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Why extreme focus is going to set you up for life

Having choices are both one of our biggest assets and the greatest liabilities in 2019 and onwards. And while these choices are waiting to be made by us, we don’t have to make them. At least not a lot of them.

Believe me, if there was a price attached to each of the choices we make we would either have become bankrupt or be on the verge of it. Since these choices and distractions don’t cost a dime, it’s costing you time. You don’t have much. And to the person who pays a premium on productivity by staying focused on his/her top priorities, we might already be bankrupt.

The great thing is that we still have time to undo this collateral damage. By going a little extreme on limiting the choices that we make. I know it sounds so old-school but that’s okay, folks from that era used to get a lot done in the time they had. And we waste it all up by engaging in random acts of variety.

So, here’s a consideration (not a prescription):

  1. Reassess your priorities and goals. Instead of the 50 things that you’re engaged in focus on just 5. In fact, take out time to list down all the things that you want to do in life. Prioritise them. If you have, great! Reprioritise. Just in case. (Who knows?) Now focus on the top 25 and discard the rest. Don’t ever think or do anything related to what’s been struck off the list. Once done, analyse the list again and shuffle the items as needed. You know what’s coming next, right? Besides the top 5, strike off everything else. What you have right now is the top 5 focus areas you will be devoting the rest of your life for. The only way to move down the list is by actually achieving one of the top 5 items. That’s it. You keep at it until you achieve it. (Read more about the Warren Buffet method of 25/5.)
  2. From the priorities above, focus on doing just 6 tasks in a single day. That’s it! Not 5 or 7 or seventy. Yes, you’ll have recurring tasks like reading, writing, spending time with family, meeting friends etc. That’s fine, you can have those but for your top 5 goals you only get to do 6 tasks that will move the needle in some way. Of course, you can do more but you don’t have to. Consistency is the key.
  3. Keep a close watch on the time you spend outside of your top 5 like a hawk. Don’t let the good or nice get in the way of your greatest priorities. For example, if reading is an activity you do on a daily basis. Deeply consider what you’re reading. Is it really helping you? If your ‘reading’ time consists of browsing the internet or news, I think it’s a waste of time unless you’re a politician or a stock-exchange broker or running a hedge-fund company. And even if you are one of them, you’re better off focusing on the top 5.

Of course, I know this is extreme! And that’s the whole point. Whittling down the non-essentials will keep you on track with your life’s biggest priorities than doing random stuff that don’t even count at the end of the day. One of the best things about staying hyper-focused like this is the flexibility it brings to your life, particularly when it comes to time — you’ll have more of it to spend with your family, friends, and most importantly yourself. And we aren’t doing that enough lately. Are we?

Go extreme. You’ll be thankful.