The “two list” method – for students.

I read this interesting article from James Clear yesterday, which delves into a productivity methodology used by Warren Buffett, one of the most wealthy individuals in the world.


It involves the practitioner to make a list of 25 goals. This could be for one’s career, or even just for the week/month.


Then, the practitioner should choose the five most important of these goals, and circle them. The remaining 20 goals should be completely disregarded – they distract the practitioner from pursuing their most significant goals.

This is great… but students may not have this luxury of choice.

Many students are occupied with schoolwork, most of which is mandatory.


This poses a problem, because a student cannot just ‘disregard’ a mandatory homework assignment – even if it isn’t the most essential objective for the day.


Technically, every assignment is of the utmost importance for the day, as they must be completed within a timeframe.


Now, read that previous sentence again. What do you notice?

Prioritize within the timeframe.

While we cannot simply devolve or disregard certain goals/objectives, we can ‘procrastinate’ certain assignments in favor of more important ones.


Let’s say you have a math worksheet due tomorrow night, worth 10% of your grade. In addition to this, you have an essay for English (worth 50% of your grade) due tomorrow night.


We can use Buffett’s method here – you would circle either the essay, or the math worksheet.


Then, proceed to complete the circled assignment first, putting off the other assignment until the next day (or whenever you complete the circled task).

Using Buffett’s method for extracurriculars.

Especially in high school, students tend to load their schedule with extracurriculars on top of a rigorous class schedule.

When a student changes their extracurricular activities each year (so they can put as much as possible on their transcript), this is called dabbling.

While this may seem attractive for colleges, they actually prefer a student who is truly dedicated in 2-3 extracurriculars.

So, instead of participating in 6, 7, or even 8 extracurricular programs, employ Buffett’s method.

List all the extracurriculars you want to take. Then, circle the top 3-4 that mean the most to you (this is great if you have an idea of your intended major), and disregard the rest.

This will free up your schedule tremendously, improving your transcript in the process.

“Less is more. Progress is made through precise, persistent, and purposeful pushes.”

— Scott Perry

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