Hey friends,

Tell me if the following sounds familiar to you:-

You’re working on an important work or project. In the beginning, you’re super charged and excited. You say to yourself that this “thing” is going to be great and start seeing multiple possibilities of moving ahead . But as the months go by, the work /project get delayed or it’s not progressing nearly at the rate you want it to be, even though you have made it as your number one priority.’

The short answer is: Among many other hurdles, more often the main hurdle is because you keep getting distracted overtime. Reasons could be anything, maybe it’s the frequent meetings that keep on getting in your way. Or, maybe you have got an other great ideas in the meantime which you think that you can knock out quickly.  You might think:- ‘Let me just do these other things first, because they’re quick and easy–or because they’re more fun.’

That’s the trap we often fall into. But then usually after wasting enough time on the less important things–I have realised that I’ve only taken time away from the thing I really should be working on. After making this same mistake over and over, I’ve re-committed myself to following a rule that helps me stay focused on what I should be working on, instead of what I could be working on.  I call it – 25/5 Rule

(If you enjoy reading this article, be sure to sign up—-where each day for 10 days you get a similar rule designed to help you make emotions work for you, instead of against you.)

How the 25/5 rule helps you maintain focus and get more done

First make a list of your top 25 career goals. Then, circle the top five goals. But here comes the interesting part. The idea is, to remain focused on accomplishing goals 1 through 5, you have to stay completely away from working on goals 6 through 25.

What’s the lesson?

“It’s all about focus. You’re not going to accomplish 25 things in your life. If you really focus long-term you can do three to five big ones, maybe. And the impediment to your not having focus is numbers 6 through 25, because those are the things you’re interested in. Those are your biggest potential distractions.”

The key is not the numbers (25 and 5)–it’s the principle behind those numbers. Namely, that it’s easy to come up with things you really want to do, but it’s even easier to get distracted from actually making progress on those five things, because you get caught up in the excitement, the joy, the short-term gains of things that simply aren’t as important as the big ones. And that’s why it’s so important to identify the “less important” things, so you know exactly what’s holding you back.

How to apply the 25-5 rule

For example, every morning, don’t just make a list of what you need to get done; make a list of all the things you want to do Or that others want you to do, that will keep you from working on your priorities. You can do the same thing when creating lists for your weekly, quarterly, and long-term strategy goals.

In the end, the goal you’re trying to teach yourself is not to make more lists. Rather, you want train yourself to ask the following questions:

  • What are the actions that are keeping me from reaching my goals?
  • How can I avoid them at all costs?
  • So, the next time you find yourself getting distracted, remember the 25/5 rule.
  • And switch your focus from what you could be working on to what you should be working on.

Take good care & enjoy reading your dose of cerebral happiness.


Do follow the ‘JOE’s Life Skills Lab and get yourself enrolled in my E-Mail Newsletter  “SUNDAY RETAZOS” sent exclusively to my subscribers with weekly updates on Mindful Productivity, life lessons and interesting articles, I discover during the Week. I AM SURE YOU DO NOT LIKE TO MISS OUT ON THIS. 

Main Image Credit: Photo by Egor Myznik on Unsplash

Get in touch… — JOE’s LIFE SKILLS LAB/Joe Sehrawat

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