Get an ROI on Your Time Like Warren Buffett in 2019

$80 Billion!
That’s Warren Buffett’s net worth!
He gave away his secret on being productive and it’s shockingly easy for you to do.

Warren Buffett is, obviously, good at doing his most important tasks.  You may disagree with what he focuses on, but it’s hard to argue against how effective he is.

So how does he do it?  What can you do in 2019 to get a return on your time like Warren Buffett?

5/25.  That’s it.

James Clear relays a story of how Warren Buffett told Mike Flint, his private pilot, how to get more done.  Warren Buffet’s process, with tweaks, is below.

Define Your Goals Into the 3P’s

Write down the 25 things you want to get done over the next year.  Put each goal under one of the 3P categories:

  • Professional
  • Physical
  • Personal

Now from the list of 25 goals circle the 5 that are the most important to you.  5/25. Clever, I know.

Refine Your Goals

The important part of the process, and story, is how Warren Buffett changes Mike’s thinking about priorities.  Mike thinks the 20 goals he didn’t circle are on the B list. For what it’s worth, I have done this too.

“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.”

Here are the 5 I circled (4 out of the 5 are real):

  • Professional
    • Accelerate Toodledo’s Growth
    • Expand professional network
    • Create a podcast
  • Physical
    • Power to the People workout from Pavel Tsatsouline
  • Personal
    • Become a novice tango dancer
Optimize Your Goals

The next step is to restate them as SMARTP-FITS (Fits your vision, Important, Timely given your knowledge, ability, and skills set, Simple – Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, Time bound, Positively stated) goals.

  • Professional
    • Grow Toodledo’s user base by 12% each month
    • Do 3-15-5-1 networking for 40 out of 52 weeks:
      • 3 coffee meets
      • 15 written touches (emails, LinkedIn, etc.)
      • 5 phone calls
      • 1 gift
    • Create and launch 6 podcast episodes
  • Physical
    • Perform Power to the People Workout (high weight, low volume deadlifts and barbell side press, 5 days a week) for 40 out of 52 weeks
  • Personal
    • Go tango dancing 1 night a week for 40 out of 52 weeks.

Find the 80/20 lever for each goal.  I would suggest talking to a few experts.  Tell them your goal, why it’s your goal, and how you want to achieve it (most results with the least effort).  They will tell you what to do.

“Intensity beats extensity every time”

– Robert Greene, 48 Laws of Power

You might notice my Physical and Personal goals are really a system.  They are a journey, not a destination, but meet the SMARTP-FITS criteria.

The Professional goals are destinations, will require heavy emotional and mental investment, and will require lots of optimization.

I have found that when I try to optimize for destination goals in more than one area of my life it can lead to all the wheels falling off at the same time.  Your mileage will vary.

Here’s a list of things that, likely, won’t happen given my goals, and journey vs destination framing:

  • Magazine cover worthy abs and pecs
  • Winning a tango dancing competition
  • Getting engaged (sorry mom)

And that’s ok.

3rd Pass is the Charm

There is a simple way to make sure any project is as good as it can be and it won’t take anymore of your time.  It’s called a results optimization model.

What this does is get you from a general skeleton to an optimized project by the due date, by “finishing” the project three times.

The reason it works so well is that you get feedback after each project is “finished” and it allows your subconscious to go to work on ideas, opportunities or problems.

You divide the time period until your project is due by 3 and now you know when each version of the product needs to be “finished”.

It’s how you can get the best results in the same amount of time, how we just built out our goals in this post, and is how to think about all sorts of projects.

Budget the Right Amount of Time

Now, whenever you are filling out your day-2-day Tasks in Toodledo you can run it through the journey vs destination filter and have an answer to how much time and energy to put into it.

A.G. Lafley said in Competing to Win: How Strategy Really Works, “strategy is about choice”.

Make your choices and win 2019.

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