Excerpts edited by David M. Snyder, CPA, ASBC

The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People
By Stephen Covey

The book differentiates between what is important and what is urgent. Priority should be given what is urgent and important.

Warren Buffett’s Advice on Goal Setting
(Paraphrased for Focus)

  1. Write down your top 10 things for your daily to do list
  2. Prioritize them and circle your top 1
  3. Avoid at all cost the other 9 until the first one is accomplished

Warren Buffett’s secret to success is intense focus — instead of doing more, he does less. Buffett works incredibly hard. But he works incredible hard on things that are most important to him. This is called FOCUS! Buffett himself has identified his focus as one of the major keys to his success. Bill Gates, Steve Jobs, and Mark Zuckerberg have all said the same thing. As James Clear writes, “Spending time on secondary priorities is the reason you have 20 half-finished projects instead of 5 completed ones.”

The ONE Thing: The Surprisingly Simple Truth Behind Extraordinary Results
By Gary W. Keller and Jay Papasan

The book highlights the value of simplifying your workload by focusing on your current most important task. The book discusses the benefits of prioritizing to a single task.

The book also analyzes the ways in which multitasking has erroneously been praised as a desirable trait. The book suggests that you should use time blocking to focus on only your current ONE thing during that block of time.  The book also differentiates between the Big-Picture Question (“What’s my ONE Thing?”) and the Small-Focus Question (“What’s my ONE Thing right now?”). The core idea is that focusing on a multitude of tasks will result in poor results.

The Four-Hour Work Week
By Tim Ferris

  • Define your objectives. Decide what’s important. Ask yourself, “If this is the only thing I accomplish today, will I be satisfied with my day?”
  • Eliminate distractions to free up time. Learn to be effective, not efficient. Focus on the 20% that’s important and ignore the 80% that isn’t. Put yourself on a low-information diet. Learn to shunt aside interruptions and learn to say “no”. Learn to be more efficient with e-mail and reduce clutter from your life
  • Automate your cash flow to increase income. Outsource your life — hire a virtual assistant to handle menial tasks. Develop a business that can run on auto-pilot.
  • Liberate yourself from traditional expectations. Design your job to increase mobility.


  1. Use a prioritized daily to do list.
  2. Focus on only one item until it is completed
  3. Use time blocking to eliminate interruptions and distractions.