I am constantly amazed by how much self-deception there is either consciously or unconsciously about how people spend their time. All too often I hear that “there is never enough hours in the day” or “if only I could carve out some more time”; then I would be less stressed and enjoy life a little more. I have news for you. Only the organized can loaf. Many take time off but take their anxieties with them wherever they go. Only when you have clearly articulated your beliefs and develop a lifestyle that supports those beliefs can you truly be at peace.

There is far too much emphasis placed on hours and weeks rather than minutes and years. What you must do is determine what you want to do with the rest of your life and then monitor the minutes as they go by. Another way of putting it is you must have a long-term strategy which will determine your priorities and a short-term efficient execution plan. Goal setting is easy to do but it’s also easy not to do. The first cardinal rule is to take the time to set clearly defined goals and writing them down. This is the only way to achieve success in your personal, professional, family and social life. I have never met a highly successful and well-adjusted person who didn’t have written goals.

Try this approach for 30 days, I guarantee that it is foolproof. Take a blank piece of paper or word document and write at the top, MY BELIEFS. Identify all of the aspects of your life that are important to you. At this point don’t be concerned about priorities. Just make a list: family, career, wife or husband, your job or business, hobbies, managing your assets, your civic affairs, watching TV, listening to music, surfing the web, etc. etc. After completing the list, take a second sheet of paper or document and title this, BELIEFS BY PRIORITIES. Rank your beliefs that are most important to you first and then list the remainder in descending order. Finally, take a third sheet of paper and title it, MY BEHAVIOR. The purpose of this test is to determine to what extent you spend your time, energy and money in accordance to what you say you believe. Make sure you write this information down on paper to document your findings.

For 30 days monitor the consumption of your time and energy. Unless you are the rare exception, you will find that you are spending less than 20% of your time on the top priority items. Most people are staggered by the glaring discrepancy between what they say they believe in, as opposed to how they spend their time energy and money. The awareness of this discrepancy is the first important step toward correcting it.

The secret to a successful and fulfilling life is to constantly make progress on the beliefs and values that are important to you, not to everyone else. Begin immediately to amputate the low priority time demands in your business, personal, and social life. Only you can create the future that you want. If you don’t do it, someone else will and what is the likelihood that they will have your best interests in mind?

Stay tuned for my new free E-book coming out next month, On Becoming a Three-Dimensional Leader.