them until he achieved his most important goals.

What are your top five priorities?

Going through these steps and creating a list of my 25 goals has helped me to find out what to concentrate on and which direction to take. And it seems I’m not alone with this. With a quick search, you can find investors, developers, and entrepreneurs writing about the benefits of this method.

So, if you haven’t heard of it before, and feel like you need to make decisions that can seriously impact your career, I advise you to give it a try.


Originally published at blog.szanto.co on February 21, 2017.

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