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To reduce stress in your life and make your work more productive, you need to take time to focus and set priorities.


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From Values to Actions

Assigning Priorities

Building The Future





"It takes relaxation--and focus--to create and understand the balance in our lives."

-- Karl W. Palachuk



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What Readers Say . . .



Relax, Focus, Succeed was written for me… well… for anyone “like” me who’s ever had more to do or fires to put out than hands to pull out your own hair with. And since we’ve all been there at some point; this book will speak to you. Karl’s book reveals an escape from the ‘powering thorough’ that we do every day to get through a multitude of life without ever really ‘living’.


Relax, Focus, Succeed takes the reader down to the core of what makes us who we are and walks us through figuring out what we really want in life, how to maintain our center and create a well-balanced, happy, successful life. Karl is motivational and inspiring.

Hannah Welch
Marysville, CA
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I had the pleasure of attending a presentation by Karl Palachuk and found myself taking notes. His philosophy is that we need to slow down, take care of ourselves, and reprioritize our lives. I am guilty of being a workaholic and never feel like I'm accomplishing as much in a day as I should. But this is the first time I have ever given myself permission to take care of myself first--not to mention to enjoy my family and friends more.


And Karl was right, the work isn't going anywhere and the world won't stop spinning if I let it sit for awhile. This book is a true inspiration! I now schedule workouts into my schedule every day--something I never considered before. But I realized that I will be more productive in the long run if I'm taking care of myself. This is GREAT STUFF!

Stephanie Chandler
Sacramento, CA
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Karl has outdone himself in this book. I started reading this at a stop light and had to pull over and finish two chapters before halting my day and going home to finish the book. There are many practical and meaningful applications that are just helpful. I was pushing the limits of bad health and very bad overwork habits. This book has helped me tremendously. This book ranks with the quality of the E-myth.


You will pick this book up and have a hard time putting it down!

B. Vincent "Ben"
Auburn Hills, MI
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Assigning Priorities

by Karl W. Palachuk

If the problem is that we don't have a system to assign priorities to tasks, you might think the answer is to develop such a system.  Unfortunately, that's not the answer.  Simply imposing a system of priorities might do some good, especially if you can get others to go along.


The real answer--the long-term answer--is to develop principles by which you run your business and goals that are consistent with those principles.  In other words, the goal is to look past today and this week and look at the big picture.


Every business needs a "big picture."  Every person needs a big picture.


What are your goals for the next five years?  The next one year?  The next quarter?  This day, this week, this month are all points along the way.  Just as there are few straight roads, there are few straight courses to your long-term goals.


I grew up in Eastern Washington State.  To go anywhere you had to go over a maintain pass.  I remember as a child when I learned to read a compass and figure out which way the car was heading.  I was concerned when I had to inform my father that we were heading west instead of north.  Then we'd head east.  Then northeast.  And sometimes even south!  If we need to go north, why are we going south?


He gently explained that the road had to twist and turn to get over the mountains.  When the engineers build a road, they have to work around the things they can't control--like lakes, bad soil, mountains, and rivers.  Sometimes they change the scenery:  They build bridges or tunnels, and they shore up the mountainside so the road won't slip away.  But most of the time they have to work with the obstacles they have.


The road's always longer than you think it should be.  But eventually it zigs and zags and gets you over the mountain.  Then you zig and zag down the other side.  And sometimes you find that you've spent very little time heading north.  And yet you get there.


A business (or a person) without a "big picture" view of where to go will always be reacting to obstacles that appear in the way.  And it is very easy to get turned around and lose track of where you want to be at any given time.


All businesses (and people) are moving from where we've been to where we will be.  Our lazy side wants to relax and stay where we are.  But even if we're not steering the car, it continues to move.  So if we don't keep an eye on where we're going, we can easily get lost among the obstacles.


As a matter of perspective, we must accept that the road will take us in many directions--and that's okay.  Sometimes you have to go south in order to get north.  On the road to success your business will have slow-downs, regulations, customer problems, employee problems, and all kinds of other obstacles. 


You need to look at the big map and plot the best long-term path.  That's why you need principles to guide your business and you need to write down where you're going.  You need to post your principles and your goals and you need to talk about them.


Once you have established some principles and goals, you have a mark to steer toward.  And everything builds from that.


Now you can set priorities.  Long-term priorities.  If you need short-term priorities you should set them as well.   But beware the short-term priority that interrupts your focus on the long-term priorities.


My consulting business puts a high value on technical competence and customer service.  These are laid out in my company principles--they are in writing.  These principles are reflected in my priorities.  As a result, my company and my people make decisions with these principles in mind.


Our marketing material stresses these points.  "We hire only trained and certified technicians."  "Your Satisfaction is Always Guaranteed."


These principles also work their way into hiring, evaluating, and motivating employees.  Every person who comes to work for us signs a contract in which I offer to pay for professional certification exams.  So my people know that if they get certified by Microsoft or Novell or Cisco, I'll pay for it.


This sends a very clear message that my company values technical competence.  It also gives me a tool in evaluating performance. 


When a job has to be reworked, it costs money and I never charge the client.  Thus the client sees that they are not charged more than they are quoted, no matter how much labor is involved.  And the technician still gets paid.  But the technician also gets an evaluation that focuses on the right way to do the job next time.  The customer gets value for their money and the technician gets educated.


My priorities in addressing a problem always put principles first.  When I set up my daily, weekly, and monthly "to do" lists, my priorities always govern.  Thus new problems are not automatically crises:  they simply fit into the list at an appropriate place.


The process--the habit-- of creating a simple set of priorities every day and every week can bring amazing clarity and focus to your work.  Every morning I write down three goals for the day.  One for me as a person, one for my family, and one for my business.  One each.  Not a long list of things to do and details and errands.  One goal for each area of my life.  The complex process of dealing with the details is separate.


At 6:00 AM every day I write down my three goals for the day.  The simple process of writing them down brings clarity and focus--and reduces stress.


When you set priorities, you need to start with the "big picture," not with today.  Set your "permanent" principles, then five-year goals, one-year goals, and current priorities.  After that, setting daily and weekly goals is easy.


We workaholics find ourselves easily dragged back into the world of crises and short-term goals.  We lose focus and perspective.  We panic when the road turns south instead of looking at the map and working through the rough spots.


To reduce stress in your life and make your work more productive, you need to take time to focus and set priorities.  And you can't focus unless you relax.  But that's another essay.


Remember the old line:  Work expands to fill the time available.  You'll never run out of work.

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Of Interest



This is one of the best books I have ever read, I have many on business motivation as well as many for your personal life and these seem to contradict each other. Karl shows you how to create the necessary balance in your life. I did not realize how much unnecessary stress I was causing myself until Karl pointed it out, this made an immediate impact in my life in all three areas Personal, Family and Business. I highly recommend this book especially for anyone trying to run their own business.

Bret Meche

Opelousas, LA
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The most important thing Karl's book did for me was to remind me of how important it is to relax in order to be successful. Too often we get so busy that we forget to take time to relax in order to focus our minds and thereby succeed. Karl's exercises throughout the book are very practical.

Sue Lynn Canfield
Roseville, CA
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I love the way Karl's book makes powerful and grounded statements. He is motivational, informative and hits the nail on the head. I recommend his book highly and I recommend it to my clients who are working toward more balance and relaxation in their lives.

Jenifer Novak Landers

Folsom, CA
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I will be rereading this book constantly until I get every habit fully ingrained in my head. I am off to buy a notebook for my "quite time".

Thank you Karl!

Brielle Beard
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I have read, and re-read this book from cover to cover. Its a fantastic book.
This book shows you how to do as the title says Relax, Focus and Succeed.


Brilliant book . . . highly recommended.

Chris Timm
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