How the 525 Rule Can Help Improve Your Focus and Success Rate


As humans, we are naturally ambitious. We aim to achieve so many things and we want them fast. But if you are at the point in your life wherein you just keep on listing so many plans and goals but not getting closer to accomplishing them, you might want to rethink your strategies towards success. Sometimes it’s all about knowing what to prioritize when it comes to achieving goals. To help you narrow down your priorities, why not try the 5/25 rule?

What is the 5/25 Rule?

The 5/25 rule’s popularity came from a story about Warren Buffett having given Mike Flint, his pilot for 10 years, advice about his career priorities. The advice is to list out his top 25 career goals, and from those 25, encircle the top 5. Buffett then advised Flint to focus on these 5 and let go of the others.

The idea of the 5/25 rule is to basically help you narrow down your list of priorities to things that matter more to you. You might have lots of things that you want to do. It can be less than 25 or more than 25, but if you really deem all of these goals to be very important, then narrowing your list down to 5 can become a challenge.

Improve Your Focus with the 5/25 Rule

The 5/25 rule can be applied, not just in achieving career goals, but in everything else that requires your focus. It can be a set of tasks in a project, a list of chores to complete for the day, or even a list of television shows that you want to watch! The 5/25 rule has three general steps that you should follow.

  1. Create the list of 25 things you want to work on
  2. From the list, pick out the top 5 based on what you would like to prioritize.
  3. Set aside the rest of the things on the list and focus on achieving the top 5 you want to prioritize.

With less things to think about and juggle, you get to focus your energy on less things and easily keep track of your progress on achieving your top 5 goals.


focus on what you love - start today

The Value of Selective Focus

Right now, you might be thinking: “Narrowing down the things I want to do — isn’t that counterproductive?” But if you are to think about the essence of the 5/25 rule, you will understand that, in the long run, it will help you be more productive, more successful and become a master of your craft. The 5/25 rule helps you implement a selective focus, wherein instead of dividing your attention between 25 goals, you get to focus only on the five things that you value the most.

But following the 5/25 concept does not actually mean totally forgetting about the other 20 goals in your list. The idea is to only focus on the top five things so that you can avoid getting distracted by your other goals. But once you have completed the top five, you can then move forward to working on the top six to ten, and so on.

Think about your top goals. If you are to consider the amount of time you will need to complete them, how much do you think you will need to allot before you accomplish each of them? More or less, you will need to spend a lot of time, could be weeks or even months, for you to complete some big goals. This is where the 5/25 rule can come in handy. With less things to focus on at the moment, you will have more time to spend on goals that matter at present.

The 5/25 Concept on a Kanban Board

One important factor in achieving goals is workflow visibility. I myself enjoy seeing my own progress by having a visual representation like a Kanban board. It helps me keep track of where I am at and what other tasks I still have to do to tick goals off of my list. Check out my 5/25 Kanban board below wherein I’ve been keeping track of my own goals.

5-25 rule personal kanban board

To create the board, I used the personal Kanban template and just tweaked it a little to suit my planning needs. On my board, I’ve included all of my personal projects, financial and investment goals, travel and vacation plans, and career goals. I’ve then decided to group them all into 5 based on how I felt they should be prioritized. After I’ve completed my first five, I’ve moved on to setting another five to the In Progress column and saw to it that I am only working on these goals in the meantime. Doing this actually helped me maintain my focus and succeed in achieving goals that mattered most at the moment.

Focus on Goals that Matter Most

With the 5/25 rule, you get to improve your focus by working on goals that actually matter most at the moment. Improve your success rate and be more productive as an individual. Couple your 5/25 practice with a Kanban board and be more efficient in accomplishing your tasks and your goals.

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About the Author: Christine Joy Leal

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Christine Joy Leal is an experienced freelance writer and content manager, a happy wife and a mother to two daughters, two dogs and two cats. She loves keeping things in order and enjoys using the Kanban and Agile methodologies to manage all her writing projects, daily tasks, and other personal matters that require efficient organization. Apart from managing her busy content writing career, she also enjoys board and online games, movies, TV shows, and crocheting. She also maintains a blog about her work as a freelance content writer.

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