Your perspective on life looks a bit different when you’re laying
on your back on a hammock strung between two palm trees
on a beautiful beach in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico.

My wife, daughter, and I took a break from the hustle and bustle of
the business world to go on a nice, relaxing vacation to celebrate
my 53rd birthday. It’s an enjoyable experience getting away
from the newspapers, radio and television.

For me, a holiday vacation is an opportunity to reflect upon the year
just past, and think about – and plan – for the year ahead.

As I think about success, it goes beyond income, salary, or money.
It’s about ”’lifestyle.”’

If you double your income, but spend twice as much time working,
what’s happened to your lifestyle?

How much time and energy do you have left for your family,
or yourself? How much pleasure, enjoyment and fun are
you getting out of life?

The goal isn’t to be working smarter, it’s to be working less.

For me, this past year was my best year ever. But I like
to think — and dream big — my goals for 2003 are to:

* Triple my sales,

* Triple my profits,

* Work fewer hours each day,

* Spend more time with my family, and

* Take 6 weeks of vacation.

A year ago I wrote a goal setting eBook, “Setting and Achieving
Your Goals,” which was as much a step-by-step blueprint for
me as it was for the reader.

If you want help setting your goals, my “Setting and Achieving Your Goals walks you through the process of looking where you are now, identifying where you want to be tomorrow and helping you create a Master Plan to take you there.

Here’s the link to order your copy: http://www.1shoppingcart.com/app/adtrack.asp?AdID=8022

If you want help discovering who you are, identify where you want to go, and figure out what you want to do, you’ll enjoy my “Successful People Have a Dream” eBook.

Here’s the link to order your copy: http://www.1shoppingcart.com/app/adtrack.asp?AdID=8730

I’ve followed the same process while on vacation. But the fun of goal setting comes not from trying to grow your business by 10 or 20 percent, it comes from dreaming of ways to double or triple your business — while improving your profit margins — in a single year.

To do that you must change the way you think about how you run and manage your daily business affairs.

If you’re like most people, 80 percent of your results come from 20 percent of your activity. And I would argue that the remaining 80 percent of your time is spent on worthless, meaningless, unproductive activities.

Focus your efforts on converting that 80 percent of your unproductive time into valuable – results producing – activities, and doubling your business in a single year is no longer a pipe dream.

It’s real, and it’s doable.

While laying on my hammock I watched the local tradesman making repairs to the hotel, which had sustained severe damage due to the recent hurricane. (A 40 foot tidal wave crashed onto the city and caused massive damage. Several hotels were destroyed beyond repair.)

Because labor is so cheap, there’s no sense of urgency. If something isn’t completed today, maybe tomorrow. Maybe not.

Case in point, I watch two men work for an entire week replacing patio tiles. They chipped out the damaged tiles using a 5-pound hammer and a spike or chisel. They mixed the concrete by hand with a shovel in a wheelbarrow. It took them a day to replace ten tiles.

In the US, the entire repair project that took them a week, would be completed in less than a day.

Behind the tile repair crew was an army of workers digging trenches for the foundation of a new building. They were digging with pick axes and shovels. Back home, they would have complete the work in a day. In Mexico, it takes a week or two.

On the beach, a worker was cutting down a palm tree with a machete. I watched him whack and whack at the tree. He would switch from his right hand to his left. Every few minutes he would take a rest . It took him two and a half hours to fell the tree and cut it into three pieces.

In Chicago, the Park District would cut the tree down with a chain saw, throw the pieces onto the back of a truck and be finished in 15 minutes.

This isn’t about sharpening your saw — or machete — it’s about throwing it away and using a chain saw

Why is there such a difference in productivity between the US and Mexico? We put a premium on time, and we use tools, machinery and technology to automate manual processes.

Achieve Your 2003 Goals

If you want to achieve your 2003 goals you first need to set your priorities, create a plan, and focus your time, effort, energy and resources — like a laser beam — on your target. It also helps if you get organized.

You may not realize it, but most people lose an hour each day looking for things that are lost on the top of their desk. More than five weeks of your life is spent searching for things you can’t find.

Talk about wasted time. What could you do with five weeks of extra time. (I’m going on vacation.)

Simply by getting organized — and getting rid of all the “stuff” that’s on the top of your desk — you can convert wasted time into productive and profitable time.

If you want help getting organized — and cure yourself of pilamania — get yourself a copy of my “Winning The Fight Between You And Your Desk” eBook. “Winning The Fight” shows you how to get rid of the clutter and get organized, so you can become more productive, efficient and effective.

Here’s the link to order your copy: http://www.1shoppingcart.com/app/adtrack.asp?AdID=9558

Schedule Your Priorities

Many people want to prioritize their schedule. They look at their to-do list and then rewrite it every morning so the most important tasks are at the top of the list. Then they try to get to them, but never do because of interruptions, distractions, or a lack of focus.

Instead of prioritizing your schedule, you should schedule your priorities. That means blocking out time — scheduling appointments with yourself — to get your important work done.

Jack Welch, the former CEO of General Electric used to say, “Everything we do is either aimed at getting a customer or keeping a customer.” Michael Dell, Chairman and CEO of Dell Computer, spends 40 percent of his time with customers.

Why? Because it’s his job.

How much of your time is spent getting or keeping a customer? Convert your wasted time into productive time and you can easily double your business.

If you want help setting your priorities, getting focused and managing your time – so nothing slips through the cracks – get yourself a copy of my “Taking Control of Your Day” eBook.

Here’s the link to order your copy: http://www.1shoppingcart.com/app/adtrack.asp?AdID=13334

In Mexico, manual labor is cheap and workers are plentiful. But for you and me, we can use technology to leverage our time, effort and energy, so we can have dramatic results.

You’re reading this essay — which was sent to 150,000 people who
want to become more successful, people just like you — on your computer. I’m typing it on my laptop from the beach. That’s what I mean by leverage.

But just because I’m vacationing in Mexico didn’t mean that I was out of touch. For $18 I was able to open a local Internet access account which enabled me to log onto the Internet for the cost of a local telephone call.

Once connected, I’m running my business, from warm, sunny, beautiful Puerto Vallarta, not cold overcast, and dreary Chicago. (While writing this I’m looking out over the water watching a whale swim a mile off shore. Every few minutes he comes up for air and as he dives he waves his fluke at us and says good bye.)

But “just” being connected isn’t enough. I’ve got to service my eBook
customers, and to do that I need access to my computer in Chicago. A few years ago I subscribed to GoToMypc.com, which is a service that enables me to access my office computer from anywhere in the world.

And to check my voice mail, I use Net2Phone.com, which enables me to make telephone calls over the Internet.

You can make 2003 your best year ever. All you’ve got to do is set your goals, create your Master Plan, get organized, set your priorities, and manage your time.

Come to think of it, maybe my goals aren’t high enough. What could I do if I managed my time, got organized, and set my priorities?

”’Reprinted with permission from Jeffrey Mayer’s Succeeding In Business Newsletter. (Copyright, 2002, Jeffrey J. Mayer, Succeeding In Business, Inc.) To subscribe to Jeff’s free newsletter, visit”’ http://www.SucceedingInBusiness.com

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