Are you “all in” or just dabbling?

Most people (especially sales leaders) share the same frustrations: How do I fit everything in? How do I catch up? How do I innovate? How do I balance work and family? There aren’t enough hours in the day. I want to do so many things, and I’ll never get to them all. 

We’re busier, more efficient, and more productive than ever. Yet, we don’t always feel more successful.

It used to be so simple. You went to work, did your job, and came home. Those of us in sales occasionally worked after hours. I remember preparing for presentations and writing proposals on the weekends. One time I asked the CEO of our company to fly from Boston to California on a Sunday, so we could practice our presentation. He wasn’t thrilled, as it was some big playoff game. (Boston fans are like few others.) Still, he came. He knew that it was important, so he invested the time.

Today, people are online all the time and work insane hours, but we’re always short on time. That’s because lack of time is only half the challenge for business leaders. The other half is lack of focus. There are too many options for how to spend our time, too much technology to distract us, and too many innovative ideas that pull our focus away from our core business.

Anytime I have veered from my core business because an idea was intriguing, my core business suffered—badly. It’s so tempting, especially when people you know and respect suggest that you try out a new idea, process, or product. But I’ve learned my lesson. That doesn’t mean I don’t try out new ideas, seek innovation, and listen to what my buyers ask. Of course I do. But it always applies to my core business—working with sales leaders to build a referral culture.

So, what do we do in our frenetic world, when everyone’s beating on our knee-caps to do this and do that? Warren Buffet’s “20-Slot” approach could be the answer—if you have the guts, perseverance, and dedication to go “all in.”

In a recent article—”Warren Buffett’s ‘20 Slot’ Rule: How to Simplify Your Life and Maximize Your Results”—James Clear introduces Buffett’s punchcard advice for financial investments, and then explains how the theory applies to time investments. Clear’s key point is this:

Your odds of success improve when you are forced to direct all of your energy and attention to fewer tasks.

If you want to master a skill—truly master it—you have to be selective with your time. You have to ruthlessly trim away good ideas to make room for great ones. You have to focus on a few essential tasks and ignore the distractions. You have to commit to working through 10 years of silence.

To learn more about Buffet’s “20-slot” rule, and James Clear’s “Life Punchcard,” read the article on