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Tilt the scale - balance your prioritiesSometimes it’s funny what comes to you first thing in the morning, when you’re still in that half-awake half-asleep state. The following thoughts came to me in such a state.

People sometimes refer to me as being analytical, smart or intelligent, but I was not a straight A student in school. I got good grades when I really applied myself (like most people), but more often than not I had other interests that I gave more attention to, and as result, some of my grades were not where they could have been.

In Jr. High, I was most engaged in art classes and developing my own websites. Towards the end of High School and in College, I was more captivated by music and the guitar than anything else (and that had nothing to do with my studies).

Then it occurred to me that this is exactly what we do as entrepreneurs. We don’t try to create a false sense of balance. Priorities should dictate that there are always a small number of items of greater importance, and a greater number of less significant items.

By now, I think you know what I’m trying to get at: focus. I’ve accepted the reality that many entrepreneurs (including myself) have their fingers in a lot of different pies, but the 80/20 rule (Pareto principle) would suggest that a smaller number of those pies are more important than the others. 20 percent of your projects account for 80 percent of your results.

So, firstly, don’t be afraid of tilting the scale. There should be a smaller number of projects or businesses that take up most of your time. These items weigh the most. Throw everything else on the other side of the scale. These items weigh less.

Secondly, understand where your priorities need to be. Identify the activities that produce the greatest results for you, and put more time and resources towards those.

Perhaps you’ve heard the story of a philosophy professor who illustrated the concept of priorities with a jar, rocks, pebbles, sand and water. If you put the rocks, pebbles, sand and water in the jar in the right order, they will all fit perfectly. However, if you place them in the jar in the wrong order, the jar will overflow.

Quite simply, big things should go in your schedule first, then the secondary, then the tertiary, then the least important things. There is time enough for everything if you put first things first. Strive to keep the main thing the main thing.

David Andrew Wiebe

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