Throw the List Away

Whether you run a small business, a large business, or a mid-cap, everybody’s got the same time constraints – there are only 24 hours in a day! So, if you think about time as a limited resource, where are you spending yours? Are you having meetings just because you’ve always had a Tuesday meeting?

Leaders need to treat their time as a scarce recourse, the same way you would treat money, tech, or top employees.

Here’s something Warren Buffett says that has always inspired me. He asked people to write down their 25 most important goals for the upcoming year. Then, circle the top 5 goals on that list, the things you absolutely have to get done; the ones that are the most critical. Once you’ve done that, throw away the rest of the list, and don’t worry about them until the top 5 are done.

It’s all about prioritization. If you want to prioritize your time, apply the Pareto Principle to your goals: roughly 80% of effects come from only 20% of the causes. It’s all about putting 20% of your time where you’re going to get 80% of the results. That’s exactly what Warren Buffet is talking about by taking the top 5 of 25 goals – the top 20%!

What are your highest priorities, your Vital Few? Are you willing to say no to goals and distractions that take your time away from your most critical items? That is the key. Every day, in business or in your personal life, you have to decide where you are going to say yes, and where are you going to say no.

Make sure the things you say “Yes!” to are the most important things in your business, and ignore the rest. That’s the best way to make sure the items that are critical get the largest part of your time, and that’s the most effective way to succeed.

What are you going to cross off your list today?


​ The Disciplined Leader

What do the best leaders have in common? The answer is one word: Discipline. A disciplined leader is one who identifies and focuses on the Vital Few: the 20% of activities that will drive 80% of the results. Learn More

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