I took my shiny pastel pink journal out of my bag. Most of its pages are still intact– I haven’t really journaled as much as I wanted in the past months. I peeled a few pages back from the bookmark and found a list entitled “2020 Goals” in my neat handwriting, embellished with squiggly lines and random neon pink highlights. I had all the time in the world when I created it. Now, not so much.
As I read through each one of my goals, I slowly felt dread creeping in. “I should’ve done better,” I’d repeat to myself a couple of times, before resigning to the fact that the only thing I could do is to move forward. I know it’s just March, with a little over 9 months left to redeem my unproductive streak, but I couldn’t help but beat myself up for all the things I wasn’t able to accomplish. Seeing my ‘goals’ felt like a pandora’s box; it became a gateway for a lot of feelings I have longed repressed and before I knew it, I was overwhelmed. I was falling to my overthinking spiral and I couldn’t stop.
So I did the only thing that could calm me down: I sat down, flipped a few pages into my journal, and wrote a list.
Warren Buffett’s 5/25 Method
I came across this method a few years ago but never really implemented it. I have an attention span and curiosity of a child, and every shiny new idea would distract me from what I was originally working on. Following this method helped me trim down unnecessary thoughts and have a better focus on what I want to achieve. I’m at a point in my life where I want to feel a little grounded, and this was just the most suitable system for me.
What is it?
It’s said to be a method that business magnate and investor Warren Buffett shared with his pilot when he was at the crossroads of his career. Originally, this was meant to bring clarity for career choices, but honestly, you can apply it when you are weighing anything in life.
I think I’m not the only one who has a million things on my list, and I bet many of you (hola, fellow multipotentialites and jill of all trades) could also use some structure when choosing what to do next, especially if your interests are just ever-expanding.
The exercise is simple and easy to follow:
First, you have to list the top 25 things that you wanted to do.
Second, rank them in order of importance and choose your top 5.
Last but not the least, commit yourself to your top 5. The other items on the list? Avoid them at all costs. You cannot work on them, nor try to do something about them until you have fully fulfilled your top 5.
It sounds easy, but honestly, committing to only a few things is a challenge. We are wired to be the most productive version of ourselves. We multitask and try to juggle as many things as possible. We pursue passion projects, side hustles, gigs, small businesses, and squeeze every available minute optimizing and being productive. And while hard work is good, doing it too much is just torture.
Having a priority list gives me the focus and opportunity to take steps that would help me achieve my goals faster. Instead of spreading myself too thin, I’m technically able to say “no” to the inessential. I still feel the pressure, but at the same time, I feel like a weight has been lifted off. It felt as if I could really own that I’m productive because each step that I take is helping me reach a goal and not just another fun, interesting detour.
Now the next challenge is fully committing to these goals. I’m just a few days in and there’s no real progress yet, but despite the struggle, hopefully, I could endure. We’ll see.