“He takes away every branch in me that does not bear fruit, and everyone that does he prunes so that it bears more fruit.” — John 15:2

“Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.” – Romans 12:21

“Let your eyes look directly forward, and your gaze be straight before you.” – Proverbs 4:25

Overview

Focus your attention on those tasks that build your character and provide aid to other people.  Make a daily habit of planning your activities and following that plan.  It is so easy to spend a significant amount of time watching television, playing games, or doing other activities that do not add value to your life or provide aid to others.  Make an effort to follow your plan and continue to improve your life and the lives of other people. 

As you continue to spend time completing planned tasks, your life will become more productive, and you will influence other people in a positive way. Your planning effort will be more efficient as you complete you plans. In a few weeks the planning will take very little time.

My Experience

My Flight School Picture

During the early stages of my life, I did not have to focus on planning and completing a plan.  I played sports and wanted to attend college. Most of my time was spent studying for school or practicing athletics so I could earn a scholarship.  Then when I was in college my time focused on completing schoolwork and practicing football. 

After college, I became a pilot in the Marine Corps during the Vietnam War.  I did not have to plan while in flight school or later while flying in the Marine Corps because my time was scheduled for me. 

After I left the Marine Corps, I started a business with two other friends.  At that point, there was no one that planned my schedule for me.  When I first started the business, I suffered because I did not focus on completing the most important tasks.  The business suffered.  I almost lost the business.

Then I thought about my life in general and about the business specifically.  I began to think about all the tasks I needed to complete the next day to support the business.  I used Excel to create a separate task list for every day of the month.  Then I created a new page for the next month.  I marked every task completed and the date it was completed. 

My business benefited almost immediately.  My customers became more supportive.  I began to use abbreviations and had some tasks that were used every day.  Then I started adding personal tasks as well. 

I noticed a tremendous improvement in my life within a few weeks.  I was not spending so my time watching television because I wanted to complete my list.  I enjoyed working so much more and I was able to help other people.  I began to include tasks in my planning that supported others. 

Eventually, I began to create general goals of completed tasks at the beginning of each week and month.  These goals were measurable but very general.  The goals helped me move my life in a specific direction, but I was not too specific with the goals.

I was much happier with my life even though I was working harder.

Summary

It is difficult to focus your efforts if you do not conduct planning.  At first, it is difficult to have the discipline to create the plan and then document the parts of the plan you complete.  After a short period of time, the planning begins to feel natural.

Published by Jim Brandt

Jim Brandt was an all-conference college football player and served as a Marine Corps pilot during the Vietnam War. He also started a software company and served as an executive for the fifth-largest bank in the United States. Brandt won the Democratic party nomination for Congress twice. He is married and has three children.

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