I read a lot of books, most of them about business, human brains, creativity and communication (no 50 shades of anything on my kindle). I like to think I learn from them, but some lessons are such, that no matter how many times you have read about something, it’s not until it hits you in real life that it finally sinks in.

Last week I had one of those moments. A moment of realization that you can’t pretend didn’t happen and leaves you slightly changed.

I was talking to a friend about life over coffee. It was one of those real conversations that are delightful, not gossip or surface chat, just two people sharing their real thoughts. While we were talking I was thinking about my values in life, and I realized that many of them were just things I said, not did. This is the thought that struck me:

“Show me your schedule for the last month and I’ll show you your values”

How we think we spend our time is often not how we actually spend our time. The things that we say are important are often not reflected in our lives. I say that my health and fitness are important to me – in reality they are often both neglected. I will tell you that my friends are important but I often choose work over them. (I apologize to all those people, and will try and do better in the future)

Take a look at your schedule for the last week or month and see if your values are showing.

If they are, you deserve to sit back and sip your coffee (or whatever you have nearby) and let a little smug smile creep onto your face. If not, (and I was in this category) be prepared to change. Of course, you don’t have to change, this is just another article you are reading, you can pretend it never happened – one day it will hit you, I hope it’s sometime soon.

This week I have planned my week according to my values. I have blocked in time for those first. I will be working out, I will be meditating, I will even be taking some time work just to be, and to be with my husband, and friends. I will also be scheduling my work according to the values I have in my business. On paper it’s looking like a great week.

Let’s not just talk about values, let’s live them. All of them. I treat people well, and have a positive attitude (integrity and abundance are important values in my life) but my calendar reflected my neglect in other areas of my life.

We will never be given that extra couple of hours a week that we think we need to make time for fun, for friends, for our God, for our children, or to go to the gym. Time is the great leveler – we all get exactly the same amount. Let’s spend it wisely – your habits show.

This column was first published in The Daily Advertiser on Tuesday July 25th 2012 – all the usual rights reserved and stuff.