Article Summary

Article 2005120001

We frequently confuse urgency with importance


Subscribe to our Free newsletter

Buy The Book Here

See related articles on our web site:

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



Email Newsletter icon, E-mail Newsletter icon, Email List icon, E-mail List icon Sign up for our Email Newsletter
For Email Marketing you can trust


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
- - - - -


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
- - - - -


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
- - - - -



How Do You Spend Your Time?

by Karl W. Palachuk

Not so long ago my family sat down to dinner and the standard question went around: "So, how was your day?" I said that my day was busy but not productive. My daughter asked how that could be, since I'd spent so much time in my office.

I told her that a lot of unproductive activity passes for "work."

It brought to mind Stephen Covey's writings on the quadrants where we spend our time. If you don't have the following two books, buy them today:


The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen R. Covey


First Things First by Stephen R. Covey, A. Roger Merrill, and Rebecca R. Merrill.

Each book spells out a nice description of setting priorities. They boil down to a very simple graphic:

  Urgent Not Urgent




Not Important




Print that out and fill in the squares.

Think about the activities in your day and place them into this matrix. For example, watching television is Not Urgent and Not Important. Really. It's not important. Let's look at these areas a little more closely.

Urgent items need your attention right now. We frequently perceive urgency as importance, but this is not accurate. For example, if someone rushes into your office and says "We have to do this right now. I just realized the deadline is tomorrow," that activity is urgent but may not necessarily be important.

In our busy lives and busy jobs we frequently have to address the problem of having tasks thrust upon us at the last minute. Items can move from Not Urgent to Urgent simply because we let too much time pass. One of my favorite signs is this:


Lack of Planning on Your Part


Does Not Constitute an


On My Part



As a general rule, work should not be Urgent. But work that is delayed will inevitably become Urgent. Deadline-driven projects are good to the extent that you meet the deadlines. If everything gets put off until the deadline, then something that didn't need to be Urgent has become Urgent.

The worst kinds of urgent activities are re-work and deadlines that "sneak up" on us. Rework kills companies. If you have to go back and do a job over, you are probably wasting lots of the most expensive resource most companies have: labor. And when you rework one job, you can't be doing the next. Rework is usually urgent, while work need not be.

In my technology consulting  business we have a saying: Slow Down and Get More Done. In another life, I've been the employee asked to pack 80 hours of labor into a 60 hour week. There the saying was:


We Never Have Time

To Do It Right


But We Always Have Time To

Do It Over



When you slow down, relax, and focus on the job at hand, you will always be more productive. When you're not thinking about the next three things that need to be done, you can do this job better. And if you're not constantly interrupted, the job in front of you will be completed much more quickly--and at a higher level of quality. Slow down, get more done.

Deadlines are another matter. If you find yourself constantly butting up against deadlines, then you need to reconsider how you work on projects. We'll discuss this in more detail in another article.

So what falls into the category of Not Urgent?








Setting Priorities










"Water Cooler" Talk


Time Wasters


Some mail/email

Notice that some of these are important and some are not.


Where do you spend your time?

This is an important topic, and needs your serious attention.

In our modern lives we spend a lot of time being very busy, doing unimportant work and urgent work that didn't need to be urgent. The result is that we seem busy, and we are busy, but we're busy doing things that just don't contribute to long-term success.

We're busy doing unimportant work. Or we're busy doing urgent work that doesn't need to be urgent. We're busier than we need to be. We're busy doing the wrong things!

And we're doing the wrong things because we don't take the time to plan what we do and then focus on doing what we plan.

If you're fishing around for a New Year's resolution, here are two goods ones to choose from:


I will examine how I spend my time and do what it takes to spend most of my time on activities that are Important but Not Urgent.


I will set reasonable deadlines and do important work on schedule so it doesn't become urgent.

The thing you don't want to do is stress out over this. Take time. Plan. Do the Important work of planning, preparation, and setting priorities. Then figure out how to make the new year a lot more sane and a lot less stressful.

Slow down


Get More Done

"It should be no surprise that

good-hearted people fall prey to workaholism,

because workaholism can look a lot like


-- Melannie Svoboda, SND


Would you be happy to

pay you

for the work you did today?



### RFS ###

See Related Articles


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
- - - - -


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
- - - - -


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
- - - - -


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
- - - - -

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
- - - - -